Limited practice time prompts Cone to build Ginebra-bolstered Gilas Men pool for SEAG

With only two weeks to prepare, Tim Cone had to resort to a Ginebra-powered veteran national team for the SEA Games. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Coach Tim Cone somehow admitted that time is not on Gilas Pilipinas Men's side as far as training is concerned for the Southeast Asian Games.

The said situation prompted him to name a 15-man pool for Gilas Men in the said event instead of the initially announced 24.

"With limited practice, we don't have a lot of time to teach, try out, and get a lot of guys in," Cone said in a press conference announcing the pool at the PBA office in Quezon City on Thursday.

He, however, bared that he indeed had a 24-man pool at the start but had to quickly trim it to 15.

Included in the initial pool were college basketball standouts, and Cone admitted too that he considered CJ Perez and Robert Bolick, who were stellar for Gilas Men in the FIBA World Cup, to the pool.

But with the time they only have, Cone had to resort getting tested veterans to the team.

"This is not always the truth, but generally, veterans are easier to coach in the short term and pick up things faster than the young guys," he further explained. "This is all about speed and efficiency that we're trying to do."

Perez and Bolick were still named to Gilas Men, but in the 3x3 pool.

[Related Story: Terrence Romeo headlines Gilas 3x3 squad for SEAG]

Among those who made the cut are six Ginebra players, and Cone, again due to lack of practice time, decided to bring the Ginebra core for familiarity.

"Because of the short window we have, we opted with a team I'm familiar with: Ginebra," Cone explained the Barangay's core. "I don't have the time trying to teach everybody, and by having a core group that already understands what we like to do in terms of the system, offensively and defensively, those players will be valuables for the other players that were added on to the team."

The end of the PBA Governors' Cup eliminations will be on Nov. 20, but the SEA Games 5-on-5 basketball event will kick off on Dec. 5, giving Gilas Men only two weeks to prepare fully.

"We only have 8-10 practices, so that seems to us is the best course of action," Cone continued.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno