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Tim Cone explains Jamie Malonzo's absence in Gilas-Chinese Taipei game

Jamie Malonzo was out for Gilas against Chinese Taipei. Kennelf Monteza (file photo) 
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASIG—Gilas Pilipinas only had 11 players available for the February window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

However, on Sunday night, Jamie Malonzo was ruled out at the last minute, leaving Gilas with only 10 men in its active roster against Chinese Taipei at the PhilSports Arena.

According to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas media officer Carlo Pamintuan, the high-flying forward suffered from "acute gastroenteritis".

Despite that, Gilas coach Tim Cone simply said after the game that "he's sick" without further divulging Malonzo's medical status.

"It's a medical thing, so I don't wanna talk too much about it."

Cone, though, confirmed that Justin Brownlee was on sick bay as well.

"He and Justin were both sick coming home from Hong Kong. They both got sick. We were really afraid that neither of them would play, but Justin kinda bounced back," said Cone.

Malonzo's situation, though, was so tough that Cone eventually decided to give him the day off.

"We contemplated bringing him to the hospital. He's that down and out," Cone further said.

"We sent our doctors over to him and put him on IV [fluids], but I think maybe some of the guys just got dehydrated severely on the trip and we didn't hydrate well after that and I've got to be more cognizant of that, making sure that the guys are doing that better."

Good thing for Cone and Malonzo, who are also allies at Ginebra, their basketball return won't be until March 8 at the start of their PBA Philippine Cup campaign, so Malonzo has a lot of time to recover.

"Hopefully, he'll bounce back and get better," Cone further said.

No Jamie Malonzo? No problem for Gilas

He added that Malonzo was supposed to be among the primary defenders against Liu Cheng.

Despite only having Chris Newsome and Calvin Oftana to guard Liu, Gilas somehow succeeded in slowing him down.

While Liu still led Chinese Taipei in scoring, he only had 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting and was forced to three turnovers three nights after dropping 20 points on New Zealand at home, although he too tallied three steals that made up one-third of Gilas' total errors on Sunday night.

"New did such a tremendous job defensively against him. He just got him very frustrated," Cone said of Newsome's defense on Liu.

Cone also expressed happiness at how Gilas as a whole fared defensively during the February window, only holding their opponents to just 58.5 points per game while dropping exactly 100 points per game.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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