Title series vs Bay Area a big boost for Ginebra’s Gilas loans Justin, Jamie
Decorated coach Tim Cone and veteran playmaker LA Tenorio have served the national cage program in the past, and both Barangay Ginebra leaders feel like there is immense value in having to play a team like Bay Area in a seven-game series for the Gin Kings’ Gilas Pilipinas standouts.
“While it’s not the intention of being in Finals, it’s a nice byproduct,” Cone told the Inquirer on Friday, during the league’s kickoff presser for the Commissioner’s Cup championship series.
For Cone, such an opportunity will be most beneficial for Justin , the club’s American import who is about to become a naturalized Filipino; and Jamie Malonzo, the high-leaping sophomore who has been a revelation for Gilas Pilipinas.
“I think that’s especially the case for Justin. Playing at this stage with a little bit more pressure representing the league, the country, will prepare him better for when he does [suit up for Gilas],” said Cone, who called the shots for the Philippine team during the 1998 Asian Games in Thailand, and in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games here.
“Jamie’s really young and still finding out a look of things about the game and about himself. So I think getting in a series like that, playing a team like this that’s super disciplined and defends well? Jamie’s going to learn a lot,” he added.
“It’ll be good for Jamie and Justin,” added Cone, the winningest PBA mentor who is currently serving as deputy to national coach Chot Reyes.
For Tenorio, a participant of that famed Gilas crew that notched a milestone victory in the 2014 World Cup, the series against the visitors could also serve as a simulation for Cone, Brownlee, Malonzo, together with reigning Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, and athletic veteran Japeth Aguilar, who are also shaping up as shoo-ins for the sixth and final window of Fiba’s qualifying tournament.
“It will be like a practice run for them,” the seasoned guard said of the series. “Especially going into the window in February. The [Dragons] are going to be a team like Lebanon that the Philippines will be playing: Full of players with international plus an import. It should be a good opportunity for them.” INQ
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