Tim Cone eyes versatile Gilas Pilipinas for Asian Games
Twelve names, one alternate.
Call it the Tim Cone dozen, the Gilas Pilipinas squad that will be sent to the 19th Asian Games (Asiad), who convened Monday morning at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
It is a team with very familiar faces.
Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva, two enigmatic players who donned the national team in the past, were among the notable names that trained with Cone, joining naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.
“This is our group. This is what we want to go with,” Cone told reporters shortly after a session that took about two hours and 30 minutes.
Pending a decision by organizers on a request by the national squad to replace two names on the original pool submitted last July 25 to beat the deadline for entries, this is who Cone will lead in an attempt to regain Asian Games glory.
Also present were Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa, and Stanley Pringle, reinforcing holdovers of the roster to the World Cup: June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Roger Pogoy.
Rounding out the cast were Chris Newsome and Calvin Oftana—two of the last three cuts from the roster that finished 1-4 by the end of the global showcase.
“This is who we expect,” Cone said. “We still got Perkins and Abueva who are not a hundred percent. They’re a hundred percent sure to be on the team if they’re allowed (by the local organizers).
They weren’t on the original list of 60 names that were submitted, [but] because of Jamie (Malonzo) and Brandon (Ganuelas-Rosser)’s injuries … we’re asking a ruling if we could replace them with Calvin and Perk.”
“That position—those two guys—we don’t really have,” the multititled mentor said. “We don’t really have [that] three-, four-guy.
And if we can get them, then that makes us more versatile because that means we can move Justin around into different positions. But without them, we’ll be guard-heavy or big-heavy. We don’t have the in-between guys. So Calvin and Perk are really important for us.”
Pringle, a crafty playmaker also playing for Cone’s Barangay Ginebra, is also a contingency measure.
“Stanley’s here as an alternate—as a 13th man in case Calvin and Perk won’t make it,” Cone explained.
Gilas will continue practicing at PhilSports until Friday. Cone and his charges will move to Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna the next day and will stay there until Sept. 21.
The Philippines opens its campaign against Bahrain on Sept. 26. Gilas is also bunched with Jordan and Thailand.