Tim Cone's defensive tweaks key to Gilas' gold medal win, says Brownlee | Inquirer Sports

Tim Cone’s defensive tweaks key to Gilas’ gold medal win, says Brownlee

/ 12:24 AM October 07, 2023

Bongbong Marcos congratulates Gilas Pilipinas, Annie Ramirez

Gilas Pilipinas players carry their head coach Tim Cone following their win over Jordan in the men’s basketball gold medal match at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

MANILA, Philippines–A tweak on Gilas Pilipinas’ defense, according to its indefatigable star, proved to be the key in the Philippines’ 70-60 triumph over Jordan that delivered an Asian Games gold medal on Friday night.

“It was our defensive adjustments,” Justin Brownlee told reporters on the heels of his 20-point, 10-rebound outing in the men’s basketball final at Hangzhou Olympic Centre Gymnasium in China.

“We defended them way better, and we defended them differently as well. Coach Tim (Cone) did a great job adjusting our defense and the way we wanted to guard them.”


Gilas Pilipinas’ defense was actually at its most suffocating that night, allowing Jordan to hit only 26 percent of their shots from the field.

Jordan's center Ahmad Al Dwairi (44) attempts to shoot against Gilas' guard Chris Newsome and Justin Brownlee

Jordan’s center Ahmad Al Dwairi (44) attempts to shoot against Gilas’ guard Chris Newsome and Justin Brownlee during the men’s basketball gold medal match between Jordan and the Philippines at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The foremost victim of that stingy Gilas defense was Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who had to claw his way to scoring 24 points.

Another was Sami Bzai, a streaky shooter who figured prominently in Jordan’s blowout of Gilas in the preliminary round last weekend. He finished with just three points in the loss on Friday.

“I think we did a good job recovering (Sami) Bzai, not letting him get a lot of looks, and that was one of the keys,” Cone said in a separate interview.


Brownlee also tipped his hat to Ange Kouame, Gilas’ other naturalized player who quite literally saved his best for last.

“I think in that four quarter, Ange did a really good job. I think he was a difference-maker in this game, in my opinion,” Brownlee said of the former Ateneo ace, who finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds spiked with five steals and pair of blocks.


Now an Asian Games champion on top of being a Southeast Asian Games winner, Brownlee dedicated the triumph to the legion of fans supporting back home.

“Man, it feels great. I feel just so happy. Not only for myself but for the Philippines,” he said. “ I’m just happy for the whole Filipino people, that’s a big huge basketball country—the Philippines. So I’m just happy for everybody back home.”

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TAGS: Asian Games, Gilas Pilipinas

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