MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas is just more than a week away from competing in the pandemic-delayed 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and interim coach Tim Cone is ready for it.
And so is his team.
Cone has assembled his Final 12 for the continental meet with all members being highly motivated to don the Philippine colors in the continental games.
“We’re all available. Everybody wants to be here. That’s the biggest and strongest part of the team, they’re excited to be in the national team,” said the Barangay Ginebra coach during an open practice at Philsports Arena on Thursday.
“They’re excited about the prospect of playing China, Korea, Bahrain and Jordan. I don’t have to worry about motivation; they’re motivated.”
Present in the training were Fiba World Cup holdovers June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar along with Roger Pogoy, who was in street clothes.
Comeback members Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo were also in attendance alongside Jason Perkins, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome and Justin Brownlee.
Not in the venue were Scottie Thompson, Mo Tautuaa, Ange Kouame and the squad’s reserve man, Stanley Pringle.
“This is our 12. Stanley is our 13th in case something happens. He’s sacrificed himself coming here and working with us, even though he doesn’t have a spot in the team at this point,” said Cone.
Gilas Pilipinas is introduced.
Not yet here are Ange Kouame, Scottie Thompson and Mo Tautuaa.
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) September 14, 2023
Helping Cone was former Gilas stalwart LA Tenorio, who is recovering from a battle with cancer.
The Asian Games will begin September 23 while Gilas Pilipinas opens its bid for a medal finish against Bahrain on the 26th.
Also present in Pasig is the Gilas Pilipinas’ women’s team, which is also participating in the Games, spearheaded by coach Pat Aquino.