With the way things are going, Gilas interim coach Tim Cone is sticking with the four replacements in Chris Ross, CJ Perez, Arvin Tolentino and Kevin Alas as the national squad leaves for Hangzhou, China on Sunday and begin its quest for the gold medal in the 19th Asian Games.
The Philippine team concluded practice on Saturday, September 23 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig, while bringing Ross and Co. up to speed of the system considering that the four PBA veterans came in just last Tuesday.
“We’re going with what we have unless otherwise told differently,” Cone told the Manila Times, following the national team’s last practice in Manila. “If that is the case, we’ll make that decision then.” Of course, any changes they will make from hereon will largely depend on the final decision of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee regarding the status of Calvin Abueva, Moala Tautuaa, Terrence Romeo and Jason Perkins, who were not part of the original 60-man list and later, 37-man list submitted prior to the deadline set.
Ross, Perez, Tolentino and Alas, along with Marcio Lassiter, who is coming in to take the spot of Roger Pogoy (out due to medical concern), played for Gilas in the national squad’s one and only tuneup game last Friday against the Korean club Changwon LG Sakers.
Gilas led by as many as 13 points, blew that lead in the third canto, before leaning on naturalized player Justin Brownlee’s timely baskets late in the game to score a grind-out 86-81 win against the Sakers at the Philsports Arena.
Cone did admit that the entry of Ross and three others could easily change the team’s dynamics, since they don’t have the size that Abueva, Tautuaa, Perkins and Romeo can bring.
Yet, the American mentor would like to believe that the entry of the four replacements will still give Gilas a different look as the Philippines try to do well and hopefully, end the country’s long, 61-year gold medal drought in the Asian Games.
Incidentally, Cone was the last coach to have guided the Philippines to a podium finish, steering the Philippine Centennial team to a bronze medla in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games in Thailand.
In the 2018 edition held in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Philippine team, mentored by coach Yeng Guiao, placed fifth despite being bannered in the last-minute by NBA star Jordan Clarkson, along with the core of Rain or Shine.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net