SEA Games: Every practice counts for Tim Cone and Gilas Pilipinas
Santino Honasan on Sep 30, 2019 09:01 PM
“It’s kind of like a countdown for us, so every practice has to be concise and efficient, so no distractions. Come in, let’s do the work,” - Tim Cone (Photo: Josh Albelda)
The first practice for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games iteration of Gilas Pilipinas is in the books, and for newly-installed head coach Tim Cone it was an important step in getting everyone on the same page.
Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas, 14 members of the 15-man all-PBA pool were present for their first time to practice as a team, with the lone absentee being multiple-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, who had some personal issues to attend to.
While the SEA Games tournament may still be a couple months away, Cone maintains that time is of the essence and that each and every training session is crucial.
“We realize that we have a short number of practices so we want to be very concise, that’s why we’re being very strict on how we handle the practices and who’s around, because we have such a short window,” said the veteran mentor. “Right now, we’ve finished practice one, now in our minds, we have nine practices left.”
“It’s kind of like a countdown for us, so every practice has to be concise and efficient, so no distractions. Come in, let’s do the work,” he continued.
Cone adds that teaching will be a primary focus in his approach with the National Team.
“The key is for me to impart my knowledge to these guys and make sure that we’re all on the same page and all playing the same way. That is the challenge that we have, that’s why I keep talking about teaching and learning as being the key.”
“We’re trying to do kind of a novel approach, we’re not going to come in here and do shooting drills. Why do shooting drills? They do shooting drills every day with their mother teams, so we don’t going to do shooting drills. We’re not going to do sprints or wind sprints or running up and down the court. Why? Because they do that in their own teams all the time, so we don’t need to do all of that stuff. Really, for us, it’s all about mental stuff, coming in and getting the teaching and the learning, so that’s the focus,” Cone further explained.
As far as first practices goes, Cone looks to be pleased with what he saw so far.
“We showed them an offense today, and it was like easy-peasy for them, I mean it was so easy for them to figure it out. I was shocked...well, I wasn’t shocked, I knew that they’d be good, I just didn’t know they’d be that good.”
Cone also reinforced his decision to go with an all-professional pool for the upcoming tournament, saying that with a limited time to prepare, experience was an edge.
“Sorry to the young guys, but [that’s] why we wanted veterans, I mean, they just pick up things so fast. I’m not saying the young guys can’t do it, but these guys can do it, and they’re very, very, very impressive.”