Cone eyes Gilas tune-ups with ABL teams

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone is eyeing a practice game for the Nationals possibly against an import-laden team from the ABL to see how his 15-man pool will blend in and work as a unit ahead of their gold-medal quest in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Cone gathered his Ginebra-led crew last Monday to jumpstart their once-a-week sessions.

“We might get a practice game on a Thursday or Monday night. We’re talking maybe to the ABL to allow their teams to come in. Obviously, we’d like to play PBA teams but they’re in the middle of their own things. So we can’t ask them,” said Cone, who has an ABL connection in his Gilas staff in assistant coach Jimmy Alapag, the head strategist of Alab Pilipinas.

"But I think ABL is starting second week of November or something like that, so we might be able to get a game early November and they have three imports so it will be a good test for us to play against them.

"So hopefully we can get one of those in and the players can figure out a way. Maybe (we can) play a couple of quarters or three quarters instead of a full game. We'll play around with that just to give the guys a chance to play against somebody else rather than themselves," he added.

The Gilas coach said under his program, there won't be much scrimmages in the Nationals' pre-SEAG buildup. 

"I'm not a scrimmage coach so we're not going to be in there scrimmaging a lot. We'll be doing a lot of half court stuff. And we're not going to exhaust our guys. This is the third conference already, it's been a long year and it's tough to finish the year doing twice a day practices (for mother teams and Gilas) and splittin your concentration at this level," he said.

"This is the hardest conference to stay injury-free in...so we'll try to help them stay a little healthy," he added.

Cone said with only 10 practice days over three months, the challenge is to make things "concise and efficient" each time.

"The key is for me to impart my knowledge to these guys, make sure they're all on the same page and play the same way. That's the challenge that we have," said the Ginebra tactician, who stressed they won't be doing much shooting drills or sprint drills as the players are already doing those with their mother teams.

"For us, it's all about mental stuff; teaching and learning, that's the focus. We get a full two hours and we try to be very concise and efficient and hopefully continue to build from these. That's the goal."


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