Cone rules out Monday-only practice

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Cone rules out Monday-only practice
Tim Cone.
Philstar.com / Erwin Cagadas

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas head coach Tim Cone said yesterday the option of scheduling Monday-only practice during the PBA Philippine Cup to prepare for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in July isn’t workable and he’ll manage with what time is available after the conference ends.

“We’re going to stick to our agreement with the leagues,” said Cone. “Monday practices are always so disruptive. Some guys can’t practice because they had a game the night before or for other reasons. It’s OK if you’re working with a large pool of players but we don’t have that.”

Cone has decided to maintain a 12-man lineup for familiarity, consistency and togetherness. He said there are offers to play friendlies in Lithuania and Slovenia but nothing is final. “We’re still looking around,” said Cone. “We’re hoping to play two or three friendlies in Europe in our 10-day window of preparation.”

The Japanese B-League ends its season in late May so Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto and AJ Edu will be ready for Gilas camp in June. Edu skipped the recent FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window to recover from knee surgery but should be in harness for the OQT. The UAAP will not resume until September so Kevin Quiambao is available. Carl Tamayo is studying options for next season and will also be free. Justin Brownlee has offers from overseas leagues but will make sure he’s available for Gilas. Jaime Malonzo, CJ Perez, June Mar Fajardo, Calvin Oftana, Scottie Thompson and Chris Newsome are playing in the Philippine Cup.

Gilas team manager Richard del Rosario echoed Cone’s sentiments and ruled out Monday-only practice because the B-League players would still be in season until late May. “No Monday practices because players coming from Japan won’t be available,” he said. “We’ll have to work with the 10-day window of preparation. No dates of friendlies have been finalized as we are still working out the details. The Philippine Cup will end on June 19 or 21 but that’s assuming all series go the distance.” Del Rosario said given the conditions, there will be time to get ready for the OQT.

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