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Preparation for SEA Games begins for Tim Cone, Gilas Pilipinas

Tim Cone kept things simple when he conducted his first practice with Gilas Pilipinas for the coming Southeast Asian Games on Monday.

Cone didn’t have much time teaching his system before the national team training pool that gathered at the Meralco gym, but spent most of the two hour session talking to the players.

“We didn’t have a lot of court time. We just ran some basic offense and basic defense,” the national coach said in his post-practice interview.

“We’re going to continue doing that and try to build a foundation and then build from there,” added Cone. “It’s more complicated than just bringing 15 guys in and having them play.”

Actually, make that 14 as San Miguel Beer stalwart June Mar Fajardo was the only one who failed to attend the practice session due to what Cone termed as a ‘personal issue to do.’

But he does expect the five-time PBA MVP, who is still bothered by the ankle injury he suffered in the recent FIBA World Cup, to show up in practice when Gilas convenes anew on Thursday.

“Obviously he’s (Fajardo) the cornerstone of the national team, him and Jayson (Castro),” said the Barangay Ginebra mentor, who’s back calling the shot for the national team since handling the Centennial squad during the 1998 Asian Games in Thailand.

“So we need him on the team and we need him to be healthy, (so) we’ll be patient with him. Again he’s one of the guys who could pick up the stuff really fast.”

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