It goes without saying that Tim Cone would not have accepted the Gilas Pilipinas coaching position without the blessing of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) top honcho Ramon S. Ang.
However, the multi-titled bench tactician bared that his return to the national team saddle was also contingent upon the presence of Alfrancis Chua on the bench.
The SMC sports director and Brgy. Ginebra team governor stated that Cone sought his commitment prior to accepting the head coaching position, this despite the fact that the former Alaska and Magnolia mentor informed the media that he would step aside once Chot Reyes resigns or gets replaced.
“I told him, he’s been here for a while, he’s pretty much Filipino. [I told him] ‘You make your living here, your bread and butter is here. Let’s give back to the Filipino people for the last time,’” said Chua shortly after Cone officially assumed the position vacated by Reyes.
“He told me, ‘I’ll do it only if you’re beside me,’” he added.
Chua readily agreed to be the team manager post and will play an integral role in putting together a squad that will compete in the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) in Hangzhou, China. He will have as his deputy PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.
“I told [Cone], I’ll be there from practices, from the [tournament’s] start until its end. In a way, this will feel like just Ginebra. We’re side by side on the bench,” said Chua.
Chua stated that he is currently assisting in the formation of the final roster, which will be reinforced by naturalized player and Gin Kings resident import Justin Brownlee.
“I’m trying to call almost everyone else we can reel in,” he said.