Tim Cone on taking over Gilas Pilipinas: “You can’t say no to RSA”

After Chot Reyes stepped down at the end of a rough FIBA World Cup campaign, Tim Cone was certain he didn’t want to take over his post as head coach of Gilas Pilipinas.

Ramon S. Ang, the CEO of San Miguel Corporation, changed his mind.

Cone said that he was hesitant to accept the position, even on a temporary basis, because Reyes is such a close friend, but he couldn’t say no when Ang persuaded him to accept the role for the the country’s sake.

“You can say no to a lot of people But I tell you what, you can’t say no to RSA. The way he asked is too special,” said Cone.

Alfrancis Chua, SMC sports director, recounted his phone conversation with Ang on Monday night, when he, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, and PBA vice chairman Bobby Rosales met at the Diamond Hotel to discuss national team matters following Reyes’ resignation.

“I called Boss RSA. And I asked if coach Tim can coach. Alam mo sabi ni RSA? ‘Tell him to coach para sa bayan. Gawin niya. Tell him I said gawin niya,’” said Chua.

Cone stressed that the sole reason he accepted to serve as a deputy coach at the World Cup was to assist Reyes while getting that much-needed World Cup experience.

The former Alaska and Magnolia mentor, on the other hand, saw the urgent necessity for a head coach at the Asiad, which was less than two weeks away.

“I joined the World Cup team. I signed for the obvious [reason] of giving back to the country, given my family, given my livelihood, my wife, my kids. That’s always the number one thing why you serve your country,” he said.

“But aside from that, it’s, number one, to serve my friend who was the head coach, Chot Reyes. Number two, I want to have that experience in terms of being a part of the World Cup and seeing the other coaches and being with super talented players that we have and who we are playing against. So it was really a growth experience for me as well. It was never my intention to become a head coach.”

“But given the time frame, we only had two weeks, the preparation time, when coach Al (Chua) and the other Al (Panlilio) came and spoke to me, we needed something right now,” said Cone.

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