ASIAD: BEST TEAM BUBUUIN NI CONE

Tim Cone

BALIK sa pagiging coach ng Nationals, target ni Tim Cone na makabuo ng isang ball movement at defense-centric crew para sa darating na Asian Games sa China.

Para kay Cone, ito ang kinakailangan ng Nationals para malu- sutan ang hamon ng powerhouses mula sa Middle East tulad ng Jordan at sa East Asia gaya ng Japan, Korea at host China.

“We’re gonna be focused on ball movement. We’re going to make sure the ball moves; that’s going to be really crucial for us,” wika ni multi-titled Barangay Ginebra mentor, na naunang iginiya ang Philippine Centennial Team sa bronze sa Asiad, 25 taon na ang nakalilipas.

“And we’re going to be very defensiveoriented. I think that’s going to be our edge in the Asian Games.

We’re not going to try to outscore a team like Japan, which scored a lot in the World Cup but this team we’re building, we’re really looking for guys who are two-way players.

“They can do some damage on the offense, but can also be great defenders,“ dagdag pa niya.

Hindi tulad sa kanyang unang Asiad duty noong 1998 kung saan nasa kanya ang pinakamahuhusay na players noong panahong iyon, si Cone ay aasa lamang ngayon sa PBA players dahil ang Gilas mainstays mula sa Japan at Ko- rean leagues ay hindi available.

Sina World Cup vets June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson at RR Pogoy at WC pool members Calvin Oftana at Chris Newsome ang bubuo sa nucleus kasama sina naturalized imports Justin Brownlee at Ange Koaume.

Sinabi ni Cone na tinitingnan din nila ang PBA stars na hindi kasama sa World Cup buildup at campaign, kabilang dito si gunner Mikey Williams.

“You can’t win if you don’t bring your best players. That’s always been my opinion about the national team. You have to get your best players to be the best team. We’re not gonna bring in our best players at the moment ‘coz we’re not gonna have the guys from Japan, Korea. But we’re gonna get the best players who are available and try to make them the best team. I think that’s important.”

Bubuo si Cone ng 12-man group na magsisimulang magsanay sa Lunes hanggang sa Sept. 23-Oct. 8 Asiad sa China.

-CLYDE MARIANO