MANILA, Philippines -- Gilas Pilipinas had another short practice at Meralco Gym, with head coach Tim Cone revealing that his squad managed to do just two of the four things he had planned for the Monday night session.
All 15 members of the national team pool -- even Christian Standhardinger, who found out earlier in the day that he had been traded from San Miguel Beer to NorthPort -- showed up to the practice.
"I really wanted to be careful with the guys and not push them too hard," said Cone, who noted that 11 of the 15 players had played in a PBA Governors' Cup game the previous day.
"We planned to do three things, basically four things today, we only got two done. So the other two, we didn't get done.
"I could have done it longer, but I could see the concentration was waning," Cone explained, but did not elaborate.
Cone won't deny that he was disappointed not to check off all the things on his list -- "That's the way I am," he said. But the Barangay Ginebra coach explained the national team is being careful not to tax the players too much, as they are still in the middle of the conference.
Moreover, some of them are still recovering from injuries, notably Matthew Wright and Marcio Lassiter.
"I'm really trying hard to keep it at a level where guys will still be interested in coming, and we can still get things done," he said. "I think that's important for me."
"They have to participate. They don't have to go hard, but they have to participate," he also said.
Besides, Cone has no doubts that even with short practices, the Gilas players are quick to understand the plays that they are teaching.
"These guys pick up things so quickly. I'm not worried," he said. "We still got time, and they know everything instinctively as it is."
The national team worked mostly on offense on Monday night, but Cone says they will begin to teach defensive schemes by next week.
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