MANILA, Philippines – Tim Cone walks away from Gilas Pilipinas having accomplished his mission of leading the team to the gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Cone called the shots for a team composed of PBA stars and they delivered, clobbering every opponent they faced en route to an 18th men's basketball gold in the SEA Games.
"Twenty years ago, I was able to win a bronze (in the Asian Games)," said Cone. "But nothing compares to winning a gold. It's been such a great experience being around these guys."
After their triumph against Thailand on Tuesday night, Cone was bombarded with questions regarding his future with the national team, and the Ginebra head coach was consistent with his response.
"I was told this is just an interim coaching," he said. "I'm here to help the program out the best as I can."
He stressed that he was called to coach Gilas "for this particular tournament," after the resignation of Yeng Guiao at the end of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
"They didn't have a coach to take over right away for the Southeast Asian Games, it was coming up quickly. So they called me and asked me if I would do it, and I said fine," Cone explained.
"But they also made it clear that this was a one-and-done thing. They needed someone to take over the program now so that they can continue to make plans and get a strong path and vision moving forward," he added.
"So, I'm just here as a caretaker at this point."
Cone is confident that Tab Baldwin, the program director for men's basketball, has everything under control.
"I'm really a one-and-done guy, and I think the program is in good hands with coach Tab Baldwin. He's going to get his guy to do the right things," he added.
"Any support I can give, I'd be happy to. But I really, I think this is for me one time, but I could not have had it any better than what we did tonight," he also said.
Meanwhile, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio expressed his gratitude to Cone for taking on the challenge of coaching Gilas.
"I really wanted to have a chance to work with him, and finally, after all these years, we're working together for the program," said Panlilio. "And you know, we really talked about the SEA Games only."
"Anything beyond this, we can talk about it again."
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