MANILA — It’s confirmed.

Multi-titled coach Tim Cone will be at the helm for Gilas Pilipinas during the forthcoming Asian Games, slated to commence on September 23, 2023, in Hangzhou, China.

This announcement was made during a press conference held at the PBA head office in Libis on Thursday.

Tim Cone, who previously served as an assistant to Chot Reyes during Gilas’ 2023 FIBA World Cup campaign, will now take the lead while Richard Del Rosario, a trusted associate of Cone at Barangay Ginebra, will serve as his chief assistant for this new Philippines coaching role.

Completing the coaching staff will be Jong Uichico, Josh Reyes, and LA Tenorio.

Handling team management duties will be Alfranchis Chua, the sports director of San Miguel Corporation, with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial as his deputy.

Cone had previously expressed his intention to decline a head coach appointment with Gilas, but circumstances changed after Reyes stepped down shortly after the World Cup victory over China last Saturday.

“I joined the World Cup team because, aside from the obvious desire to contribute to the country, my primary motivation was to support my friend, Chot Reyes, who was the head coach,” Cone explained. “Furthermore, I sought the experience and personal growth of being part of the World Cup. It was truly a growth opportunity for me.

“However, given the tight timeframe, just two weeks before our next game, when Coach Al (Chua) approached me, we needed someone right away. I discussed it with Chot, and he gave me his blessing. He believed I was the right person for the job, and that has boosted my confidence.”

Both Cone and Panlilio clarified that this appointment is specifically for the Asian Games, with plans to chart Gilas’ long-term course afterward.

Regarding the Asian Games roster, Cone mentioned it’s still in the process of formation and added, “I don’t have the full picture at this point.” Nevertheless, he emphasized that players based in Japan and Korea will not be available.

Invitations have been extended to specific players, and the first practice session is scheduled for Monday. Cone stated that they won’t have a large pool but rather focus on selecting a concise 12-player squad.

Chua confirmed the inclusion of four players: “June Mar (Fajardo) is confirmed. Japeth (Aguilar) is on board. (Justin) Brownlee is in, and Scottie (Thompson) has secured his spot.”

Gilas is grouped with Jordan, Bahrain, and Thailand in the men’s 5×5 competition, commencing on September 26. (ai/mnm)