Cone vows to have Chot Reyes' back as he joins Gilas staff

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2022 12:43 PM

Tim Cone and Chot Reyes will be working together in the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff. PBA Images.
Tim Cone and Chot Reyes will be working together in the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- Tim Cone has yet to discuss with Chot Reyes what his exact duties will be when he joins the coaching staff of Gilas Pilipinas, but one thing is for sure: the Ginebra mentor is thrilled to be part of the program.

Reyes revealed on Tuesday that he has tapped Cone to join him in the coaching staff for the national team, with Gilas bracing for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 that the Philippines is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia.

"I'm extremely happy, and obviously, completely honored to be a part of it," Cone said on Wednesday night, after steering the Gin Kings to an 83-75 comeback win against NLEX in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup. 

This marks the fourth time that Reyes and Cone will work together, and the first time since 2007 when Cone joined Reyes' staff for the national team's exhibition games.

"I haven't spoken to Coach Chot about what my role is gonna be, but I do know one thing: I'm gonna have his back," said Cone. "He knows it. I'm gonna have his back through thick and thin."

"We've worked multiple times together in the past, we know how well we get along, and we are of two different minds in the way we coach the game, so we'll have a couple of different points of view," he added. 

"I'll have my point of view wherever I can, but his word will be law and we will all follow it, I especially. Like I said, I'm gonna have his back," Cone stressed. "I think that's what a head coach needs from his assistant more than anything else."

A 24-time champion in the PBA, Cone said he is looking forward to working with Nenad Vucinic and Jong Uichico in the Gilas coaching staff, in the hopes of preparing the national team for the World Cup.

As host, Gilas Pilipinas is automatically qualified to the showpiece event where they will try to rebound from a disappointing campaign in the 2019 edition of the World Cup.

"We're just gonna try to get together and put our very, very best foot forward. We know we're not gonna win the world championships, you know, that's unreal expectations," said Cone. "But we want to put our best foot forward in front of our home fans and that's what is most important."

As for how this new role affects his work with the Gin Kings, Cone admits that he has yet to discuss the details with Reyes. However, he believes that he will not have to miss a PBA game in order to be with Gilas during the qualifying windows. 

The national team is set to travel to New Zealand later this month for the third window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, before hosting India on July 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"I really don't know what's going on at this point," said Cone, who has yet to talk to Reyes since the Gilas coach made the big announcement during the PBA Press Corps Awards Night. "But I'm thrilled to be a part of it, honored to be part of it. And I hope I can contribute in some way."