New Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team head coach Tim Cone diverted from an original plan by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to include amateur standouts in the training pool for the national team which will see action in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games set in the country from November 30 to December 11.
Collegiate stars Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras, Thirdy Ravena and Kai Sotto were among those earlier named by SBP president Al Panlilio to the original pool which would comprise of 8 from the amateur ranks and 16 from the PBA.
The appointment of Cone, however, changed all that as the pro league’s winningest bench tactician opted for more seasoned players and those he’s most familiar with.
Aside from Stanley Pringle, who was already included by Panlilio in the original cast, 5 other Brgy. Ginebra players were added by Cone to the mix – and they are Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Art dela Cruz, Scottie Thompson and LA Tenorio.
Also making the list are San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross.
Jayson Castro is set for a return to the national team along with TNT teammates Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario while Alaska’s Vic Manuel and Phoenix Pulse’s Matthew Wright round up the new group.
“We decided to go with a veteran group, again because — and this is not always the truth — generally, veterans are easier to coach short-term. They pick up things faster than young guys. This is all about speed and efficiency that we’re trying to do. I know that guys like Bolick and Perez had a great World Cup but once we decided we were gonna take six Ginebra players, we decided to go with a veteran group,” said Cone during a press conference after the PBA’s Thursday board meeting.
“We only have eight practices to prepare and we’ll do our best, and I think we’ll do well because again we have that core, we have the players. That’s something we can always fall back on and rely on. And then you have June Mar there, you have Jayson there, you have RR there, Troy, Matthew Wright, suddenly that Ginebra team looks pretty darn good. And we’re gonna put a good Ginebra team together,” he added.