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Tim Cone's goal for Gilas: make the Olympics

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone made it clear: the goal is to reach the Olympics.

"I’ve said it before, our goal, in my mind, is to make the Olympics," Cone said during a press conference on Monday at the PhilSports Arena.

"I think that’s really our goal and whether it be Paris or whether it be LA in four years or five years, our goal is to make the Olympics."

And the road towards that dream starts on Thursday, when Gilas Pilipinas squares off with Hong Kong in the first window of the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

The regional qualifiers is part of Philippine national men's basketball head coach Tim Cone's four-year roadmap for the national team, which included naming a permanent 12-man roster bannered by naturalized import in Justin Brownlee alongside mainstays like June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, CJ Perez, and Calvin Oftana.

Cone, who steered Gilas to the Asian Games gold medal last year, also injected youth to his program with the likes of Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo, and Kevin Quiambao joining the pool.

And with the vision now in place, Cone said it's time to put in the work.

"I feel like I’m a caretaker of something very sacred being the head coach of Gilas. It’s something that I grew up with, I’ve seen, I’ve witnessed, I’ve been a part of in the past, I’ve watched it from 1998 all throughout the years, and I’m excited to be a part of it," Cone added.

"We have a vision and I think everything starts with a vision and now, we have a vision and we have a goal, now it’s all about the process of how we get there."

Ramos echoed Cone, saying they have to work on their chemistry and teamwork in order to achieve their primary goal of returning to the Olympics stage. The last time the national team made an appearance at the Summer Games was more than five decades ago, when it competed in the 1972 edition.

"I think it’s a good idea to keep everything the same," Ramos said.

"It just helps to build from window to window and the chemistry is always gonna be there. I think it’s gonna be a good idea and we're gonna make it work for the next four years."

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio underscored that their program is always geared towards improving the whole system, saying Gilas will look to build on a banner year in 2023 that saw them win both SEA Games and Asian Games gold medals.

"It’s gonna be an exciting time for Philippine basketball. We need to always get better. I think we had a good year last year after hosting the World Cup, winning the SEA Games gold, and of course winning the Asian Games gold medal with Tim," Panlilio said.

"If we can keep these 12 players together for the next four years, that’s the objective. It starts this week."

—JMB, GMA Integrated News