Gilas coach Cone emphasizes the importance of FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers as the first step towards the Olympics

Manila’s Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone spoke to reporters at a press conference at the Philsports Arena on Monday, highlighting his major goal for the team – to make the Olympics. Whether it be Paris next year or the 2028 Los Angeles edition, Cone sees the Olympics as the team’s ultimate goal, and views the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup as the first step towards achieving it.

The coach emphasized that the upcoming first window of the FIBA Asia Cup is a crucial initial move toward their Olympic goal. While Cone stressed the significance of the first window, he also stated that it is not their current focus.

On February 22, Gilas will commence its FIBA Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong, and on February 25, they will face Chinese Taipei. The team for the first window includes Kai Sotto, Dwight Ramos, Calvin Oftana, Carl Tamayo, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, Scottie Thompson, Kevin Quiambao, Chris Newsome, Japeth Aguilar, and Justin Brownlee. Original team members June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu will not be playing due to injuries.

Cone described the preparations and the first window as foundational, aimed at building a foundation for the team. He emphasized the need for the team to be growth-oriented rather than goal-oriented at this early stage.

Gilas had a public send-off training Monday night. Aguilar was the only player who was unable to join the training due to the birth of his child. Cone reminded the team that they are focused on building forward consistently and not taking shortcuts.

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