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Cone nostalgic on first Gilas practice: 'It just brings back so many memories of 1998 for me'

by Niel Victor Masoy, September 30, 2019 11:34pm

Tim Cone could not help but remember the past after coaching the national basketball team for the first time in 21 years on Monday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.

“It just brings back so many memories of 1998 for me," said Cone after the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games-bound Gilas Pilipinas finished their first practice Monday evening..

"You walk into a room with those 15 great players, all of them superstars in their own right, just being around them, having an opportunity to interact with them.”

Cone, of course, was referring to the 1998 national basketball squad also known as the Centennial Team which participated in the Asian Games of the said year in Bangkok, Thailand.

Cone head-coached and stirred that national team - then bannered by Johnny Abarientos, Kenneth Duremdes, and Alvin Patrimonio - all the way to bagging the bronze medal of the competition.

For this time, though, Cone has a different set of players, obviously.

Included in the 15-man pool formed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) are Phoenix Pulse’ Matthew Wright and Alaska Aces’ Vic Manuel. San Miguel’s quartet of Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Christian Standhardinger, and June Mar Fajardo are also part of the pool as well as TNT’s Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy, and Troy Rosario.

The pool also boasts the Ginebra core of LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Art Dela Cruz, Japeth Aguilar, and Greg Slaughter.

Of all the names, only Fajardo did not attend the said Gilas practice for he attented to a personal matter according to Cone.

“I see them from a distance so much, we play against them, we watch them on video, we know their weaknesses and strengths but we don't get a chance to talk and really get to know them, it's a completely different light,” remarked Cone.

"That to me was the biggest impact, just being in the room (with these superstars). Actually the practice was just very basic,” the bemedalled bench tactician added.

Gilas makes its second practice on Thursday at the same venue.

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