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Cone 'honored' to have Castro in Gilas pool for SEA Games

by Niel Victor Masoy, October 01, 2019 8:48pm

Eleven years ago, Tim Cone - then head coach of the Alaska Aces - wanted to draft a young Jayson Castro in the 2008 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft.

Unfortunately, the Talk N’ Text Phone Pals (now TNT KaTropa) nabbed Castro with the third overall pick thru a trade that sent Jay Washington to the San Miguel Beermen.

As it was, Castro went on to be TNT’s main man up to this day and Cone - whose now coaching the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel - didn’t have a chance to coach the two-time Best Point Guard in Asia, which is something he really wants to do.

Now, however, Cone have his wish to coach Castro granted as The Blur returned to the Gilas Pilipinas which Cone will be coaching in the Southeast Asian Games basketball tourney slated on November 30 to December 11 here in the Philippines.

"I'm just honored that he is here. Truly honored. I'm excited coaching him. I never got a chance to coach him. I almost drafted him back in 2008 but (former TNT coach) Chot Reyes jumped ahead of us and traded for him. We are going to get him at number five and he ended up going at number three,” said Cone.

"Cursed Chot Reyes," the bemedalled bench tactician quipped. "I never had a chance to get Jayson but after all these years, maybe we can do something here. I'm just honored," said Cone.

While Castro was pretty much stern with his decision to retire from playing for the national basketball team months ago, Cone believes that Castro’s return to Gilas stemmed from his love to play for the national team.

"I don't think it really took a lot of convincing," Cone said. "Jayson loves playing with the national team. I think he felt that maybe the young guns need to come in and start taking his place and I think that it was kind of a realization for him watching that how much he was missed in that lineup and the leadership. He is still Asia's best guard,” remarked Cone.

"So I think when he was approached again to come in and join us, I think he is willing to do it. He knows he can contribute and he can be a great help to lead this team.”

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