Alfrancis Chua bench post also helped convince Tim Cone take on Asian Games job

Tim Cone Gilas Pilipinas

Tim Cone at the Fiba World Cup. -MARLO CUETO/

Sure, Tim Cone would have never accepted the Gilas Pilipinas coaching post without the blessing and urging of San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) top executive Ramon Ang.

But the seasoned coach said he returned to the national team saddle on the fulfillment of another condition: that Alfrancis Chua would join him on the bench.

The SMC sports director and Barangay Ginebra team governor said Cone sought his commitment before accepting the hot seat after already declaring that he was also done the moment former national coach Chot Reyes resigned.

“I told him, he’s been here for a while, he’s pretty much Filipino. [I told him] ‘You make your living here, your bread and butter is here. Let’s give back to the Filipino people for the last time,’” Chua told a handful of reporters shortly after the announcement of Cone’s appointment earlier last Thursday at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) office in Quezon City.

“He told me, ‘I’ll do it only if you’re beside me,’” Chua added.

Chua thus signed up for the team manager’s post and will play an integral part in putting together a squad that will compete in the 19th Asian Games (Asiad) in Hangzhou, China. He will be joined by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, who will serve as his deputy.

Start to finish

“I told [Cone], I’ll be there from practices, from the [tournament’s] start until its end,” Chua said with a smile. “In a way, this will feel like just Ginebra. We’re side by side on the bench.”

Chua said he is in the process of helping out in the assembly of the final squad that will be led by naturalized ace Justin Brownlee.

“I’m trying to call almost everyone else we can reel in,” he said.

So far, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and June Mar Fajardo—PBA standouts under the San Miguel group teams—are the only locks for the national squad that will begin practicing at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City this Monday.

The Philippines, which finished fifth in the last edition of the Asiad, opens its campaign against Bahrain on Sept. 26. INQ

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