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Fernandez confident of golden finish in SEA Games basketball

After the unveiling of the Philippine men’s basketball pool for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez is confident that newly-appointed national coach Tim Cone will get the job done.

Fernandez, a member of the silver-winning Asian Games team in 1990 Beijing, believes the Philippines could win an 18th overall men’s SEA Games basketball title since 1977.

The men’s basketball competition will be held on December 1 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“He (Cone) knows what it takes to win in the Southeast Asian Games. It can be done with an all-pro lineup and even with a mix collegiate stars,” said Fernandez, a four-time Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player.

Cone formed recently the Gilas Pilipinas 15-man SEA Games pool headed by six Barangay Ginebra San Miguel players — Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, Scottie Thompson, LA Tenorio, Art Dela Cruz and Stanley Pringle.

Other players selected were June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Christian Standhardinger, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro, Vic Manuel and Matthew Wright.

“We don’t want to lose this one. This is our home court. This is not the best talent, but we are trying to be the best team that we can,” said Cone, the winningest Philippine Basketball Association coach with 21 titles highlighted by grand slam crowns in 1996 and 2013.

“We decided to go with a veteran group, again because generally veterans are easier to coach short-term. They pick up things faster than the young guys. This is all about speed and efficiency that we’re trying to do.”

In the last 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, Gilas Pilipinas was led by a mixture of professional and amateur players to win the gold.

Cone is back with the national team for the second time after coaching the Philippine Centennial squad in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. That team settled for a bronze medal.

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