TIM Cone said he will 'really sit out and consider it' if he is offered the Gilas Pilipinas coaching position but remained firm in his stand that Chot Reyes is the best man for the job.
The two-time grand slam coach said it will be an honor to be considered for the Gilas job even though he felt he "didn’t do a good job" in his first and so far only stint with the national team in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, where he led an all-pro squad to a bronze-medal finish.
But even if the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has started a selection process for the coach and players of the next Gilas batch, Cone reiterated that Reyes should stay put, primarily because his system is perfect for the international brand of play.
“If I’m considered, it will be truly an honor,” Cone said in an interview with reporters during the 'All In' basketball charity event on Wednesday night. “I didn’t have the kind of success I hope to have (in 1998). It was really difficult but it was such an honor to be with those guys that played for me at that time.
“If I’m considered, I would really sit down and consider doing it if my name is mentioned because it is such an honorable thing to do.
“Saying all that and I want to be perfectly clear, if I had a choice, if it was up to me, I truly believe Chot Reyes is the right guy for the job and he should continue to do the job,” Cone added.
Cone said it is unfair to judge Reyes by the debacle in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea where Gilas Pilipinas fell to seventh place - the worst finish by any Philippine men’s basketball team in the quadrennial meet - after the historic stint in the Fiba World Cup.
“Certainly, in my 20-plus years, I guess I had a lot of failures. But I make up for those championships here and there. You can’t judge on one failure," the Purefoods coach said.
“If you ask me again, I really think it should be Chot Reyes. He has a great system for the international game. I think he has shown his success. We beat one of the top teams in the world. It should be Chot,” said Cone.
Looking back, the multi-titled Cone said it was very difficult for Gilas Pilipinas to compete in the Asiad just a week or so after the Fiba World Cup, where Gilas beat Senegal for the country's first win in the quadrennial meet in 40 years.
The Asian Games, Cone insisted, was not a fair barometer for Gilas Pilipinas and its coach.
“Coming from the world championship, it was very, very difficult to elevate the team’s spirit and intensity to come out and play in the Asian Games. I thought they played with every ounce of energy that they had," he said.
“I don’t find (the Asian Games) as the defining moment. I find the world championship as the defining moment more than the Asian Games. I think the Asian Games is just under the radar. We can look past it and continue with the program,” said Cone.
The American coach also said the fact that coaching Gilas is a full-time job is all the more reason why Reyes should be retained - and why he doubts if he can take on the role.
“I don’t think there is any doubt about that. He needs to be full-time. I don’t think you can coach in the PBA and turn around and coach Gilas once in a while,” said Cone.
Cone declined to give his take on Tab Baldwin, whose name is also being mentioned as a likely candidate for the Gilas position.
“I don’t know Tab. I talked to him one time. I don’t know his style, I really can’t comment on that because I don’t know him at all,” said Cone.