Cone on Gilas cadets skipping a PBA draft where Ginebra has two high picks: 'Sayang' 
Ginebra coach Tim Cone says a PBA draft without Gilas cadets will be tough to figure out. The Gin Kings have two first-round picks in the next draft. Gerry Ramos

WHILE taking the country’s best interest into consideration, Ginebra coach Tim Cone rued the timing of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ plan to revert to the original Gilas Pilipinas program that will see top amateurs commiting long term to the national team and in the process skipping the PBA Draft.

The Gin Kings are among the teams that stand to lose the most in the coming rookie draft in October, where they will have two first-round picks – both expected to be high selections considering the team’s unimpressive finishes in the pro league's first two conferences.

Cone admitted he saw the development coming, yet still regretted they could lose the chance to cash in on the upcoming draft that would’ve seen Gilas cadets Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, and Kevin Ferrer applying.

“It’s been around a couple of years, but for us, it’s sayang that it happened when we have two first-round picks,” Cone admitted after practice on Thursday afternoon. “But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

“It’s the program for the country so hopefully it will benefit the country and we’re all willing to sacrifice for that,” he added.

[See Ginebra, Phoenix stand to lose the most once Gilas cadets skip PBA draft]

Without the aforementioned college standouts, less-heralded rookie prospects and a handful of Fil-foreign hopefuls are expected to boost their respective draft stocks.

That should make the draft tough to call, Cone said.

“We don’t even know who’s coming in anymore now that Gilas is supposedly going to take guys,” Cone said. “I assume there will be some Fil-Ams coming from the ABL, maybe they’ll get a shot. And there are always uncovered jewels you can find.”

“It just makes the scouting a little bit harder, because you have to look a little harder than you normally would,” he added.

Still, Cone implied the draft will surely be shallower than expected.

“Maybe (there are) only one or two, maybe three good picks in the draft this year, so we’ll see,” the champion coach admitted.

“So we’ll do what we can with it, and we got a good team, fairly young, and we’re still developing,” he added. “So we aren’t desperate for young blood at the moment, so hopefully we get a couple of guys that can come and contribute.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos