ALMOST everybody agrees that Tim Cone is the best man to take over the Gilas Pilipinas coaching job.
Nobody knows for sure if Cone can take it.
There is no doubt that Cone should be on top of the wish list of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) screening committee tasked to look for the coach that will take over the Gilas coaching job from Chot Reyes.
However, there are more questions than answers with regards to Cone's availability for Gilas, specifically on whether San Miguel Corp. will allow the league's most successful coach of all time to take on the national team position.
As it is, it is now clear Cone can't do both, since the SBP screening committee has already said that it wants a full-time coach to handle the reins of Gilas heading to next year's Fiba-Asia championships.
So unless Purefoods makes the ultimate sacrifice and releases Cone to the national team program, there's no way the two-time grand slam winner can even consider taking on the job.
“'Yun ang magiging problema dyan. Paano mo ipapahiram si Tim eh may ongoing campaign sa PBA by that time. Same way sa kaso ni (Rain or Shine coach) Yeng Guiao. Pareho silang nag co-coach (sa PBA),” said the source.
History also shows that Purefoods is bound to pay a heavy price if it releases Cone.
The last time Cone coached the national team in the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, his former ballclub, Alaska, ended up in a terrible slump that it couldn't arrest for years.
“Nangyari na dati yan, di ba?” reminded a high-ranking official.
However, it will be a different story if Cone wants the job.
The reigning Coach of the Year has put his full backing behind Reyes and has told Spin.ph previously that he won't even consider the Gilas position is if it meant taking the job away from his good friend.
That, however, is bound to change after Reyes voluntarily took his name out of consideration from the Gilas job last Monday.
Also, the Gilas job may be the only real challenge left for Cone, who has already distinguished himself as the most successful coach in PBA history with 18 championships counting an unprecedented two grand slams.
Fans no doubt want him to do it.
“Sa tingin ko ipapahiram naman siguro yun ng management nila,” said Alfie Reyes, a student and longtime PBA fan.
Another fan insisted: “Sa tingin ko ipapahiram naman nila kasi Gilas naman 'yun, para sa bansa naman 'yun. Siguro hindi naman nila ipagdadamot 'yun.”
But at this time, only Cone knows the answer.
Here's a video of fans giving their take on ther possibility of Cone coaching Gilas: