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Cone says that the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers are the first step for Gilas to get to the Olympics

Getting to the Olympics one step at a time.

Tim Cone, the coach of Gilas Pilipinas, recently revealed that his ultimate goal for the team is to qualify for the Olympics. He hopes to achieve this feat in either 2028 when the summer games are held in Los Angeles, or as early as next year in Paris. The FIBA Asia Cup is about to start its first round soon.

Cone said again that the upcoming first window is a big step toward their goal of going to the Olympics.

“Our goal is, in my mind, to make the Olympics. I think that’s really our goal… whether it be Paris or whether it be LA in four years or five years. Our goal is to make the Olympics, and we do that by either qualifying in Latvia or being the best Asian team in the World Cup,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Philsports Arena Monday. 

“To do that, we have to qualify for the World Cup and to do that we have to qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup. And it’s all a progression that goes forward,” he added.

But the coach made it clear that it’s not their main goal right now.

“The next part of the process, this window here is part of the process that’s gonna take us forward and get us advanced.”

Gilas’s first game in the FIBA Asia Cup will be on February 22 against Hong Kong. 

Taipei will play them on February 25. 

For the first window, the Nationals will have 11 players: Kai Sotto, Dwight Ramos, Calvin Oftana, Carl Tamayo, CJ Perez, Jamie Malonzo, Scottie Thompson, Kevin Quiambao, Chris Newsome, Japeth Aguilar, and Justin Brownlee. 

June Mar Fajardo and AJ Edu, two original team players, will not be playing because they are hurt. 

Cone also said that the first window and the planning are important. 

“Right now, we’re just trying to build a foundation. This is the first time we’ve had Kai and Carl and Kevin and Dwight with our group… But this is my first time to really get them really up close,” the coach said. 

“It’s really about building a foundation with which we can build from and this is our foundation now. This first window is, I hope, to be our foundation. We’ve done everything foundationally, we practiced everything that’s foundational.”

The coach, who won an Asian gold award, also stressed that the team should focus on growth rather than goals. 

Gilas had a public fire drill on Monday night to say goodbye. 

Only Aguilar could not go in this group because his wife had just given birth.

“We kept telling our guys that we’re not gonna shortcut. We’re not gonna jump around, we’re just gonna build consistently forward. That’s why this one’s important,” said Cone.

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