Mendoza: Cone’s critical gambit

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Mendoza: Cone’s critical 
gambit
SunStar Mendoza

TIM Cone had the correct attitude again.

After Gilas dropped an 84-73 decision to Turkiye Turkish Airlines in their friendly match in Istanbul on Friday, Cone immediately took the blame for it.

“That’s on me,” Cone told Business Mirror’s Josef Ramos via chat message, his way of saying he should be blamed for the loss.

Attaboy!

Added Cone: “It was a game we felt we should have won. Almost winning is not good enough for us on this trip.”

He was just merely stating an old tired line: Coaches would take the blame for a loss most of the time, if not all of the time.

Players never lose; they just take credit for every won-game. As in when Gilas beat the Taiwan Mustangs, 74-64, on Monday in the national team’s first friendly.

Gilas bowed to Poland, 82-80, on Saturday in the third and final friendly for the Filipinos in Katowice.

The friendlies were part of the preparation for Gilas in its bid to enter the Paris Olympics basketball proper via the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

But what are friendlies for, if not mere testing grounds, to showcase a team’s playing pattern and strategic system? In short, either a win or a loss is meaningless because what is basically at stake in a friendly is the integrity of a squad’s capacity to win.

The Filipinos, ranked 38th in the world and whose last Olympic stint was in the 1972 Munich Games, are up against tough grinders in OQT, simply because their foes are seeded much higher than them.

Gilas needs to finish either first or second in Group A to advance to the crossover semifinals against either Brazil, Cameroon or Montenegro from Group B.

It’s a tall order, and Gilas is even wary of the scary fact that we only have 11 players to shuffle after Cone’s brave, if not insane, view that a replacement for the injured Scottie Thompson is unnecessary.

Aren’t we brimming with talents so as to easily find a Thompson substitute?

It’s a self-inflicted handicap, and that’s the hard part.

Why Cone had to do that, was allowed to do that, is a puzzle as complex as the true identity of Bamban mayor Alice Leal Guo.

Let’s pray and hope Cone succeeds. Otherwise, I will abhor hearing him say, “That’s on me,” a second time.

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