Gustong mag-iwan ni coach Tim Cone ng marka sa sambayanang Pilipino na may class at respeto sa laro ang kanyang Gilas Pilipinas squad na kumakampanya sa SEA Games.
“What’s important for us is to represent the country,” anang coach na nasa pangalawang stint sa national squad tapos giyahan ang Centennial Team sa bronze medal noong Bangkok 1998 Asian Games.
“We want people going back to their respective homes and saying, ‘Wow, that played with a lot of class,’ and that’s really up in our minds.”
Iba sa pakiramdam dahil alam niyang puro stars ang all-PBA Gilas squad, pero naroon pa rin ang kaba.
Ramdam niya ‘yun sa buong opening game nitong Miyerkoles sa MOA Arena hanggang matapos ang 110-58 drubbing sa Singapore.
“(Former national) Coach Chot Reyes told me, ‘You’ll be up by 15, 20 points and you’ll still be nervous.’ That’s so true,” dagdag ni Cone. “I was a bundle of nerves coming to the game, all day long and even at halftime, we’re up 20 I was a bundle of nerves. It’s really a different feeling being at this stage.”
Kahit ang players, ramdam niyang kabado rin.
Para makuha ang respeto ng kalaban at sa laro, depensa ang hinihingi ni Cone sa kanyang squad. Sa buong torneo, kailangan nilang kumilos na parang iisang tao.
“We know they’re gonna be great offensively, we know they’re gonna be able to score, shoot 3s, run the floor,” panapos niya. “The thing we’re trying to demand from them is to play defense.” (VE)