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GINEBRA tactician Tim Cone’s back with the national team and he who’s revered as the most successful Philippine Basketball Association coach couldn’t turn Chot Reyes’s offer down.

“I’m happy and honored to have the chance to help coach Chot [Reyes] and the Gilas program in any capacity” Cone told BusinessMirror on Wednesday. “It can’t get more exciting than hosting the world championship at home.”

National team coach Chot Reyes announced during his acceptance speech at the PBA Press Corps Awards Night on Tuesday his choice of Cone on the Gilas bench.

It was a surprise revelation from Reyes on whose mind rest the gargantuan task of steering the country in the International Basketball Federation World Cup that the country is co-hosting with Japan and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10 next year.

Known for his winning mentality that made him the winningest coach in the PBA with 24 crowns. Cone, owner of 24 PBA crowns, expressed excitement despite a tight 14-month window to work with.

“What a thrill for the country I’m looking forward to being part of the team that puts our best foot forward,” said Cone who coached the Centennial team to a bronze medal in the Bangkok 1998 Asian Games and to the gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila.

But Cone—and importantly for Reyes—they’ll be working with the stigma of the gold medal lost at the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam last month.

Ginebra team governor and San Miguel Corp. head of sports Alfrancis Chua said that 64-year-old Cone working with Reyes presents no worries at all, especially for the Gin Kings.

With Cone on Reyes’s staff are Nenad Vucinic, University of the Philippines champion mentor Goldwin Monteverde, Jong Uichico and Josh Reyes.

Cone, meanwhile, will miss Ginebra’s games to Converge, Terrafirma, TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco from July 1 to 13 to join the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association Summer League as an assistant coach to Malik Allen in San Francisco and Las Vegas.

“It’s just going to be two weeks and coach Richard del Rosario will take over for the meantime,” he said.  

Reyes was at the PBA scribes’ awards night to receive the Coach of the Year award, the sixth time that he hoisted the Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan trophy.