Mon 22 July 2024

Latvia coach praises Cone’s ‘efficient” triangle offense

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2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup Best Coach Luca Banchi of Latvia praised Philippine men’s national basketball team head coach Tim Cone for running the triangle offense, on top of the latter’s defensive scheme, as keys to Gilas’ 89-80 win versus the world number 6 at the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Riga.

“They have an efficient offensive system. It’s not simple, it’s not common, not only in Europe but in general, it’s not common to have teams who run such system,” Banchi, the 2019 FIBA Intercontinental Cup champion coach, remarked about Cone’s pet system.

“It takes time. I know that the coach has a long time coaching and, let’s say, sharing these ideas around the country. That affects the players’ style and that allowed the team to have a very clear identity on the court but I believe that also defensively, this is a team that you have to attack with better poise and, let’s say, focus, that we didn’t do tonight,” Banchi explained.

For his part, Cone described himself as a “dinosaur at heart” for playing the triangle offense, which was developed by the late coaching great Tex Winter and popularized by the ‘90s era Chicago Bulls that won six NBA titles.

“I just enjoy living on his (Tex Winter) legacy, keeping it going,” Cone said.

Cone explained that there was a time in his coaching career that he abandoned the triangle offense.
“There’s a lot of critics about it… and even I left it for a couple of years cause i was like, everybody must right, right? If everybody’s saying it’s bad offense, they must be right. But I did as much as I could for two years without it and then I went back to it and it has been my best friend ever since.”

Both Banchi and Cone underscored, though, that it was Gilas’ defense that ultimately notched the monumental upset.

“Better to talk, not just about their offensive system, but about their defensive system,” Banchi said. “I believe that also defensively, their system and their size and their lineup typology closed the paint very well. It caused 40 and more shots by three points and we scored only ten. So I would say their decision to close the lane was successful. Their size allowed them to control the rebound.”

Cone also had the same remark.

“It’s an offense, if I may say, that plays at a tempo in which you can play defense, and that’s why I love it so much. I’m kinda famous for the triangle but I feel I’m a more defensive-oriented coach. That offense just helps me run the defense,” the Asian Games gold medal coach said.

“I’m enjoying running it and I’ve always enjoyed running it. I’m just proud that we are doing something with it,” Cone added. “We’re gonna live and die with this.”

With the Philippines’ revelation in the basketball world, having won its first OQT game in 60 years, Banchi had this to say: “Tonight will be a turning point of the tournament.”

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