“With my involvement in La Salle and my newness in the SMC organization, there’s just too much on my plate at the moment,” wrote Cone in a text message to InterAKTV. The coach joined the Llamados, a team owned by the San Miguel Corporation, just last September, and was named La Salle consultant in January.
“I can’t give the [SMART-Gilas] position the attention it deserves.”
Cone, however, said that the door remains open for him to join the national program in the future once he isn’t as bogged down with his current priorities.
“I did discuss with Chot, and perhaps sometime down the line when things settle a bit, I’ll be able to join him, but there is certainly no deadline.”
Cone earlier said he had wanted to return the favor for Reyes, who served as his assistant in the Centennial Team, the last Philippine squad to win a medal in a high-level Asian competition in 1998.
“I just hate to let Chot down, however, because he’s such a great friend,” added Cone. “But in truth, he has such a tremendous staff already, I’ll hardly be missed.”
Reyes will formally take the reins of SMART-Gilas at the end of the PBA season, after which he will be replaced by outgoing Ateneo coach Norman Black at the helm of the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. Black is expected to be part of Reyes’ staff at SMART-Gilas, along with Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio and consultant Jong Uichico.
Reyes, for his part, expressed disappointment that Cone would not be able to join him immediately in the national team.
“Disappointed, but I understand why [Tim Cone] declined our invitation for him to join the national team coaching staff. Big loss,” wrote Reyes on his Twitter account.