Baldwin remains as Gilas Pilipinas project director


TAB BALDWIN stays as the Gilas Pilipinas program project director, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Executive Director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios.

Barrios also said the SBP remains adamant on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’s return-to-training order for basketball in the absence of specific guidelines from the government  body tasked to manage the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The country’s co-hosting of the 2023 International Basketball Federation (Fiba) World Cup with Japan and Indonesia is also on track, the SBP official told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum webcast.

“As of this moment, Coach Tab Baldwin stays, unless he utters anything that is off line,” Barrios told the weekly forum powered by Smart and presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Barrios, a former commissioner of the PBA, said that SBP President Al S. Panlilio intends to hold a videoconference with Baldwin and other top officials of the federation to address the Gilas program.

But at the same time, the SBP executive stressed nothing is cast in stone.

“In any given situation, nobody has a lock on in a position…not me, not Butch, not anybody,” said Barrios who graced the forum with SBP Head of Operations Butch Antonio.

“As they always say, we serve at the pleasure of the president,” Barrios stressed.

Baldwin was fined P75,000 and suspended for three games by the PBA in his capacity as assistant coach of TnT Katropa, a position he was stripped off after the comments he told a webcast that drew the ire of the PBA and local coaches.

“Mr. Panlilio said the opinions that Tab Baldwin expressed were his personal [ones], they were not aligned with the position of the SBP and certainly, not aligned with the personal opinion of the SBP President,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin, however, kept his post as head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles who he steered to three consecutive University Athletic Association of the Philippines titles.

The 62-year-old American-New Zealander coach remains in the country amid the lockdown.

Barrios also said the SBP need to get the specific guidelines for basketball’s return to the country, hoping they will jive with the protocols set by the Fiba, which he described as lengthy.

“The IATF announced that players can practice in very limited parameters. But we are asking for the copy so we can study the rules and the implementing guidelines,” Barrios said. “We cannot plan without the specific guidelines from the authorities.”

Concerns were raised on basketball’s return as the country prepares its teams for both 5×5 and 3×3 events for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The Philippines is one of 20 teams still hoping to snare tickets to the Tokyo Games. There are two chances to qualify for Tokyo—through the Olympic qualifier that were moved to May 2021 and the Fiba Asia Cup qualifier reset tentatively for November.

The Philippines routed Indonesia, 100-70, in its only Asia Cup game last February 23 at home.

The 3×3 team was scheduled to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament last March in India but the event was moved to May 2021 in Austria.

Preparation for the country’s co-hosting of the 2023 Fiba World Cup continues to roll, according to Barrios.

“We are meeting at least twice a week [with Indonesia and Japan] via videoconference,” he said. “We have our logo and it is subject for approval by the Fiba Central Board.”

The logo will be launched tentatively in September while the official draw ceremony will be scheduled in the last quarter of the year.

But because of the pandemic, Barrios said several questions “could not be answered because everything is so fluid because of this pandemic.”

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