Gilas coach Baldwin: ‘I like this team’
For Gilas coach Tab Baldwin, unless he hears something from the players he called up to the pool, all are still part of the national team.
“I’m waiting for the players that we’ve named to come in,” he said.
With Gilas incurring another blow with the MCL injury of Kelly Williams and the recent pullout of June Mar Fajardo, Baldwin still isn’t changing his mind and is keeping with the 16-man pool he requested from the PBA.
“If there’s anyone else beyond that, in my mind, no. The plan is to get the players that we hope will come in,” he said.
But despite the challenges that the team had to endure prior to the training camp, the American-New Zealander is liking what he sees from the current squad.
“I like this team. We have talent, we have toughness, we have great people, we have high character and every single one of the guys is committed to the country. That is the first and important prerequisite for the international competitions and for the national team,” he said.
Baldwin added, “They have good effort, the willingness to learn, the willingness to play together and work together, but I expect that. All the players I’ve seen here in the Philippines have a great attitude.
It’s such a great job for me. I think I can really stretch myself as a coach because of the coachability of the players and I’m excited about that.
They’re getting better. They’re understanding how I communicate what I ask of them more and more each day. It’s a long process and we have a relatively short time to get it done, so there’s a bit of pressure on us to do it, but I think we’ll get there because of the quality of these players.”
The seasoned mentor is also happy with the way the guys are adapting to his system, saying, “We’re picking up the energy as we planned to do. We had about a week of a lot of teaching, drilling, and still a lot to do. But we’re starting to liven it up a bit now, pushing them a little bit harder and they responded.”
“It’s a step-by-step progress. There were times in practice that I was a little bit discouraged of our toughness and competitiveness, but when I pointed that out to them, it really swung probably a little bit to the other way, which is good. I’d rather be there right now and have to back them off on their competitiveness than to have to motivate them to be competitive.”
Though he’s confident with the current pool he has, Baldwin raised some concerns, especially in the rebounding department.
“If you want to win gold, you have to be good in all categories, and the one area that I have some concerns is rebounding, so it’s something we really have to focus on and get better at, and be good at eventually. Calvin (Abueva) makes us look good as a rebounding team, but we’ve got to get more from everybody that are gonna be rebounders,” he said. IDL
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