Defense, efficiency keys vs Iran–Tab
There is one question I’ve always wanted to ask a basketball expert, preferably one with international coaching experience. Last week, I finally found the man I was looking for.
It was my very first time to have an interview with Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin.
It was supposed to be a one-on-one interview arranged by TV5 PR Peachy Guioguio after the MVP Cup press conference at Holiday Inn earlier this week, but it looked more like a one-on-six. Several scribes surrounded Baldwin, way after the question and answer portion ended.
Surrounded by journalists, Baldwin only managed a glimpse when I was introduced to him, no smile. I got the impression that he wanted to get the interviews over as soon as possible.
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In Puerto Princesa where the PBA All-Star Weekend was held last summer, Baldwin was a completely different person, according to scribes who covered the event. He was nice and approachable and you could interview him for as long as you like.
The All-Stars must have been staged early March this year, if my memory serves me right, way before Baldwin started having headaches forming the Gilas team. At that time he probably had not developed a sour disposition yet.
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Unlike a previous respondent, coach Baldwin had a lot more to say than “Blatche” when I posed the all-important query.
“What would it take to beat Iran?”
“We have to develop our defensive system, particularly to counteract Hamed Haddadi,” coach Tab started.
“We’ve got to control the tempo of the game. We can’t play at their pace. We have to create our own pace.
“I think Iran will be the best defensive team in the tournament so we have to get so good in our offense so that our efficiency doesn’t drop that much. We can continue to play an efficient game of basketball at a high pace.”
Baldwin said he is in agreement with just about everybody who says that Iran and China are the teams to beat in this tournament.
“Then there’s Korea, Philippines, Jordan, Lebanon, Taiwan.”
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I’ve always been curious to know if Baldwin ever entertained thoughts that Lakers’ Fil-Am cager Jordan Clarkson would be able to play for Gilas in the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship set Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 in China.
I just had to ask Baldwin how he feels about not having Clarkson in the team and what might have been if he had him in the team.
Tab’s answer: “I don’t miss something that I never had. But I think for the Philippine fans it’s disappointing. But going forward, I know that the work being put in to bring Jordan into the environment is going to be massive and I’m looking forward to the day that he can put on the uniform and play as a Filipino.”
“And I know he’s looking forward to it as well. So hopefully that day would come soon.”