Tab Baldwin out as next Gilas head coach, eyed as program director for national team
MANILA, Philippines–As the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas prepares to put together a national program that will cover at least the next two World Cup cycles beginning with the 2023 edition that the country will host, two things are becoming apparent.
The role of program director and national coach will be split into two positions and Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin won’t be the drill master for Gilas Pilipinas in the next World Cup.
“He has begged off from coaching Gilas Pilipinas,” said SBP chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, who added that Baldwin is most likely the man who will draw up the blueprint for the national team as program director.
Baldwin’s role will be comprised of a gamut of tasks, from development of the country’s young standouts to creating a system for the national squad and naming the coaching staff.
“It’s most probably going to be Tab,” Pangilinan said on the role of program director, which Chot Reyes occupied while concurrently being head coach. Reyes had drawn up a succession plan for the 2023 World Cup with Baldwin’s name included.
“Tab will get inputs from Chot,” added Panglinan.
SBP president Al Panlilio has said the program that will be put in place will have medium-and long-term goals and while it will not exclude PBA players still, it will include developing “a dedicated team” made up of a bumper crop of amateur stars “who might even join PBA tournaments as a team.”
“By 2027, these guys should be physically ready [to represent the country],” Panlilio added.
“The young prospects in Batang Gilas, they’re all very good players, and tall,” Panglinan added. “AJ Edu, Kai Sotto, and Dave Ildefonso. There are surprises, too. There’s [Val] Chauca. There’s [Rhenz] Abando. Also [Justin] Baltazar of La Salle.”
And these fresh crops of amateurs, along with the likes of Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras, Thirdy Ravena and newcomers CJ Cansino and Mark Nonoy could be the core of the team that Baldwin will mold as project director.
Pangilinan doesn’t discount the possibility of some of those amateurs being named to the national pool—or squad—for 2023, together with PBA stars. But the important thing, Pangilinan said, is the plan should look at more than just one World Cup cycle.
“I told Al [we should look] not just at 2023 but beyond that,” said Pangilinan. “In our lifetime, we won’t see the Philippines become a world champion. But at least, with every World Cup, we [should] participate, that should be our norm.”
Pangilinan said that with every Philippine participation, “our ranking should improve, our performance should improve … even if incremental lang.”
The SBP will look outside first for a national coach—“most likely European,” Panglinan said—but will not discount the possibility that the next Gilas Pilipinas chief mentor will be from the country.
“Is anything certain? No,” Panglinan said. “We need to find a good coach.”
Panlilio added that SBP will cast a wide net with the search process, hoping to follow the Argentina model.
“Argentina has a core of coaches that stay together,” said executive director Sonny Barrios. “That’s why there is [program] continuity.”
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