PBA fines, suspends contrite Baldwin; Marcial tells him to seek forgiveness
MANILA, Philippines–Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Willie Marcial fined Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin as expected and suspended the TNT assistant coach for three games when the pro league’s 45th season resumes.
And now for the hard part.
“I told him [during our Monday video conference] to mend fences with the [PBA’s] board of governors and our [local] coaches,” Marcial told the Inquirer over the phone on Tuesday, moments after his penalties on Baldwin were announced on the pba.ph website. “That, I think, is the best thing that he could do at the moment because he really offended a lot of people.”
Baldwin will have to mend a lot of fences after offending a lot of people during a podcast aired last Thursday.
The three-time UAAP champion coach with Ateneo sparked an uproar last Thursday when he called local coaches “tactically immature” and the PBA import-laden conferences a “big mistake,” while accusing the league’s referees of giving latitude to imports. He also called the world-governing cage body Fiba “criminal” because of one of its eligibility rules.Act of contrition
Baldwin began his act of contrition by reaching out to Marcial. The PBA accepted his invitation for a meeting and, eventually, his apology. But that did not stop the commissioner from throwing the full weight of the league’s rule book on Baldwin.
Now, Baldwin has to deal with ruffled feathers closer to home—the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and his bosses in the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio on Sunday distanced himself and the cage body from Baldwin by saying that his views were “his own opinion and [don’t] align with how the SBP thinks and with what I think.” Panlilio is also the Meralco board representative in the PBA.
Panlilio also stressed the fact that the relationship of the SBP with Fiba, where Pangilinan is a member of the powerful central board, could sour with what he said.
“I feel bad that has happened but that is not my intention,” said the former Gilas coach, who also claimed that he was taken out of context during the podcast.
Barangay Ginebra board representative Alfrancis Chua, who is also the sports director of the San Miguel Corp., was furious about Baldwin’s comments and didn’t mince words in expressing his disgust. The board, incidentally, is being chaired by Ricky Vargas, Baldwin’s boss at TNT.
NorthPort owner Mikee Romero even called Baldwin a “racist” and told the Kiwi-American in a statement on Monday that he has no right altering the rich history of basketball in the country.
Coaches, led by the mercurial Yeng Guiao of MVP-owned NLEX, and Pido Jarencio of NorthPort, also were not very forgiving, with Jarencio even calling Baldwin an “arrogant pr*ck” in a social media post. Government’s call
Meanwhile, Marcial remains optimistic that the league can salvage its 45th season even with the continuation of general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.
The league has already submitted its proposal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease for a return to practice permit for PBA teams under strict health guidelines.
But Marcial said that would still depend on the decision of the government as he will still solicit the opinion of player representatives of teams on June 23. “COVID-19 hasn’t been contained, and so I myself was expecting Metro Manila will be staying under GCQ for the rest of the month,” Marcial said.
“I believe quarantine measures will be eased in July. And July would not be late for our teams to have physical activities in the gym, leading hopefully to full practices and season return sooner than later.” INQ