Status quo at SBP
Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin will keep his post—for now—even as his comments critical of the country’s basketball landscape caused a firestorm, leading to fines and sanctions from the PBA, while drawing the ire of his boss, SBP president Al Panlilio.“There are no changes for now, unless he says something again that won’t sit well with the SBP leadership,” SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said in Filipino during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, where he was joined by SBP director for operations Butch Antonio.
Less surprising was the mere reprimand on national team mainstays Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena. The SBP has little jurisdiction over these players since they are not part of any active national team roster, but Barrios said the two were issued verbal warnings by the federation.Caught on video
“Definitely, they were told to stop what they’re doing because that is against the rules,” Barrios said in Filipino. “It’s embarrassing.”
Go and Ravena were caught in a video circulated on social media playing a five-on-five game at a time when team sports are still not allowed under the government’s quarantine rules.In a story the Inquirer broke last Wednesday, Go and Ravena were seen in the video playing with Barangay Ginebra star Japeth Aguilar and Rain or Shine rookie Adrian Wong in a private gym in Greenhills. Aguilar and Wong were fined P20,000 each by the PBA.
Barrios said Baldwin, the Ateneo head coach, will continue to chart the course of the country’s campaign when the Philippines cohosts the Fiba World Cup with Japan and Indonesia in 2023. With the hosting privilege comes an automatic berth to the World Cup, which means the country wouldn’t have to go through an exacting qualifying tournament anymore.
But Barrios, who served as PBA commissioner from 2008 to 2010, clarified that the decision on Baldwin’s position will still depend on Panlilio.
No one is a lock
“In any given situation, nobody has a lock on a position; not me, not Butch, not anybody,” Barrios said. “As they always say, we serve at the pleasure of the president.”
Baldwin was fined P75,000 and handed a three-game suspension by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial for his comments detrimental to the league. He has since been removed from the TNT coaching staff.
Baldwin had said in a controversial podcast that the PBA’s one-import conference format is wrong, while accusing the league’s officiating as favoring imports. Baldwin also called local coaches “tactically immature.”
“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 president Al Panlilio,” Barrios said.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered team sports like basketball, Antonio said it has not stopped the SBP from preparing for the hosting of the World Cup three years from now.
Antonio also said the country will also resume preparations for the Fiba 3×3 Olympic qualifier, which has now been moved to next year in Austria, where 20 countries will vie for three berths to the Tokyo Games. INQ
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