Baldwin still wants PBA players for Gilas in next Fiba window
MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas may have been dominant in the November window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers, but program director Tab Baldwin said the team can still be improved with the addition of PBA players.
Collegiate stars made up the team that traveled to Manama, Bahrain for the November window of the competition and the young nationals came away with two victories to get to the top of Group A with a 3-0 record.
Baldwin, however, believes that for the team to continue with their success an influx of tested veterans from the PBA is always needed.
“We’re hoping to have the same access to the same pool of players, and if we can extend that to other players, including the possibility of Ange Kouame getting his naturalization, that would be great as well,” said Baldwin in an interview with Coaches Unfiltered podcast Thursday.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas could not get PBA players to play for the national team in Bahrain as the league held its own bubble for the Philippine Cup.
June Mar Fajardo, the only six-time PBA MVP, wasn’t in the bubble but he’s still recovering from his nasty leg injury that kept him from joining San Miguel in Clark.
“We are planning and obviously we have to talk to all of our partners who are involved in the basketball landscape — the PBA, the SBP, and our bosses, and all of the college teams, too. But until all the bosses can sit down, we don’t know,” said Baldwin.
Players like Fajardo, Poy Erram, Raymond Almazan, and Japeth Aguilar have been staple bigs for Gilas but without them the team relied on young stars Isaac Go and Justine Baltazar to hold down the paint.
“I think there were guys in the last window in February, and hopefully most if not all will be interested to be available again, but I’m just gonna wait and see who’s available, and then we’ll make some decisions on who we would like to bring in,”
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