Despite clamor, Tab Baldwin ‘not expecting’ Gilas return
MANILA, Philippines—Tab Baldwin is not expecting to return to Gilas Pilipinas amid the fans’ clamor to have him back as head coach.
“I don’t speculate. If that happens, it happens and then that bridge will be something that I will look at if and when that happens,” said Baldwin, who is in Calgary, when asked about a potential return at Gilas’ helm on the YYC Athletes YouTube channel.
“But I’m not waiting for that and I’m not expecting that. The Gilas program is and it always was going to go through some tough times building up to the World Cup and they are experiencing some tough times,” he added.
Baldwin was replaced by Chot Reyes earlier this year after Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced that the American-Kiwi mentor “stepped down” from his post.
Baldwin refused to delve into the details with regard to the Gilas issue.
“The Gilas scenario and the Gilas situation is what it is. I would never go in-depth into those issues that arose. They were hurtful, they were difficult to handle. But I pride myself on being professional,” he said.
Under Baldwin, Gilas Pilipinas swept all its six games in Group A of the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers despite fielding in a young team featuring the likes of Ange Kouame, Dwight Ramos, SJ Belangel and Kai Sotto. The promising squad even beat rival South Korea twice in the tournament.
In the 2022 Asia Cup under Reyes, the Philippines only won a game at the expense of India as it ended its stint without making the quarterfinals following an 81-102 loss to Japan. It marked the first time that the Philippines missed the quarterfinals since 2007.
Despite the frustrating results for Gilas including a silver medal finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, Baldwin encouraged the Filipino fans to still support the team as he expressed his love to his former wards.
“People have got to get behind. They got to love this time with a passion. I’m not part of it now but I love it with a passion. Those players that are in that program are the guys that I have a great affinity for,” he said. “I’ve worked with most of them… All I can say is I don’t speculate about what might or might not happen, but that team and that organization are very precious to me.”
“I love the Gilas program. I’ve been in the Philippines, going into my ninth year now. For seven of those years, I’ve been a part of the Gilas program. It really is the core reason that I came to the Philippines and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it with them,” he added.
Baldwin is still grateful to be in the Philippines as head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who are eyeing redemption in the UAAP Season 85 after losing to University of the Philippines in the finals last May.
“You don’t always get what you want in life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be at Ateneo and to have the opportunities I have at Ateneo,” he said.
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