By Jonas Terrado
Tab Baldwin gave assurance Gilas Pilipinas will remain busy even after the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
The Gilas program director said that the seven players under the permanent pool will participate in full-time training under Alex Compton, who is currently part of interim mentor Mark Dickel’s staff along with Sandy Arespacochaga and Topex Robinson.
“The plan is for them to go on a full-time training,” Baldwin said after a recent Gilas practice. “They will work with coach Alex primarily at this point. We’re still looking to bring in a European coach. The other Gilas coaches, including Mark and myself, will join practices and work with coach Alex whenever we can.”
Gilas also continues to negotiate with Nenad Trunic, whose name has surfaced as a strong candidate to take over the national team coaching duties on a permanent basis.
Trunic, a native of Serbia, was once listed in FIBA’s official website as one of Dickel’s assistants for the current window which will see Gilas take on Indonesia this Sunday in Jakarta.
“He fits that profile exceptionally well,” Baldwin acknowledged. “We’re still talking to him. It’s a negotiation moving on its own pace. I don’t know if he will, ultimately be the guy. But if it’s not him, we’d like somebody like him.
“He has a history of player development and he has a very deep and intimate understanding of the international, European game,” he added.
Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, twins Matt and Mike Nieto and Allyn Bulanadi, who were selected in a special round of the PBA Draft, former Ateneo star Thirdy Ravena and Jaydee Tungcab are currently part of the Gilas pool formed as part of the early buildup for the country’s hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“The goal is to develop international basketball players. So it’s not really to develop a team at this point,” said Baldwin.
“This is where we want to get the European influence at. We expect that there will be international components to the training, at this point, probably in the US. So we’ll have more information and more detail about that after the window.”