Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball Project Director Tab Baldwin should be considered as coach of the national team on a long-term basis, or up until the country’s hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
SJ Belangel – the hero in the country’s 81-78 win against archrival South Korea at the start of the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last Wednesday – said Baldwin deserves the position.
“For me yes, no hesitation,” said Belangel when asked about the possibility of Baldwin calling the shots during his appearance on The Chasedown last Saturday, June 19 on One PH channel of Cignal TV.
“As of now nakikita natin yung mga nagagawa niya for the Philippine culture of basketball. We just have to trust Coach Tab. There is nothing wrong ka pag we trust someone who knows the best for the country.”
“For me he deserves to be the coach sa future din, development ng basketball here in the Philippines,” added the 21-year-old Belangel, a 5-foot-10 guard who is set to play for Ateneo in the UAAP.
For this third edition of the qualifiers, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) appointed Baldwin as coach of Gilas after Mark Dickel coached the Nationals during Window 1 in Indonesia and coach Jong Uichico steered the team to three wins in Window 2 held in Bahrain.
Aside from beating South Korea last Wednesday, the national team also defeated Indonesia 76-51 in Group A action last Friday that improved the Filipinos’ record to 5-0 in the bubble tournament in Pampanga.
The national team completed a 3-0 sweep of Window 3 with an 82-77 win over the Koreans Sunday. Gilas has secured a spot in the Asia Cup on August 16 to 28 in Jakarta.
This is not the first time that Baldwin is coaching the Filipinos, as he held the position during the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China, and during the country’s hosting of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) back in 2016.
Also part of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching pool in Pampanga are Uichico, for Rain or Shine coach and current consultant Caloy Garcia and San Beda Red Lions mentor Boyet Fernandez.
Aside from being the project director of the Gilas men’s team, the 63-year-old Baldwin is the head coach of the Blue Eagles.