Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin has nothing but praises for the ‘exemplary’ work ethic being shown by the four new draftees of the men’s team.
The decorated mentor has been quite impressed with Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Jaydee Tungcab, and Tzaddy Rangel, all of which were included in the pool through the special Gilas round of the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft.
“All I can say is, they’ve come in and their work ethic is exemplary,” he told Radyo5’s Power & Play, hosted by Noli Eala Saturday.
“They are getting better.”
Baldwin lauded how good of a talent the 25-year-old Heading is, while Navarro has been an ‘immediate contributor’ to this current pool, having been a part of the team since the previous FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers window last year.
“Jordan is a talent, no question about that. Will, with his comfort with what we’re doing, is an immediate contributor,” he offered.
But what he and the coaches have really been in awe with is Tungcab, who was set to play in Japan B.League’s Div. II until the coronavirus pandemic crushed his dreams and led him to join the draft instead.
The former University of the Philippines guard, like Navarro, has been with the Nationals since the last window held in Manama, Bahrain.
“Jaydee has come in in really, really good shape. We’re all really impressed with Jaydee’s athleticism,” he said.
“He’s been contributing, and he has a future with the size he has for the point guard, combo guard position.”
Baldwin is also proud to have Rangel in Gilas’ training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
“Tzaddy Rangel was probably the outlier of the group that we brought in. And I brought Tzaddy in for specific reasons — he’s got a great work ethic,” he justified.
“He is an extremely tough guy.”
While he acknowledges the fact that the 24-year-old is still a raw talent, the former Olympic coach said that the 6-foot-8 big man brings the bruising presence similarly delivered by Raul Soyud in their previous training camp.
It could be remembered that the NLEX slotman was invited to the national team last January for the Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window, which has been postponed a few times already due to the ongoing health crisis.
“He’s raw talent-wise, but he has brought something into the bubble that we had in the last bubble through Raul Soyud. He brought in a banger’s presence, he’s brought in a real tough guy’s presence,” Baldwin said.
“Tzaddy hasn’t had much opportunity in NU and Alab. He played behind other players, so he’s coming here to prove something. And what he might lack in efficiency, he’s contributing in effort. Again, it’s a process, and we are just really happy with the four of them.”