Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin opened about the national team’s Southeast Asian Games campaign, which drew attention after close calls against Thailand in the semi-finals and Indonesia in the gold medal match.
While he thinks adding pros to the pool should be taken into discussion, the mentor believes the SEABA and FIBA Asia Championship is more important.
“I dont think anybody should make statements or nobody is making decisions right now. We definitely have to look at how we build our team for that competition if we want to stay on top, but personally I am more worried about SEABA. If those same teams show up in SEABA and give us a hard time, that is your spot in FIBA Asia,” he said.
“SEA Games is important for the country but we would never want to put at risk the FIBA Asia Championship because we did not take SEABA seriously.”
Baldwin mentioned the importance of continuity, as the Philippines’ ASEAN neighbors had the luxury of training for a longer period of time, contrary to the SEAG team which was handpicked recently and went to training for a few months.
“It is never enough,” Baldwin on two months of training. “The SEA Games is an example. If you play teams together for a season effectively, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, these are teams that trained together everyday for months. They are tough to beat even if you have superior talent, they get the chemistry factor.”
With the nation’s rivals already starting training camps, Baldwin says the approach should improve.
“It creates a gap. We have to do things a little bit better and smarter, and have more talent,” he added.
Asked about putting cadets on the senior’s pool Baldwin shared there is a possibility, and added the veteran core shall still make up most of the composition of the team.
“I am the like of coach who likes to expose young talent to high-caliber competition. The veteran Gilas players are in large part representative of the (pool).”
Gilas will begin training for the FIBA Asia Championship as soon as the PBA Governors’ Cup ends.