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Mikee Romero says ‘guest’ Tab Baldwin has no right to question PBA format

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NorthPort owner and deputy speaker Mikee Romero (1Pacman Partylist) is the latest among the growing list of officials and coaches to criticize the statements of Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin.

Since he’s only ‘a guest in the country’, Romero said on Sunday that Baldwin should not say anything that will distort Philippine basketball history, particularly that of Philippine Basketball Association, which is the oldest professional league in Asia.

“PBA has been very successful since the beginning so he can’t destroy our history in basketball,” said the former league chairman. “Despite this pandemic, the PBA will continue to grow and sustain its popularity among Filipinos because we love the game, we love the PBA.

“As a guest in the country, he has no right to question the format, much more the integrity of the league and its officials.”

Baldwin earned the ire of PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial when he said during a video podcast that it was a ‘big mistake’ to use just one import in the pro league, which has already a rich tradition, among them the rivalries of Crispa-Toyota; San Miguel Beer vs Alaska; and of late the Manila Clasico between Magnolia and crowd darlings Ginebra.

Marcial is scheduled to meet his technical staff today to discuss the possible penalties the league will slap on Baldwin, who is also listed as one of the assistant coaches of TNT KaTropa.

Like NLEX coach Yeng Guiao and Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines President Louie Gonzalez, Romero also took offense at Baldwin remarks, particularly the “tactical immaturity” of local coaches and that foreign players get more fouls than the locals.

“For me, it sounds like racism. While he helped steer Ateneo to UAAP championships, he’s not entitled to underestimate the capabilities of our local coaches,” said Romero

Baldwin, who steered New Zealand to the Olympics, was asked about what differentiated Philippine basketball from the rest of the world during Thursday’s episode of Coaches Unfiltered presented by SMART.

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Baldwin suggested that like the rest of the pro leagues in Asia, the PBA should have two imports. He also opined that Filipino coaches “could be much better if they were forced to coach much more, I believe.”

On the numbers of imports allowed to play, Romero backed the assertion of San Miguel Corporation sports director and former PBA coach Alfrancis Chua, saying allowing two imports to play is counterproductive to the locals.

“We have so many exciting players, so what will happen if we allow two or three imports per team? In the end, it will become boring because our locals will not be given the time to shine,” said Romero.

Romero said local coaches are doing everything they can to improve their craft, which was evident during the web seminars initiated by veteran coaches.

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