Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin has always been hesitant when asked about when the national team will hire a full-time head coach in the build-up to the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“If we were to hire a full-time coach tomorrow, what would that coach do? I think we all have to ask ourselves that because there are no games and there’s no training for games,” he said on Coaches Unfiltered presented by SMART a year ago.
“So we would be hiring a coach to do either nothing or will interfere with what I’m doing. So my job then, if I’m a clever guy, would be to make sure that the coach hired is in absolute accordance with everything that I’m doing so that pathway would continue.”
Since the 2019 World Cup, Gilas has had three coaches.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone was the one who handled the team during the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Then in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, then-TNT consult Mark Dickel called the shots in Jakarta while SBP Coaching Academy head Jong Uichico was the head coach in Manama.
But in the Asia Cup Qualifiers so far, it’s Baldwin who has been building the roster and crafting the systems. Basically, it’s his program.
With the Qualifiers being the beginning of the country’s build-up to the 2023 Worlds, why not make the program director also be the head coach?
“It is important to understand and of course know that coach Tab Baldwin is tasked to run the program all the way to 2023. And he is just so encouraged and excited to hold these young players all the way in that direction,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio.
“Basically, the reason is that it’s his program, so it being his program, he wants to make sure that all of the adjustments will be done in accordance to his preference and he understands international play better than anyone of us or better than anyone of his coaching staff,” he continued.
“That is precisely the reason why he is so excited to take on the function.”
Serving as his assistant coaches are Uichico, Sandy Arespacochaga, Boyet Fernandez, Caloy Garcia, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano, and trainer Dex Aseron.
But Baldwin will also assess himself after the Clark window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament if he will be the one to coach in the World Cup Qualifiers and the 31st SEA Games.
“He’s looking at two tournaments and he’ll evaluate his performance and the performance of our team,” said Gregorio.
“He wants to make sure the program he set in play from the offensive complexities, defensive schemes and the chemistry he espouses will give us good basketball play.”