Gold or bust.
That’s what newly-installed coach Tab Baldwin wants for Gilas Pilipinas in next year’s FIBA Asia Championship.
A gold medal finish isn’t too much to ask as the team finished runner-up to Iran in last year’s event in Manila. This also means that a gold medal finish would send the Philippines back to the Olympics for the first time since 1972.
“I want to see Gilas Pilipinas in Rio. I want to see us going to the Olympics. I want to see gold medals around our necks in the FIBA Asia Championship. Those are the primary goals,” Baldwin said during the formal announcement confirming his appointment to succeed head coach Chot Reyes.
A former head coach of the New Zealand Tall Blacks team, Baldwin was responsible for giving the squad its highest ever finish in the World Championship – a fourth place finish in 2002.
It was also Baldwin who helped Lebanon in winning the gold medal in the 2010 Stankovic Cup.
Over the past two years, Baldwin has played a big part in Gilas Pilipinas’ progress. He was one of those who helped out in the team’s silver medal finish in the FIBA Asia Championship last year and also a key figure in the country’s return to the world basketball scene.
The Philippines qualified for the World Cup for the first time since playing in the 1974 Games in Puerto Rico.
For Baldwin, his intention is to bring in the best selection of players available to play in the national squad.
“We hope to get the best players available out there,” he added.