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Tab Baldwin open to being Gilas program director, but talks still ‘premature’

For the second time in six months, Tab Baldwin has been linked to the country’s national team program.

This time around, it’s on a larger scale.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas have been eyeing Baldwin — who formerly coached Gilas Pilipinas from 2014-16 — for program director. And not just for the youth program this time around — it will cover the seniors, cadets, and juniors squads.

Still, the decorated tactician revealed that though there have been talks, nothing has been set in stone yet.

“I think you can tell from the tone of boss MVP’s answers that it’s premature to talk about it. Nothing’s been formalized. I can say we’ve had discussions.”

The decision to revamp the entire Gilas program stems from the Philippines’ dismal 32nd place finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

In the wake of Yeng Guiao’s resignation, many fans have called for Baldwin to take over as head coach. The federation has then offered him a bigger role.

Baldwin, however, believes that the more urgent matter is forming a team that will dominate in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games this November.

“I think right now, the SEA Games is the priority to get that taken care of.

“And suffice it to say that everybody cares a lot within MVP’s [Manny V. Pangilinan’s] organization about what happens with Gilas. He continues to believe in the program and continues to believe in the future, and continues to invest in it,” Baldwin opined.

Right now, Baldwin’s focus is on the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ drive for a three-peat. But he says the talks will continue, since it would be an honor to be return to the Gilas Pilipinas program.

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“It’s always an honor to step up and represent your country. And I hope that we certainly talk about that. I hope that players all over the country feel that way. You guys know my history. I’ve been privileged to represent multiple countries, which I adopted in each case,” said Baldwin, who has coached the national teams of Malaysia, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Jordan before.

“It’s spine-tingling, and it should be. So I hope that for our players and for all the players that have the opportunity to wear the Philippine colors, it’s exciting, and it’s an honor.”

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