Calls for Tab Baldwin’s return to the Gilas Pilipinas program were loud after the team absorbed an 88-63 loss to New Zealand on Sunday.
On social media platform Twitter alone, tweets of “Tab Baldwin” were coming at a furious rate of 80 tweets since the game ended.
According to Tiebreaker Times reporter Lorenzo Del Carmen, even the fans at the venue were chanting “We want Baldwin” and “Ibalik si Baldwin” as early as late in the third canto of the game.
The game between Gilas and the Tall Blacks was seen as the litmus test by fans on the program moving forward.
This after Baldwin was replaced by Chot Reyes last January 31 after the American-Kiwi asked the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas if he could skip this window.
The SBP ended up replacing Baldwin for Reyes, citing that the Ateneo mentor was focused on the UAAP.
During his time last year in Gilas, Baldwin went 6-2 for the national team with both losses coming from world-ranked teams Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.
Gilas lost to Serbia, 76-83, and to the Dominican Republic, 67-94.
In two games in the World Cup Qualifiers, Gilas defeated India 88-64 while falling to New Zealand.
Moreover, Reyes only had less than 20 days to guide this team for the window, making a makeshift team composed of TNT players, a couple of B.League players, and the cadets just to survive this window.
Reyes is set to have a meeting with the Philippine Basketball Association on what’s next for the program that has the Southeast Asian Games, the third window of the WCQ, the Asia Cup, and the Asian Games next.
“First of all, we have to meet with the PBA to synchronize calendars,” he said. “We’re looking now at the Southeast Asian Games. I don’t think we’ll have any of the collegiate players because I think the UAAP will end on May 12 at the earliest and May 19 at the latest. The Southeast Asian Games, if I’m not mistaken is May 12 so I don’t think we’ll have the UAAP players at our disposal.
“That’s another thing to take into consideration; who are the players who are going to be available? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question because we have to sit down and actually craft the plans.”