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Tiebreaker Times

2016 Manila OQT

The process continues for Baldwin, Gilas Pilipinas

There was an insurmountable amount of pressure for Gilas Pilipinas to have a good showing in the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament as the Philippines hosted the tournament.

In another troublesome build-up to the tournament early this year, the national team only started full practice two months prior to the tournament while attendance for the early sessions were inconsistent to say the least.

Even with these circumstances, the fourth iteration of Gilas Pilipinas were able to compete against the fifth-ranked team in the world France and world number 21 New Zealand. However, moral victories don’t count. Gilas Pilipinas lost both games in the group phase of the tournament to end the country’s Olympic hopes in the sport of basketball.

“I think that process is on-going,” Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin reflected about the national team’s two-game run in the tournament. “We competed well in this tournament.”

“But we don’t expect to just compete, we expect to win. We have to sit back and we need to try and fix it again.”

On a world-view standpoint, Baldwin saw a lot of positives with the opportunity given to the Philippines to host this prestigious tournament.FIBA-OQT-Day-1-Philippines-vs.-France-Ray-Parks-Terrence-Romeo-6659 The process continues for Baldwin, Gilas Pilipinas 2016 Manila OQT Basketball News Philippines  - philippine sports news

“There’s positives for all of us individually in that we had unique experiences this year with the program that we ran and the opportunity to play here in Manila,” the 58 year old mentor shared. “That’s a big positive for the SBP, the Filipino fans, and for us as well.”

“That’s a memory that we will keep with us forever. It was phenomenal.”

But in the case of the Gilas program itself, the Kiwi admitted that this is still an on-going process. “It’s a positive that we get this competitive experience for Filipino basketball players but it’s also an eye-opener for us that we need more of this if we expect to be successful at this level,” he said.

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He then stressed that being competitive could only lead the program so far but reforms are needed to take Gilas Pilipinas to the next level. “Now, it’s about figuring how we get the personnel and how to get that experience,” he stressed.FIBA-OQT-Day-2-Philippines-vs.-New-Zealand-Romeo-7596 The process continues for Baldwin, Gilas Pilipinas 2016 Manila OQT Basketball News Philippines  - philippine sports news

He cited that New Zealand and majority of the European teams have a rigged series of tune-ups to prepare for the international tournaments. “It is difficult on these guys if you could only play in games like these a few times year,” the former head coach of the New Zealand national team shared. “When you look at New Zealand’s build-up, they had 10 or 12 for preparation. I think we only had five. For the Europeans, this is their life”

Baldwin believes that the losses, the heartbreaks, and the challenges will only make the program stronger.

“This is the pathway. Trust me, there’s no other pathway.”

“If we want to start winning at this level, we got to take more beatings at this level to learn how to win at this level,” Baldwin closed.

Gilas will need to fight another day.

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