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Willie Marcial set to fine Tab Baldwin for comments detrimental to league

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that Tab Baldwin might face sanctions following his “detrimental comments” about the league in a recent podcast guesting, according to reports Friday.

The outspoken TNT KaTropa consultant aired his sentiments regarding the league’s officiating and its policies on imports in the Tiebreaker vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART last Thursday.

“Sa mga sinabi niyang detrimental comments, siguradong may fine siya,” Marcial said in an interview with the Manila Bulletin. “Pero pag-aaralan pa kung lalagyan ko ng suspension.”

In the said podcast, Baldwin — who is also the Gilas Pilipinas program director — opined that what stalls the growth of basketball here in the country is the PBA’s one-import per conference setup.

The former New Zealand Tall Blacks chief tactician added that there seems to be a double standard with regards to the officiating between the local players and the foreign reinforcements — “competitively disadvantaged”, in his own terms.

“As an industry here, we have one major, major flaw in the basketball landscape of the Philippines and it’s a regulatory flaw. And that is that in the PBA, we have three conferences, two of those conferences are a single import conference. This is a big mistake,” he said. “We should never have a single import playing on a team. Further, we should never have a single import that is given all of the rules latitudes that the imports are given here by the referees and by the administration of the PBA.

“And I do believe that it is based on the desire to have superstars as a marketing tool for the PBA. And of course, the imports that come here are some very outstanding players. And they become superstars because of their statistical performances, and so many examples and situations. So, the question that this begs to me is why aren’t these guys superstars in bigger leagues? In leagues where they could play 10 months a year and earn significantly greater salaries over the course of the year than they are in here? Why aren’t they?

“And the reason is they aren’t given the regulatory advantages by the referees that they’re given here. So, in other words, put it in layman’s terms, a foul for a PBA player for a local player isn’t a foul on an import, and the foul of an import, that same foul on a local player isn’t a foul,” he added. “So, our local players are competitively disadvantaged in their ability to compete against the import players, and this is not the case in other countries.”

For Marcial, who’s now in his third year as the league’s chief, he feel this is not the time for Baldwin to make such comments, especially at a time where the league is on hold due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sa ganitong panahon, mali ang timing ng sinasabi ni Tab. Sa panahon na’ to, ang ginagawa ng mga Governors at ng Office of the Commissioner ay parang bigyan kumpiyansa mga players, coaches, at ang PBA family para makabalik sa basketbol.”

The amiable executive added that if Baldwin had some concerns about the league and its administration, it would have been better had he directed those through TNT, whose governor is PBA chairman Ricky Vargas.

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“Pangalawa, maling avenue ‘yan sa ginagawa niya. Pwede naman niya akong kausapin. Pwede niya ako sulatan, pwede niya akong tawagan o pwede niya akong puntahan sa opisina,” said Marcial. “At pangatlo, pwede naman niyang sabihin sa head coach mo ‘yan (Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel) o kaya kay Gabby (Gabby Cui, TNT team manager) at kay Ricky Vargas na chairman namin sa PBA.

Marcial reiterated that there is no double standards whatsoever with regards to the officiating. “Wala kaming double standard sa tawagan. Kung ano ang tawag namin mula sa elimination hanggang Finals, pare-pareho tawag namin sa kahit sinong player.”

Baldwin has yet to comment on the matter.

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