Baldwin stays as Gilas Pilipinas program director, says SBP official

MANILA, Philippines – Tab Baldwin will remain as program director for Gilas Pilipinas even after making controversial comments about the basketball landscape in the country that earned the ire of coaches and officials. 

"Is he in danger? I do not think so," said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios in a mix of Filipino and English about Baldwin during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum. 

"Not unless he will speak out of line again," he added. 

Baldwin found himself in hot water after saying in a podcast that PBA imports who put up monster numbers are given "regulatory advantages" by the league.

He also talked about the "tactical immatury" of Filipino coaches – not being able to adopt player development systems that come from elite basketball countries. 

These comments earned Baldwin, who was a consultant for the TNT KaTropa before he was relieved by the team, a P75,000-fine from the PBA. 

Amid the issue Baldwin is embroiled in, Barrios said SBP president Al Panlilio has asked to meet the Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach to map out a plan for Gilas Pilipinas as the country hosts the 2023 FIBA World Cup. 

"President Al Panlilio in fact wants to have a video conference with him and the SBP team to address the moving forward of the program," Barrios said. 

But Barrios was quick to remind that anything could happen when it comes to leadership positions in the SBP. 

"In any given situation, nobody has a lock on position – not me, not Butch, not everybody," said Barrios, who was joined by SBP director of operations Butch Antonio in the forum. 

"As they always say, we serve at the pleasure of the president," he added. 

For now, the SBP has its sights set on continuing its 5-on-5 and 3x3 programs once it gets its hands on government guidelines detailing safety measures for basketball and football in their training return. 

Based on the schedule, Antonio said the suspended FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers will have a window in November, with Gilas Pilipinas facing Korea and Thailand in back-to-back road games. 

"Right now there is still that November window, still to be confirmed when and how. Until they say that it is actually postponed, we have to see that it is still there. We have to be aware of it," Antonio said. 

Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 will compete in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which has been moved to 2021 in Austria. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.