CIGNAL-ATENEO coach Tab Baldwin has big things in mind for Isaac Go.
From the Philippine Collegiate Champions League to the PBA D-League, the American-Kiwi mentor has been vocal in his dream to turn the Blue Eagles slotman into a world-class stretch forward.
"We want him to be an international four-man," said Baldwin. "He's gonna shoot the ball better this year I think, but he's gonna do other things as well. We're working on his inside game and we're working on his ability to put it on the floor."
Go has made the most of the opportunities given him with the Blue Eagles, and once again showed glimpses of that on Thursday as he steered his side to a 103-75 season-opening win over Go for Gold-CSB.
The 6-foot-8 slotman went 4-of-6 from downtown to pour in 21 points while grabbing four rebounds, much to the delight of Baldwin.
Go is understandably overwhelmed by his coach's plans for him. But he's ready for the challenge, more so if it will bring him closer to the chance to represent the country in the international stage in the near future.
"I think that was the goal ever since, but I think it's being sped up now because we have Ange (Kouame) playing the five which gives me a lot more time to play at the four. And I think there's always been a part of me to play the four because we knew eventually that me going up against 7-footers is not ideal," he said.
As tough as the road is, Go is willing to put in the work, as was the case in the three years that Baldwin has handled him in Katipunan.
"It's a challenge," he said. "I think the first step was being included in the 23-for-2023 (cadets program), but as you see, a 6-8 center isn't really gonna perform well unless you're really athletic and really strong."
"There's already a lot of seven-footers like June Mar (Fajardo), Greg (Slaughter), Kai (Sotto), Japeth (Aguilar), Andray Blatche, Christian Standhardinger. So the goal would be to try to get taller in the four or maybe the three spots.
It's a challenge, but the goal is to play of course for the Philippines, and if that's my way to do it, I'll have to get better."
And that's just the kind of attitude Baldwin wants to hear from his players, especially from Go.
"He's got a long way to go. He's got a lot of mobility and agility to work on and he's gotta get better defending the perimeter, he's gotta get better putting the ball down on the perimeter," he said.
"There's a lot of work in progress, but he can shoot the ball and that's a good asset for us. But there's more to his game that we have to work on and develop."