GILAS Pilipinas will no longer open its practices to the public starting on Monday amid concern over videos of training that found their way to social media sites.
Baldwin said Gilas practices will now be closed to fans while team staff will hold interview sessions for the media before and after each practice session so that the public can still be kept updated on the team vying in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.
“Starting tomorrow (Monday), all practices at the Meralco Gym will be closed to the public. For the media, we will have pre-practice and post-practice interview sessions,” Baldwin told mediamen after Gilas practice on Sunday.
Baldwin said they made the decision after portions of team practices began appearing on videos that spread on social media.
“I’ll be honest with you guys, a lot of videos are showing up on Twitter of pieces of our practices, whether they come from the media or whether they come from people sitting on the stands,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin said closing the practices to the public was bound to happen eventually.
“That’s the age we live in and the only way we can counter that is by removing that element from practice. It’s not an antagonistic situation. It’s a reality situation that people are sitting there, take their phones out, video things. So we don’t want those clips showing up because there might be something there that we don’t want the public to see,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin noted the importance of having closed-door practices now especially with Andray Blatche's arrival signalling the start of the most important part of Gilas' buildup for the July 5-10 showpiece.
“It’s time now that we got our team together. It’s time to restrict the flow of information of our practices. It’s always going to happen and that time has arrived,” he said.
Baldwin, however, made it clear they will still open some Gilas practices to the public at a date to be determined.
“We appreciate everybody, how they care so somewhere along the way, there will be a practice where we will open up. We will publicize that. It’s not a systems practice. It’s more on shooting.”
Baldwin hopes everybody will understand.
“Hope everybody understands. Our position is to build a team that will be successful in representing the country and we have to do it as intelligently as possible,” he said.