GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin reiterated the earlier stance that height spelled a huge difference in selecting his Final 12 for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week.
Asked about the reasoning behind the surprise cuts to Calvin Abueva and LA Tenorio, the national coach said it was a tough decision that just had to be made.
“In the end, it was the twelve that was tailored for the competition,” Baldwin said on Tuesday night after the team's flight from Italy where they capped off an 18-day European training camp. “It’s not the best twelve players. It’s not the most valuable twelve players. It’s the players that we believe match what we need to do in this particular OQT.”
“And size was a huge factor,” he was quick to add. “And discipline, the ability to play cohesively and as a unit, and submit themselves to what the team is doing.”
Abueva plays both forward spots, but stands just a shade below 6’2”, while Tenorio is the smallest in the point guard rotation at 5’8”.
Baldwin also dispelled the notion that the final spot boiled down to a choice between Abueva and Gilas rookie Troy Rosario.
“It wasn’t a question of Troy over Calvin,” the national coach stressed. “It was never a question of ‘either or.’”
“All of our players are great ambassadors for the game, they’re great representatives of themselves, and their PBA teams, but they also bring their unique skill sets into the team, so we just felt the guys that we picked had the most ‘blendable’ skillsets to make the strongest team possible,” he added.