GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin insisted he wasn’t trying fire up his team when he kicked a chair as he sued for time at the height of a Turkish run early in the second half of their tune-up game on Friday night.
After a solid first half that saw them trail by just seven points, the Filipino dribblers allowed the Turkish to score 10 unanswered points at the start of the third quarter, prompting a dismayed Baldwin to call timeout and kick a chair down.
Asked if he was trying to send his wards a message, Baldwin began with a joke.
“I saw a bug on the chair and I know some of my players are afraid of bugs, so I wanted to get rid of it,” the national coach said before turning serious. “There’s no message there. That’s me doing something I shouldn’t do.”
“I’ve become pretty good in my old age in controlling my emotions, but we wanted every situation in this game to go our way,” the 58-year-old mentor added. “I told them it was a possession-by-possession game and when we make silly plays and give up important possessions, it got under my skin a little bit.”
“But I should do a better job,” Baldwin continued. “Because who knows? One referee may call a T on me and that would be incredibly stupid. It wasn’t good on my part. Fortunately, the ref just warned me and we moved on from there.”
That flat start to the second half spelled the biggest difference that gave Turkey, ranked eighth in the world, enough cushion to withstand a late Gilas comeback and pull off an 84-76 win.
“We just can’t be behind by fourteen or fifteen to these teams,” Baldwin said. “It’s just too steep to climb back. We got to nip at these teams’ ankles for forty minutes and then hopefully we have a chance to win it in the end.”
“But I think this is a good gauge for how much we’ve improved, but there’s still a lot more work to do,” he added.