GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin lauded the efforts of the gold medal-winning cadets in the Seaba Stankovic Cup despite constraints in terms of manpower and preparation.
Baldwin joined the country in congratulating the cadets squad led by the coaching staff of Nash Racela, Josh Reyes, and Mike Oliver after the Philippine squad capped a sweep of the Seaba Stankovic Cup with a 97-80 win over Thailand in the final.
“I couldn’t stop tweeting last night (Saturday),” said Baldwin after Sunday’s Gilas practice at the Meralco Gym. “I was really caught up with their effort.”
The gold did not come easy for the Philippines as it nearly lost to Thailand in the preliminaries, 63-62.
The cadets prepared for just three weeks and there were players who were unavailable for the national squad. Baldwin admitted he was concerned that the Philippines might lose a game in the Seaba competition.
“I’ll be perfectly honest. I went to boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) before the Seaba when we were putting the coaches together and I told him that we can’t take this lightly. It’s going to be a tough tournament and I want everybody to lower their expectations," shared Baldwin.
“I was concerned that the Philippines may drop a game and might not win gold, and I don’t want everybody to feel like the walls have caved in because it’s going to be tough," he added.
The conditions, and his concerns, prior to the tournament only made Baldwin prouder of the team’s accomplishment.
“And then, these guys battle it out against Thailand. They really won convincingly (in the final) and I just think huge kudos to the coaching staff. What a great job coach Nash, Josh, and Mike did. The management had everything to the T, their preparation was perfect even though it was short. And we’ve got our golden cadets that we should be extremely proud off," he said.
“I’m proud of them but I think the country should be proud of them also for the effort and their sacrifices,” added Baldwin.
Despite the limitations and challenges, Baldwin doesn’t believe that changes should be made as far as the formation of the team in regional tournaments is concerned.
“Everybody has to realize that the basketball world looked so easy but there are constraints everywhere. There are scheduling and budgetary constraints for all the players. We can’t just talk the ideal and go do it because we feel like it. We have to work within the parameters that exist and the parameters for these cadets were pretty tight,” said the veteran coach.
“That to me only elevates their accomplishments,” added Baldwin.