GILAS Pilipinas consultant Tab Baldwin said Gilas Pilipinas shouldn’t stop from where it left off and encouraged coach Chot Reyes and his staff to continue developing players who will be available to play for the national team in future international competitions.
“Going forward, Gilas must be able to tap every high quality player in the country on the shoulder to be available,” Baldwin told Spin.ph over the weekend.
He added competition for spots in the national team shouldn’t be taken lightly, but instead, it’s one that should be fierce since players will eventually carry the name of the country on its jersey.
“Competition to be a part of Gilas must be fierce and every player must aspire, and have the chance to wear 'Gilas' on their chest without exception,” he added.
The well-respected former New Zealand coach said seeing Gilas perform at a high level against powerhouse squads in the Fiba World Cup only goes to show the “dribble-drive” offense embraced by Reyes can be used with great effectiveness in the world championships.
Best remembered for steering the New Zealand Tall Blacks national squad to the 2001 Fiba World Cup semifinals, Baldwin also cited the great amount of respect the Philippines gained worldwide for showing its fighting heart in the five games it played in the group stage.
“I have many coaching friends from my time at this level and, to a man, they are amazed by the performances, the toughness, skill, and mostly, the `puso’ of our Gilas team,” Baldwin said proudly.
“We have blown away the expectations of every single basketball expert from every corner of the globe,” he added.
The 55-year-old Baldwin also credited the players for refusing to give up even though frustration was mounting, especially after losing three of its first four games in the tournament by a mere average of 3.6 points.
“I want to thank the players for their willingness to learn, to work, and to persevere when the level of frustration of being so close was really mounting up. The team deserved better than one win, but we are thrilled that we are able to take this one win away from this experience,” said Baldwin.
Gilas opened the tournament with a strong performance, forcing Croatia to an extra five minutes, before dropping a close 81-78 decision.
After Gilas’ 70-82 loss to Greece, the national squad led for almost three-fourths of the way against Luis Scola and Argentina, before yielding an, 85-81 setback.