FOR coaching great Tommy Manotoc, it's time for Tab Baldwin to leave the confines of the UAAP and move on to bigger things.
Like, say, the Batang Gilas program.
Reiterating his belief that letting Baldwin take on college coaches in the UAAP is an 'overkill,' Manotoc said it's high time the veteran coach moves on to the national team program where he can better serve Philippine basketball.
In a column for the Inquirer that came out on Tuesday, Manotoc said the American-New Zealander was simply in a league of his own in the UAAP where he has now led the Ateneo Blue Eagles to back-to-back championships.
Asked to expound, Manotoc, who won six titles in the PBA including a grand slam with Crispa in 1983, told SPIN.ph, "For me, it's a mismatch. It's like bringing in two NBA players and making them play in the UAAP. He's that good, he's very good."
"It's not fair for our college coaches to be going up against somebody with such pedigree, someone who's so good. College is supposed to be our training ground for our coaches," the multi-titled golfer added.
"It's an overkill, really."
Manotoc, a former deputy commissioner of the PBA and head of the national golf association, said Baldwin can serve a bigger purpose in Philippine basketball by training the country's top prospects under the Batang Gilas program.
"He's more than proven himself already. He should now be with Gilas, or at least with [Batang Gilas]. He should be training future [national] players," he said. "Baldwin wasn't brought here to coach a college team. He was brought here to coach [the national team] in the first place."
Manotoc said the two UAAP championships Baldwin won with Ateneo, including one where he led an underdog Ateneo side past Ben Mbala-led La Salle in the finals, only bolsters a career resume that also saw him lead New Zealand to the semifinals of the 2002 Fiba World Cup.
"If he wants to elevate coaching, he should train coaches, he should give clinics to coaches. He should show them how it's done," said Manotoc. "He should show [how good he is] not by coaching against them but by giving clinics and lectures."
Manotoc said he sees striking similarities between the coaching styles of Baldwin and the late Ron Jacobs, who led a national team backstopped by Hector Calma, Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic and naturalized player Jeff Moore to several titles in the eighties.
If he has misgivings with Baldwin's system, it's the coach's apparent 'dislike' for Filipino artistry or individualism, Manotoc said.
"Now my only problem is, he doesn't seem to like our individual artistry. In fairness, Ron got the best of the lot and tried to work with them. He will not. [Baldwin] is selecting the players who will just follow him.
"And when you become too robotic, we're not gonna beat [the world powers] because they're bigger and robotic. We still need our intrinsic Filipino talent [to shine]."
How about Thirdy Ravena who was one of the most athletically gifted players in the college league last season, Manotoc was asked.
"[Baldwin] will choose one or two who are really good, and then force them to play his system. But I think he will not force seven, eight good guys to play together which was what Ron Jacobs did," he said.