MORE than his vast international coaching experience, new Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, according to Purefoods forward Marc Pingris, brings out the best in him.
Pingris recalls how Baldwin readily motivated him during the national team’s stints in the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea as consultant to former head coach Chot Reyes.
“Pinapa-alala niya kasi sa akin na kahit kulang ako sa height, kaya ko depensahan yung mas malalaki sa akin,” the 33-year-old pride of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan said.
Baldwin was formally introduced Tuesday night as the new coach of Gilas Pilipinas, succeeding Reyes. His term officially starts on Jan. 1.
Pingris gamely endorsed the appointment of Baldwin as he said the American-New Zealander’s wealth of knowledge and experience can greatly benefit Gilas.
“Si coach Tab, very experienced coach na iyan kasi nakapasok na siya sa Fiba World Cup as coach at kilala na niya ang mga players and even coaches na naglalaro dun,” Pingris told Spin.ph.
This early the 6-foot-5 Pingris said he’s grateful to have known the 56-year-old coach up close and personal during his time with Gilas.
Baldwin served as Reyes’ consultant with Gilas for the past two years, starting with the 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s basketball championships held in Manila where the Filipinos placed runner-up behind champion Iran.
“Strikto si coach sa play kasi kapag bibigyan ka niya ng instruction, kailangan gampanan mo talaga yun. And marami rin siyang mga little things na napin-point out sa akin na naka-tulong sa akin sa Gilas,” noted the former PSBA standout.
But more than just coaching skills, Baldwin will be bringing in to Gilas his ability to connect with the players, which what makes him a standout.
“Mabait na coach si coach Tab. Di siya kagaya ng ibang foreign coaches na di masyado nakikipagkuwentuhan ng mga personal na bagay kasi siya marunong makisama,” he said.
Baldwin is best remembered for steering New Zealand to a semifinal stint in the 2002 Fiba World Cup in Indianapolis, USA.
He also served as national coach of Malaysia, Lebanon, and Jordan, which he steered to a runner-up finish in the 2011 Fiba-Asia in Wuhan, China.
The Jacksonville, Florida native has been signed as Gilas coach from 2014-2018, a critical period for the team as the Filipinos vie for slots in the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2019 World Cup.