MARCUS Douthit needed only to remind himself of how Tab Baldwin oversaw Jordan's transformation into a Fiba Asia title contender back in 2001 to know how good a tactician the new Gilas Pilipinas coach is.
The Gilas naturalized player was a witness to Baldwin's work with Jordan, which got as far as the finals of the 2011 Asian championships in Wuhan, China with the American coach calling the shots.
“He (Baldwin) had Jordan playing the best basketball they’ve ever played (in 2011),” recalled Douthit during a chat with Spin.ph. “We were playing the same team I have been playing against, but it (Jordan) was like a totally different team when he became the coach.”
In the 2011 preliminaries, the 6-10 Douthit scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Smart Gilas, then coached by Serbian Rajko Toroman, to an 82-74 victory over Baldwin and Jordan.
But in the game that mattered most in the semifinals, the Jordanians dominated the Filipinos on the way to an 85-71 win, denying Douthit and Gilas a chance to play in the gold-medal round.
Host China also went through some anxious moments before surviving Jordan’s gritty stand, 80-78, in the final.
That feat alone makes 34-year-old Douthit confident that Gilas will continue its dramatic improvement under Baldwin, who has been tasked to take over the national team from Chot Reyes.
“One thing I noticed is he’s (Baldwin) very technical. He’s very smart and he knows how to break down other teams very, very well. He finds a way to get all his players to play for him,” added the former Los Angeles Lakers’ draftee.
Now entering his fifth year of service as one of the Philippines’ naturalized players, Douthit said he’s ready to play and give his all for the national team, starting with the Southeast Asian Games in Singapore this June.