EVEN though Gilas Pilipinas has yet to name a permanent head coach, Mark Dickel said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is headed in the right direction after installing a program headed by Tab Baldwin.
The TNT active consultant said that Baldwin has what it takes to set up a program for the national team, having been part of the New Zealand squad that placed fourth in the 2002 Fiba World Championship in Indianapolis, USA.
“I was so excited to see that they gave Tab the opportunity to run the program. That’s what he did for us,” said Dickel said in a coaching webinar organized by Hoop Coaches International.
Dickel was part of that trail-blazing New Zealand team in the world championship. He said that country’s progress in the world stage didn’t come overnight and that the national players had to go through a process in order to become successful.
That is why Dickel agrees with the SBP’s direction of having a pool of players that will specifically be a part of the Gilas program.
“We went from 103rd in the world to fourth. That was in three years. And a huge part of it is that you have the players who were coming through, we all came through together, but he was our coach from Under-18, Under-20, through to the national team. He was a big reason that we had that continuity,” said Dickel.
Dickel also sees a competitive Gilas national team come the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup which the Philippines will be hosting if the SBP sticks with the Baldwin program.
“Seeing the way that the program Tab has set out, Boss Al (Panlilio), Boss Ricky (Vargas), Boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) has put out with Ryan Gregorio, I’m sure that if they can stick to that program, by 2023, there’s going to be a competitive national team.
“Tab has done it before. He knows what it takes. Who ends up being the national team coach for that, it’s not as important as making sure that all the players are all prepared and ready and experienced and know how to play a multitude of different styles because that’s what international basketball is,” said Dickel.
As to the head coaching job of the national team, Dickel said the post should go to someone who is the most qualified for the job, regardless of whether he is a local or foreigner.
Dickel’s comments came after a statement made by former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes who said that the job should go to a Filipino.
The New Zealander-Australian said he wasn’t slighted with the comments of Reyes, who incidentally is the father of one of the members of the TNT coaching staff in Josh Reyes.
“Huge respect for Chot. He was really nice to me since I’ve been here. I love Josh, his son. He has helped so much. Really good young coach.
“I saw his comments. That didn’t strike me one way or the other. This is probably a good conversation at some point. But to me, it should be more about who is the most qualified for the job.
“Surely you want to have the most qualified person whoever that is. Whether it is here or somebody from Croatia or France or Australia or wherever, surely that person should be the best applicant for the job. I don’t think it’s necessarily matters where that person is from,” said Dickel.
Dickel, a former head coach of the Albania national team, was appointed on an interim basis to coach Gilas Pilipinas with the SBP still looking for someone to replace Yeng Guiao following his resignation after the Fiba Basketball World Cup last year.
Dickel is confident that the next Gilas Pilipinas coach will be able to relate to the Filipino players in the national team whether he is a local or a foreigner.
“Coaching all around the world now, whoever that coach is whether me or somebody else, I’m sure, will be able to relate to the players and motivate the players and get them to play what they want to play,” said Dickel.