NEW Zealand coach Paul Henare admitted feeling sorry for former mentor Tab Baldwin after slamming the door on Gilas Pilipinas’ bid in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Then again, he has a job to do.
“It’s a little bit of mixed emotions,” said the 37-year-old New Zealander when asked how he felt after the Tall Blacks dealt the Filipinos an 89-80 beating for their second straight loss, ending their dream of making it all the way to the Rio De Janeiro Games.
“I’m feeling for him right now. I do.”
Henare played for Baldwin during his time with the Tall Blacks from 2001-2006. The player and mentor enjoyed tremendous success as New Zealand made it to the Fiba World Cup twice in 2002 and 2006, while also qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Baldwin was made an honorary New Zealand citizen for the success.
Finally going up against his ‘friend and mentor,’ Henare said it was indeed, a privilege especially with so much at stake in a tournament such as the qualifiers.
“It was an honor coaching against such a great friend and mentor of mine in the international level,” he said. “I take pride at the effect of coaching against him at this level.
“But yes, I (really) feel for him.”