Baldwin explains move to put Josh Reyes in charge of Gilas in Fiba Asia Challenge Cup
Longtime Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes gets the chance to prove his worth when he leads an all-amateur national team in the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup in Iran next month. Freddie Dionisio

NATIONAL coach Tab Baldwin has expressed his full confidence in Josh Reyes amid questions on whether the young coach deserves to be put in charge of the Gilas Pilipinas team to the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup next month.

"We have confidence in Josh or else we wouldn't put him there," said Baldwin of Reyes, who has been part of the national team staff since his dad Chot's time in charge of the Gilas program.

The young Reyes was tasked to lead an all-amateur Gilas team to the September 9-18 showpiece in Iran in place of Baldwin, who is focusing on his new role as Ateneo coach with the UAAP wars just weeks away.

Judging from reactions in our comments pages, not a lot of fans agree with the appointment of Reyes, even if his fellow assistant coaches at Gilas - Alex Compton, Norman Black, Jong Uichico and Nash Racela - all are apparently unavailable to take on the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup assignment.

But for Baldwin, there's no doubt that Reyes deserves the Gilas assignment.

"Josh is a valued part of the Gilas program," said the American-New Zealander. "Josh has far more experience than people give him credit for. He's an extremely knowledgeable young coach."

"Where he doesn't have a lot of experience is in he head-coaching role but how do you get that experience if somebody doesn't put you in that role?" Baldwin added.

[See Josh Reyes helps Jayson Castro turn from pure slasher to great shooter]

Baldwin explained there has never been a question about Reyes' ability to read games, judging from the times the young coach sits beside the national coach during matches.

But by putting in charge of the national team for the first time, Reyes, Baldwin said, is given chance to grow and expand his knowledge which, in the long run, will also benefit the Gilas program.

"This is a way of strengthening what he gives to Gilas. You give him a head-coaching experience in a non-critical tournament (like the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup) - it's important but not critical - we give him now the opportunity to flesh out and strengthen his own resume, his own experience background.

"He brings his own knowledge to the role, so the great thing now is that he will be tested in the decision-making role during games.  Josh certainly reads the game, I had him next to me in many games, and he reads the game well. So now, it's a question of when the pressure is on, how is he going to perform his duties?


[See Josh Reyes says Baldwin 'swing' offense more structured than dad's dribble drive]

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph