Gilas loss to Tall Blacks not part of discussion as coach Tab Baldwin meet-up with ex-player Paul Henare
Tab Baldwin shares a good laugh with former player Paul Henare, now coach of New Zealand. Jaime Campos

THERE was hardly any mention about the game between Gilas Pilipinas and New Zealand during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament when mentor and student finally sat down for a get-together after a long while.

New Zealand’s Paul Henare disclosed having met his former Tall Blacks coach Tab Baldwin when the tournament took a break on Friday. And during the course of their reunion, the two didn’t touch on the 89-80 loss Henare dealt on Baldwin’s Gilas Pilipinas team that formally ousted the host from the running for the lone Olympic berth at stake in the Manila meet.

Instead, the conversation centered on the Tall Blacks’ 86-80 loss to France the night before and some catching up about one’s lives, and on people and personalities known to them.

“I had a quick chat with him. We haven’t really sat down and talk (together),” recalled Henare of the meet-up.

The 37-year-old former Tall Black said they talked more about the team’s sorry loss to Les Bleus in a game it controlled three-fourths of the way until the French came alive and went on a scoring rampage in the fourth period.

“He also told me he thinks the day-off was good for us heading to the semis.”

Baldwin also took time from his hectic schedule to show up at the Mall of Asia Arena and watch his former team in its semifinals game against Canada. Unfortunately, the Tall Blacks lost, 78-72.

The two later talked for a while before they parted ways.

“We’re friends and we’ll always be,” stressed Henare, who played in two FIBA World Cups (2002 and 2006) and Olympics (2004) with Baldwin as his coach.

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