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    COLUMN: Sadly, the only math Tab Baldwin seems to know is division

    Jun 14, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
    spin zone

    CHICAGO - I'm a cereal killer. That's what I do each morning, wolf down a big breakfast.

    But a SPIN.ph headline left a bad taste in my mouth two days ago when a foreigner inflicted verbal assault and battery on people and institutions that we hold dear in the Philippines.

    Filipinos love free speech. We embrace and encourage it. And that is why the anti-terrorism bill, viewed as a law to muzzle dissenting voices, was met with stifling resistance by many of our brethren.

    That being said, I'm not upset that Tab Baldwin had verbal diarrhea and soiled on the hospitality carpet that the Philippines laid in front of him when he washed on our shores a couple years ago.

    His criticisms were not necessarily wrong, but the tenor and timing were inexplicably horrible coming from a leader of a Jesuit-owned university that espouses, among many other virtues, the value of camaraderie.

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    Sadly, it seems like the only math Baldwin knows is division.

    Which is why PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua and NLEX coach Yeng Guiao have all come out roaring with righteous indignation.

    The PBA is dealing with many issues.

    Attendance is dwindling. The Beermen's fistic intramurals that torpedoed their grand slam hopes left a black eye. And Calvin Abueva's ongoing suspension is percolating social media.

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    Now is not the time for Baldwin to blindside the league with accusations of being flawed and practicing a double standard while officiating imports. Not now when the PBA is bleeding P1 million a day in lost revenue due to the pandemic.

    Again. Baldwin saying so isn't wrong. It's just not prudent.

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    In recent months, the FIBA has tortured us with rejection and painful losses. We couldn't get Jordan Clarkson eligible to suit up for a Gilas team that wet the bed and finished last among 32 teams at the World Cup.

    We need some healing, not more agony by labeling FIBA's eligibility rule as "criminal." In case Baldwin doesn't know, one of his employers - MVP - had worked tirelessly over the years to build goodwill with basketball's international governing body.

    I wonder what MVP feels about an employee's tirades that would potentially undercut his efforts with FIBA? I'd like to be that fly in the wall during this tycoon's office meeting.

    Baldwin may be right to say local coaches are "tactically immature." This is probably why Norman Black, Tim Cone and a slew of other foreigners have jobs in the PBA. But some words, even if true, are better left unsaid.

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    It's not tactical. It's simply called tact.

    I'm just curious, does Baldwin know that one of those "immature" coaches that got included in the lump sum look down is Bong Ravena, the father of the kid who helped him win titles at the UAAP?

    How can he now look those guys in the eye?

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    With his gigs at Ateneo, TnT and SBP, Baldwin is in more payrolls than a flying voter. And while he can afford whatever fine the PBA levies on him, I think he can do better than a reported P75,000 mea culpa.

    If the act of feeling humbled isn't so beneath him, I suggest he apologize.

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      I once worked PR for a governor and a mayor in Cebu. I know a little about putting off fires, big and small.

      An apology is not always an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Sometimes it's just saying you meant no harm. Heck, it may not even be accepted by the aggrieved parties, but apologizing deescalates whatever friction hangs in the air.

      His brutal, unfiltered honesty may have come across as arrogant, irreverent and almighty, but at the end of the day, Tab Baldwin is a good guy and definitely a plus in the Philippine coaching community.

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      He belongs among us Filipinos. He just needs to work on getting along with his coaching peers.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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