SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio distanced himself and the cage body from comments made by former Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin that sparked an uproar from PBA officials and league coaches.
"Whatever he (Baldwin) said was his own opinion and doesn’t align with how the SBP thinks and doesn’t align with what I think,” Panlilio told the Inquirer.
Panlilio said he was disappointed with controversial comments made by Baldwin that branded Fiba's eligibility rules 'criminal,' PBA coaches 'tactically immature,' and the pro league's one-import conference format a 'big mistake.'
Baldwin, concurrently the coach of Ateneo in the UAAP and project director of the SBP tasked with overseeing the formation and preparation of the 2023 Fiba World Cup team, also claimed PBA referees give imports 'regulatory advantages.'
The American-New Zealander spoke to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on Monday, saying his comments were 'taken out of context.'
Panlilio said he already talked with Baldwin, expressing the fear that his comments may cause a rift between Fiba and SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan, who is a member of the world basketball body's all-powerful central board.
"I also told him that I am also a governor of the PBA like Ricky [Vargas] of TNT and Rod [Franco] of NLEX (both executives in the MVP Group of Companies), and we are doing our best to make the league the best that it could be,” Panlilio told the Inquirer.
The concurrent Meralco governor in the PBA also made it clear he doesn't share Baldwin's comments about local coaches, saying, “I just wish he just helped out and not be the one causing issues and problems that we always have to clean up."