TAB Baldwin admitted he was disappointed to stand down as Gilas Pilipinas head coach but vowed his '100 percent support' for Chot Reyes in his return to the national head-coaching position.
Speaking a day after the coaching change in the national team was announced, Baldwin said he will support Reyes all the way as he slides back to the role of consultant - a role he played during Reyes' first time in charge of Gilas in 2013 and 2014.
“Chot’s got my support,” said Baldwin in an interview with reporters following Ateneo’s game in the UAAP. “It is my job to do the best I can to help him make this program as successful as it can be.”
“He’ll get a hundred percent out of me,” he said.
Baldwin felt Reyes had a “rough deal” when he was replaced as head coach following the debacle in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, considering the success of the Philippine team in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship in Manila and in the 2014 Fiba World Cup just weeks earlier.
Still, Baldwin said Reyes is also the right person for the job, based on his credentials as a basketball coach.
“I said all the way back when after the Asian Games in Korea, I thought that was a rough deal for Chot. Time doesn’t change that. Current circumstances don’t change that. But that doesn’t mean that I like giving the job up to anybody. I’m too competitive to just step aside and be happy about it."
Still, Baldwin said he holds no ill feelings towards top management over the decision to replace him.
“From my perspective, it’s disappointing every time you lose a job. But I’ve learned quite a while ago that you can’t worry about things I don’t control. I don’t control the Gilas program,” said Baldwin.
“My time with Gilas was a dream come true. The reason why is because I learned in my time here the very thing I’ve lived my whole life, that my passion matched the passion of the people of the country. That’s disappointing when that doesn’t continue,” Baldwin said.
“But having said that, I always have a belief in Chot as a coach. I’ve observed him up close two years as his consultant. He is a good basketball coach. He did a great job coaching Gilas and his record before that is outstanding.”
Baldwin said he doesn’t want to make a big fuss about the change in the coaching staff, saying he's glad to still be part of the national team program.
“I still have an opportunity to work with Gilas. I’m still part of the program. I can’t say anything other than how passionate I am about Gilas being successful. It really doesn’t matter who is at the helm. It isn’t about me or any single individual. It’s about the national team and the national program,” said Baldwin.