GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said he is proud of the effort put in by the 'developmental team' that went to the Fiba Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran that so far only has a win to show in five matches.
Baldwin said a national squad made up exclusively of former college standouts in the absence of PBA players did what was expected of it in the continental competition, which is to put in the effort and whole lot of fight.
“I’m proud of the effort they put in,” said Baldwin on Wednesday following Ateneo’s win over Far Eastern University in the UAAP. “I’m proud that they won. I’m proud that they showed effort, desire, and puso the whole time. That’s what we asked from them.”
The Philippines failed to reach the playoff round of the Fiba Asia Challenge after winding up with a 1-4 win-loss record at the end of the second round after a 105-119 loss to Jordan on Wednesday.
The Filipinos, whose lone win came at the expense of Kazakhstan, ended up in the classification round.
Baldwin reiterated that expecting a better result from this year’s team is “unrealistic” since the squad was put together with one thing in mind, which was to develop the young players that could potentially be the future members of Gilas.
“To those people that want a different result, it’s unrealistic,” Baldwin said. “Wel said that before they went (to Iran). We are consistent in saying that now after the fact.”
Baldwin added Gilas had no recourse but to form a developmental team since the best players of the country were unavailable.
“We knew full well what we are going into. This is a developmental exercise and it’s never ideal to have a national team that is a developmental exercise. But what options do we have?” said Baldwin.
“We weren’t going to get PBA players. Some of the kids we believe have the potential to be the future of Gilas, so it is important they got experience,” he said.
Amid the frustration from fans, Baldwin said people should understand the process the team is going through.
“Anybody else that is commenting on it outside, those comments never asked us what the whole experience was all about this year. People should learn and understand what the exercise is before you make comments about it. Everybody would like better results but nobody more than the players. Nobody wants results more than the players,” said Baldwin.
In closing, Baldwin lauded the Gilas 5.0 for showing courage despite the lack of experience.
“We understand what they are going into and they showed a lot of courage going in there and doing what they did,” said Baldwin.
“They are a bunch of inexperienced players that I thought played extremely hard. I thought they grew and learned as they went through the tournament. That’s exactly what we sent them there for.
“Now they come home more seasoned players. Now they understand what it is like. We are going to be better from that,” Baldwin said.