Tab Baldwin on Fajardo, Tenorio, Pingris joining Gilas pool: 'I have hopes but no expectations'
Gilas coach Tab Baldwin speaks up after the PBA endorsed 16 players for national team consideration that included the SMC trio of June Mar Fajardo, Marc Pingris and LA Tenorio. Jerome Ascano/ Jaime Campos

NATIONAL coach Tab Baldwin bared he does not expect San Miguel Corp. stars June Mar Fajardo, LA Tenorio and Marc Pingris at Gilas Pilipinas practices in the coming days, but said he's hoping that one if not all of the three will be showing up soon.

Fajardo has not yet fully committed to the Gilas 3.0 program owing to plantar fasciitis on both feet, Pingris is currently in France to grieve with his father's family after the death of his step mother's mom while Tenorio had previously begged off from consideration citing fatigue and poor form.

However, all three were part of the pool of 16 players the PBA submitted to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) for consideration on Monday.

League officials also said the three have the green light from SMC to join Gilas if they are available.

[See Fajardo, Pingris, Tenorio named to 16-man pool endorsed by PBA for Gilas consideration]

"Injuries have to heal and we have to be compassionate with people with family issues," said Baldwin. "I have no expectations (that they will be with us soon). I have hopes but I have no expectations."

Baldwin said among the three, all members of the Gilas team which saw action in the previous Gilas edition under Chot Reyes, Tenorio is the one capable of reconsidering his decision to skip the Gilas program.

"With LA, he's gotta to be comfortable to come in to the environment in the shape that he's in and the form that he has. Obviously right now, he is holding himself back. I respect that. I respect LA's decision," he said.

"I hope we can convince him to rethink that. At the end of the day, he's gonna make a decision that is best for him and I am sure the decision he makes will be best for the team as well," added the American-New Zealander.

"LA has to decide for himself which is going to be best!"

Asked about Pingris' readiness to play for Gilas as soon as he arrives from France on August 12, Baldwin was straightforward in saying he will have to assess the team that he has before considering the Star forward for inclusion.

"I think we have to see how the roster that we have goes, I think the (August) 12th (arrival of Pingris) is getting pretty late. But that doesn't close the door," he said.

"There's the possibility that I may feel that we have a need. And if I do that, then we'll welcome him," said Baldwin, who was reportedly forced to tap Calvin Abueva right after Pingris bared his July 28 to August 12 stay in Normandy, France.


Baldwin was careful on his remarks about Fajardo, who told on Saturday that his feet remained painful after a rigorous MVP season in the pro league.

[See Fajardo still unsure of Gilas participation because of painful feet]

Asked why, Baldwin said it was "because I don't know when injuries are going to heal. Injuries have to heal in their time."

The outspoken mentor said the Gilas door is still open not just for the three but for other players invited to join the pool for the team bound for the Olympic qualifier in Changsha, China next month.

"The door is open. I know the PBA is still talking to people, and where they can generate a positive response, we'll be waiting for that. If they can't then this will be the lineup," he said.

Asked until when he is open to welcoming new names to the pool, Baldwin was non-committal.

"I don't really know. The door is open now and I don't know when will I close it and I am not sure of that yet," Baldwin said.

Aside from the three San Miguel players, Rain or Shine stars Paul Lee and Jeff Chan are among those given invitations but have yet to show up for Gilas practices at the Meralco Gym.

See VIDEO of interview with Baldwin:

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