Tab Baldwin seen as candidate as SBP open to hiring a foreign coach for Gilas
Tab Baldwin acted as Gilas consultant during last year's Fiba Asia championships as well as in the 2014 Fiba World Cup and the Incheon Asian Games. He is currently part of the Talk 'N Text coaching staff. Jerome Ascano

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said it is open to the possibility of hiring a foreign coach once again to lead Gilas Pilpinas, with the search for the coach of the national basketball team now back on.

Executive director Sonny Barrios said the national basketball body is open to the option, although he said SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan prefers a local mentor.

“We’re open,” Barrios said on Friday in the Online Media Group Forum at Country Spice restaurant in Quezon City. “But frankly, Mr. Pangilinan always wants a Filipino presence, if not a Filipino as the head coach.”

“But ang kalakaran ngayon sa international, you get the best minds you can get,” he was quick to add.

Rajko Toroman was the last foreign coach at the helm of Gilas before being replaced by Chot Reyes back in 2012. The Serbian is now the head coach of the Jordanian national team.

[See Is there a chance for Chot Reyes to be reappointed as Gilas coach? SBP responds]

One name getting a  lot of mention is Thomas Anthony 'Tab' Baldwin, who has acted as consultant for Gilas since last year's Fiba-Asia championships where the Philippines finished runner-up to Iran.

Barrios admitted Baldwin, who is in the country as part of the Talk 'N Text coaching staff, could be part of the shortlist of candidates that the SBP will consider for the Gilas coaching job.

“Hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman na nandyan si Tab Baldwin ngayon na maganda ang experience.”

[See Defiant Reyes says he has SBP leaders' assurance that Gilas program not disbanded]

Baldwin, 56, is an American-New Zealander who had been a national coach for three countries, including his native New Zealand, which he led to an impressive fourth-place finish in the Fiba World Championships in 2002.

He also handled the national teams of Jordan and Lebanon.

While he declined to rate Baldwin’s chances of becoming the Gilas coach, Barrios believes the concurrent Talk ‘N Text consultant in the PBA could be part of the shortlist of candidates.

“I don’t want to say he has a good chance or he has a chance. He’s part of the mix. I’d like to think he’ll be part of the shortlist.”

“Kasi pwede naman ang shortlist ang ipanganak niyan, hindi lang naman the head coach, baka ipanganak niyan yung coaching staff.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos