THE man who oversees San Miguel Corporation's (SMC) involvement in sports rued that it was both wrong timing and in poor taste for former Gilas Plipinas coach Tab Baldwin to issue comments critical of how the PBA is being run.
SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua said Baldwin’s scathing remarks about PBA officiating, coaching, and its one import-conference format are the last things the league needs at this time when it is trying to get back on its feet after being knocked down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The concurrent Barangay Ginebra governor added there’s a proper venue for Baldwin to air his grievances if he’s really after the welfare of the league.
Baldwin, the current project director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and head coach of the Ateneo men’s basketball team, was guest in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast on Thursday where he opened up about his views on the way things are being run in the PBA.
Among other things, Baldwin said the one-import format of the league stunts the growth of the game, especially with the "rules latitude that the imports are given by the referees and by the administration of the PBA."
“Kung may suggestion siya, that’s not the proper way. Sabihin niya sa governor (niya) to relay it sa PBA office. I-suggest mo ng maganda. Hindi yung babanatan niya 'yung PBA,” Chua said of Baldwin.
Ironically, Baldwin is part of the TnT Katropa family in the league as consultant and assistant coach. Its governor, Ricky Vargas, serves as chairman of the PBA Board.
“Huwag niya sanang tirahin ang PBA sa panahon ngayon. Gusto nga nating makabalik na e, tapos ganyan ang sasabihin niya.”
The former coach turned executive didn’t mince any words answering the issues raised by Baldwin, who coached the national teams of New Zealand, Malaysia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece before coming to the Philippines, first as consultant in 2013 and later its national coach.
Chua said hiring two to three imports to raise the level of competition in the 45-year-old league, as Baldwin suggested, would further deny Filipino players the needed exposure to develop their games and gain confidence.
“Tatlong imports? E di hindi na nakalaro yung mga locals. Ilan ba ang average minutes ng mga imports?” Chua pointed out. “Paano yung iba ang rotation siyam or sampung players lang, e kung tatlo pa yung imports mo, alangan namang hindi mo gamitin yung mga yun (imports).”
"Yung isang import nga hindi nila ma-control, tatlo pa."
At the same time, Chua said Baldwin’s suggestion is ill-timed.
“Nagtitipid nga ngayon dahil walang liga tapos gusto niya tatlong imports pa,” said the Ginebra official.
Chua also stressed imports are not being favored by the referees as Baldwin alleged, saying they are merely given a little leeway compared to local players with what he referred to as ‘regulatory advantages.’
“Pinapaboran daw ang imports? E di sana walang napa-foul out na imports,” Chua said. “Pare-pareho lang naman sa tingin ko. Pero para i-counter judge niya sa ganun ang mga Filipino, parang hindi naman yata tama.”
As to the ‘tactical immaturity’ of local coaches that Baldwin claimed, Chua asked how come Baldwin’s team in the PBA has yet to win a championship since he came on board.
“If he’s thinking that PBA coaches are immature, e, sana tinalo niya,” Chua said. “Siguro kaya siya napunta sa amateur kasi walang nangyari dito sa pro.”
At the same time, Chua said Baldwin should have taken into consideration SBP president Al S. Panlilio’s initiative to work hand-in-hand with FIBA before he criticized the rule requiring a player to acquire the passport or citizenship of a country he represents in a FIBA competition before turning 16 regardless of blood line.
“Hirap na hirap na nga mag-adjust (Panlilio) at gumagawa ng paraan for PBA to adjust sa FIBA competitions, tapos magsasalita siya ng ganun,” said Chua. “Sariling boss niya yun, hindi niya nire-respeto.”
In a way, such comments, according to Chua, are a knock on the entire PBA community.
“Anong tingin niya sa group ng Commissioner’s (Office) at ng Board of Governors, walang pina-plano?” he said.
Baldwin should have known better, added the high-ranking SMC official.
“Ang tama diyan, kausapin niya si chairman (Vargas). ‘Sabihin niya, 'Chairman, can I meet with the governors because I have some suggestions?’ That’s the proper way. Ganun dapat.”