PUERTO PRINCESA - After taking the time to connect with players who will likely play for him in the future, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said he is close to finalizing the members of the national pool for the 2015 Fiba Asia men's championship.
Fresh from his trip to this city where he attended the annual PBA All-Star Weekend, Baldwin said he took the time to talk with some of the pro league’s superstars to get their “feel” on a possible stint with Gilas.
“I took the time to talk about how they feel about participating in Gilas, about the overall experience and how they see all the other players and the whole environment of what we want to create,” Baldwin told Spin.ph shortly after landing in Manila on Monday.
The American-New Zealander declined to give a hint on the likely members of the pool, saying “he’s not ready to write their names on paper yet.”
But the soft-spoken national coach said the announcement of the pool will probably take place during the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs.
“Probably, sometime during the playoffs because the announcement will be coordinated with the PBA and the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas), though the exact time is really up to them,” added Baldwin, who is also handling the Sinag Pilipinas squad that will vie in the Seaba next month and the Southeast Asian Games in June.
One thing certain, Baldwin said Gilas practice will not start until after the season-ending PBA Governors Cup, which will end in the middle of July.
Baldwin, who succeeded Chot Reyes late last year, is also keeping his options open as far as Gilas’ participation in various international tournaments are concerned in its buildup for the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in China this September.
The Fiba-Asia cage joust will serve as qualifier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“We want the end of the third conference before we have any practices, but all options (for the Gilas’ international preparation) are open right now,” he said. “We’re still putting the program together in terms of whether we’re gonna spend all or some of our time in Asia or get into Europe.”