ASIDE from trying to secure gold medals, Tab Baldwin sees his coaching stints in the Southeast Games and Seaba tournaments as a good way to ease back into coaching after being away for so long.
Baldwin hasn’t called the shots for a team since last July when he was still with New Zealand club Hawke’s Bay Hawks, settling to a consultant role at Gilas Pilipinas behind Chot Reyes as well at Talk 'N Text in the PBA with Jong Uichico.
After being named to replace Reyes as Gilas head coach, he was also assigned to handle the all-amateur Philippine team to the Seaba and SEA Games - one of the rare times that one coach is handling the two sides.
“It’s really a non-story. I’m coaching the Seaba and SEA Games teams because I need to coach. I need to stay active,” said Baldwin.
The Seaba championship will be from April 27 to May 4 and serves as a qualifier to the Fiba-Asia Championship, while the SEA Games will be from June 5 to 16 in Singapore.
Determined to shake off the rust before handling the Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba-Asia Championship this year, Baldwin said he needs to immerse himself in the coaching environment again.
“It’s kinda selfish but at the same time, when I took the job as coach of Gilas, I have been out of coaching for a year,” said Baldwin.
“It has been last July that I’ve been at the sidelines as the head coach. It’s like anything else. You need to practice your task and your profession well. And I need to work. I want to get in there and prepare the team and coach the game."
Baldwin said he expects handling an amateur-laden Philippine team this year as a one-and-done job, saying that a lot of Filipino coaches can get the job done.
“We have plenty of good coaches and I would expect that probably next year, I might not do it again,” said Baldwin.
But Baldwin stressed that the main goal is still to win the Seaba and SEA Games gold medals.
“We want to win the gold and get along with business,” Baldwin said. “We are not sending Gilas. We are sending a second-tier team of younger players for them to get good experience. But we are not going there to get experience. We want to win the gold.”
Although the Philippines has been a power in Southeast Asia, Baldwin said they don’t want to take any team lightly.
“This is international basketball and it is a tough arena to compete in. I know I’m very comfortable there but we need to have the players comfortable and the fact that we play for national pride and it means a little bit more,” said Baldwin.