NATIONAL coach Tab Baldwin is not having an easy time getting the players he wants for the next incarnation of Gilas Pilipinas amid 'brushes' with some PBA team owners, sources told Spin.ph on Saturday.
The Gilas coach is in the process of talking to all the PBA owners to sound off the players he wants for the team that will go to battle in the Fiba-Asia championships, a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Some meetings have gone well; others have not gone smoothly.
One team owner, in fact, was put off by the straight-talking American-New Zealander when the meeting touched on the players the Gilas coach is eyeing from the ballclub, the source said.
“Nung pinatawag sila boss, akala naman namin maayos magiging pag-uusap pero nauwi sa pagkapikon ni boss,” said one team official who was present in one of the meetings.
The high-ranking team official said Baldwin ended up in an argument after some of the coach's statements did not sit well with the team owner.
“He told us that if we will not lend him players, he might leak the information to the media. So what boss did was he stood up and questioned Tab if he was threatening us," said the team official.
"That’s just unfair for us. We are the ones who invest in these players,” he added. “Obviously, what irked my boss is the notion that he (Baldwin) might embarrass us before the public.
“He is only borrowing players from us. He shouldn’t demand. I thought from the very beginning that we will establish rapport when he decided to meet with us; I didn’t expect that he’ll end up arguing with us.”
As a result, the team owner is intent on lending just one from a handful of players from his team that Baldwin wants, the team official added.
“Hindi ibibigay lahat sa kanya," he said.
From his original plan to name 26 players, Baldwin, sources said, now wants to invite 32 players for the Gilas tryouts to be able to form three teams not only for the Fiba-Asia championships but also for lead-up events like the Jones Cup.
Baldwin has long submitted his wish list of players to the PBA and an announcement was expected since the end of the Commissioner's Cup. Interestingly, there has been no word from PBA officials on the lineup until now.
So far, the national coach has met with GlobalPort team owner Mikee Romero, Alaska big boss Wilfred Uytengsu, Rain or Shine co-owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que, and Blackwater president Dioceldo Sy.
Baldwin reportedly met with the team owners in the presence of PBA commissioner Chito Salud, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial and officials of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
Asked how the meetings went, Marcial didn't categorically deny friction between Baldwin and some team owners.
"May questions lang, pero okay naman in the end," he said.
Marcial, a special assistant to Salud, added Baldwin merely sounded off the team owners on the players he wants and has yet to get their commitment.
"Di pa naman humingi ng commitment," he said. "Sinabi lang ang mga players na gusto n'ya."
After the Gilas cadets' campaign in the Southeast Asian Games, Baldwin is set to have a crucial meeting with officials of the San Miguel group, which has three teams in the pro league.
The San Miguel group will be represented in the meeting by Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua and SMC head of basketball operations Robert Non.
According to sources, June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio of Ginebra, and Mark barroca and Marc Pingris of Star are on Baldwin's wish list.