THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) selection committee has narrowed down the candidates for the Gilas Pilipinas coaching job to two names following its meeting on Wednesday.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said the committee originally had six names on its list but eventually brought the number down to two, the identities of which he declined to divulge for the moment pending an interview the final candidates will undergo next week.
However, Spin.ph has learned that the two remaining candidates are former Gilas consultant Tab Baldwin and former Purefoods and Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
“We decided to inform them (final two candidates) first before we tell the media. Kailangang masabihan muna namin sila sa short list before sabihin sa public,” Barrios told mediamen during a press briefing at the media room of the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.
While the SBP remained mum on the names of the candidates, sources said the four who were dropped included PBA coaches Tim Cone of Purefoods Star, Norman Black of Meralco, Jong Uichico of Talk ‘N Text and Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine.
Barrios said the decision to narrow down the names to two had a lot to do with the ”must-have” and “preferred” set of criteria agreed upon by the selection committee, which was recently approved by SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan.
The “must-have” criteria for the new Gilas national coach includes having international experience, a strong leadership and the ability to motivate players and handle the team even during adverse situations, have an impressive coaching track record and finally, must be able to handle the team in a full-time capacity.
The “preferred” criteria include the familiarity with the Gilas national program as well as being able to "pro-actively interact" with the media, the basketball community, both local and international, as well as the basketball fans in general.
From the four “must-haves” the fourth criteria disqualify the four current active PBA coaches.
“Ang full-time head coaching hindi ia-allow, pero ang consultancy okay lang 'yun. Kung as head coach of not just the PBA but any other team, even if it’s a collegiate team (it’s not allowed),” explained Barrios, a member of the five-man selection committee.”
“You have to divest yourself of that head coaching job if you are to be anointed as Gilas Pilipinas head coach.”
From the criteria, it became obvious Baldwin has the inside track on the Gilas job.
Baldwin is familiar with the Gilas national program, having entered the picture months before the national squad played in last year’s Fiba-Asia men’s basketball championships in Manila.
The 56-year-old Baldwin also served as one of former Gilas coach Chot Reyes’ consultants in this year’s Fiba World Cup in Spain as well as in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Moreover, Baldwin has handled national squads in the past, among them the New Zealand Tall Blacks, who he steered to the semifinals of the 2002 Fiba World Cup in Indianapolis, USA.
He was also in charge of Lebanon from 2010 to 2011, and Jordan from 2011 to 2012.
On the other hand, Gregorio, a three-time PBA champion coach and three-time Coach of the Year awardee, is currently free from any coaching chores in the PBA, as he now serves as as Meralco’s alternate governor. He, however, works as the assistant vice president and head of meralco sports and youth advocacy.