THE Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP) has come out to say that it is supporting the appointment of Tab Baldwin as Gilas Pilipinas head coach.
In a surprising departure from its hardline stance against the hiring of foreign coaches, BCAP, through president Chito Narvasa, said it is backing the decision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to tap the services of Baldwin as replacement for Chot Reyes.
Narvasa made it clear the BCAP is still out to protect the interest of local coaches behind a Court of Appeals ruling that bars foreigners from taking up coaching positions in the PBA which local coaches 'can competently perform.'
In fact, it was this ruling that kept Serbian Rajko Toroman (Petron and Barako Bull) and American Todd Purves (San Miguel Beer) from taking up head-coaching positions in the PBA, settling for consultant roles.
However, Narvasa said the same ruling doesn't apply to the national coaching job since it is not a permament one.
“We’ve already done our job in protecting the jobs of our local coaches, which means na kapag permanent ang position, hindi kami papayag na foreigner (ang ia-appoint),” Narvasa told Spin.ph.
“But this one (Gilas Pilipinas) is not permanent. The players are not permanent. The coaches are not permanent.”
Curiously, the BCAP in the past had opposed a plan to appoint Ron Jacobs as the national coach ahead of the 1998 Asian Games. The job eventually went to Cone.
The BCAP, Narvasa said, is fully supports the SBP leadership's bid to make the national team competitive in the international stage.
“This one is for the interest of the country. If the people in authority and the people who decide think that it’s good, then I think we should support the decision,” said Narvasa, a lawyer by profession who coached Shell and Purefoods in the PBA in the 90s.
Narvasa said Baldwin is serving the interest of the country, while pointing out Filipino coaches have also been given the chance to call the shots for the national team in the past.
“We’ve had many national team coaches along the way. Sila Chot (Reyes), Yeng (Guiao), Tim (Cone), they’ve been changed along the way. But they serve the interest of the country. I think in this case, it's serving the country and not a particular party,” said the BCAP chief.
Narvasa said Baldwin’s hiring is also beneficial for Philippine basketball through the transfer of technology.
“The knowledge that he will be going to be able to share with our Filipino basketball players ay malaking bagay sa kanila. At this point, we rather keep it as it is and support the national program,” he added.
Baldwin, an American-New Zealander, is a veteran in international competitions, having led New Zealand to a semifinal finish in the 2002 Fiba World Championship.
He also won for Lebanon the 2010 Stankovic Cup championship and led Jordan to a runner-up finish behind China during the 2011 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in Wuhan, China.
Baldwin was later hired as consultant of Gilas Pilipinas for the 2013 Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila before becoming part of the team’s coaching staff in last year’s Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.