DESPITE run-in he had with former PBA MVP Arwind Santos, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin still considers the San Miguel forward a special talent who can bring a lot of positives to the national team.
“Arwind is a fine basketball player, an excellent competitor,” said Baldwin in describing the lanky Beerman. “He ticks the boxes when it comes to being a competitor and I like some of the things he would offer to the national team.”
Still, Baldwin, 56, stayed mum on whether he’s considering the former Far Eastern University star for inclusion in the initial list of 25 players who will comprise the Gilas national pool for the coming Fiba Asia Men’s Championship to be held in China later this year.
“I’m not gonna sit here now and said he’s (Santos) in the pool or out of the pool. No, the answer is the same as it would be with the other person you identified,” said the American-New Zealander, who succeeded Chot Reyes as the man at the helm of Gilas.
Baldwin and Santos had an endgame confrontation two months ago during Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinal between San Miguel and Talk ‘N Text following a ‘garbage-time’ dunk which Arwind executed late in San Miguel’s 100-87 win.
The veteran mentor felt slighted by the move as the Tropang Texters were at the losing end of 4-0 sweep in the best-of-seven series.
Baldwin admitted he 'didn't like' Santos' endgame dunk, but said the incident was ‘blown out of proportion.’
“I addressed it with him and his answer was perfect. His answer, ‘Sorry coach, I was just caught up with the moment for the fans.’ That’s understandable to me. I don’t like it, but really, who gives a damn on what I like, to be honest. He has every right to do anything he wants to do as I had every right to question,” explained Baldwin.
The moment he heard Santos’ side, Baldwin said he was quick to let the incident pass.
“His answer was completely satisfactory and the whole incident ended there. It bore no further comment as far as I’m concerned,” he stressed.