Ateneo appointment of Tab Baldwin as coach facing legal obstacle, warns Yeng Guiao
Yeng Guiao says Ateneo is bound to break a law should it push through with its plan to tap Tab Baldwin, unless the school circumvents it and names the concurrent Gilas coach a consultant and de facto coach. Jerome Ascano/ Dante Peralta  

ATENEO'S plan to name Tab Baldwin as coach of its UAAP team will face a legal hurdle once made official under the court ruling that bars foreign coaches from the country's major basketball leagues, Yeng Guiao said on Monday.

Guiao is a former president of the Basketballl Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), which several years ago won a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeals that bars foreign coaches from taking up jobs in leagues that locals can competently perform.

The fiery Rain or Shine coach said it is this same rule that kept Barako Bull and San Miguel from naming Rajko Toroman and Todd Purves as head coaches in the PBA and, closer to home, prompted University of the Philippines to drop a plan to tap Joe Ward as head coach before last season.

[Editor's note: Ateneo has officially named Baldwin as coach]

Guiao said it is this law that Ateneo is bound to break should it push through with its plan to tap Baldwin, unless the school circumvents it and names the concurrent Gilas Pilipinas coach a consultant and de facto coach.

"The law is very clear on that," Guiao, also a congressman representing the first district of Pampanga, told Spin.ph.

[See Wondering why Black, Cone can coach in PBA and Purves can't? Here's why]

Ironically, the BCAP obtained the Court of Appeals ruling in a fight against Talk 'N Text over its decision to name Bill Bayno as head coach in the PBA in the nineties. Talk 'N Text owner Manny V. Pangilinan is also the head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and top patron of Ateneo.

Guiao, who is still part of the BCAP as adviser, said it is up to the new leadership of the coaches' group to challenge Ateneo's plan to tap Baldwin once it becomes official.

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The BCAP is now headed by Barangay Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, who inherited the position which Chito Narvasa was forced to give up after being named PBA commissioner.

Asked why BCAP didn't oppose - and had in fact supported - the appointment of Baldwin as Gilas coach, Guiao said the group felt that Philippine basketball can benefit from the knowledge the American-New Zealander can impart under a 'transfer of technology' scheme.

[See Baldwin declines comment on Ateneo plan to tap him as coach]

In an earlier interview with Spin.ph, Narvasa, speaking in his capacity as BCAP coach, explained that the Court of Appeals ruling doesn't apply to the national coaching job since it is not a permanent 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 senior reporter Reuben Terrado last year.

“But this one (Gilas Pilipinas) is not permanent. The players are not permanent. The coaches are not permanent.”

[See BCAP says it is supporting appointment of Baldwin as Gilas coach]

Guiao, however, pointed out that the Ateneo situation is different since Baldwin will be taking up a job which a 'competent Filipino coach' can perform.

"We should be developing coaches in the collegiate leagues," Guiao said. "There are a lot of good Filipino coaches out there just waiting for the right break and the opportunity to shine."

To stress his point, the six-time champion coach pointed to Aldin Ayo, who led the Letran Knights to an NCAA title in his first season in charge and has since been tapped to coach De La Salle in the UAAP.

"All he needed was a break," Guiao said.

Guiao said Baldwin's case is also different from those of Norman Black and Tim Cone, who are both married to Filipinas and have long been permanent residents in the country, with all rights to take up employment.

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