Limpag: Baldwin’s message

Mike T. Limpag

WITH the furor that Tab Baldwin’s comments on the PBA raised, I thought the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said truly some nasty things against Filipino coaches and the league when he spoke with Coaches Unfiltered. (Hey, the name of the show should have been a clue, right?)

But I guess two points touched the nerve of the coaches and the league, when he he said the Filipino coaches are unaware of tactical advancements in Europe and that the PBA’s one-import rule is to be blamed for the lack of advancement of basketball in the country.

The condemnation from the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines came swiftly. It is an insult to Filipinos they said, just as swiftly as they condemned the last second play in the Asian Games that had Marcus Douthit shooting at our own basket as an insult to Filipino basketball culture.

They didn’t? Hmmm. Funny how the association of coaches doesn’t speak out against interesting things like the shady recruitment practices in some colleges but is quick to voice out when it’s their old boys’ club that gets threatened.

I don’t agree with Baldwin’s comment on the one-import rule, but as to the lack of tactical awareness, he basically refined what most basketball fans in the country say when they gather with friends over a few drinks during a PBA final. Pre-Covid, of course.

And don’t the PBA coaches themselves say that these days, the style of play in the PBA isn’t suited for the international game? It’s what most casual observers of the game say too about the league. That it’s for entertainment, not development. I mean, we all laughed at how we were proven right during that string of Game 7s a decade back, though that hasn’t happened again.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also missed Baldwin’s point when he countered that it is the importers themselves who have most complaints about officiating. Baldwin said importers are treated differently and that fouls that would be normally called for or against locals aren’t when committed by or on imports. Marcial’s reaction proved Baldwin right.

I don’t agree with Baldwin’s stand regarding imports though. I think we should do away with them altogether and give the import slot to a local or a local as defined by the PBA.

With live games still a long way off and most media outfit resorting to talk shows to generate content, I think it would be better for the league to either just get on with the program or just issue guidelines to its coaches about what it can or cannot say in talk shows.