THE punishment from the PBA came swiftly. Just days after Tab Baldwin's comments regarding the PBA and its coaches stirred controversial reactions from the league and the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), the former Gilas Pilipinas coach was handed a three-game suspension and a P75,000 fine from his other job as a assistant coach for Talk N Text in the PBA.
The BCAP was angered after Baldwin said Philippine coaches are immature, and their reaction sort of proved his point. The league was angered when Baldwin criticized its one-import policy and said refs gave a different treatment to imports, things almost all basketball fans say to friends when they talk about the games over a few rounds.
I think that was a huge mistake by the league as the sympathy of the fans has been with Baldwin.
A one sentence reaction by the league—we acknowledge Tab Baldwin's remarks in the sports talk show but do not share his sentiments—would have sufficed. But then again, they chose to show who holds the power when it comes to basketball in the country. But for fans, it seems to be the league and the BCAP are ganging up on Baldwin for having the misfortune of speaking out in a sports talk show named “Coaches Unfiltered.” I mean, the name alone should have given them the clue, right?
However, despite the negative impact, I don't think this will affect the league much when it resumes play later this year. For sure, Baldwin's absence will be noted when he serves his suspension and if the commentators prefer not to talk about it, such non-mention will be noticed by fans. But I think, with Pinoy basketball fans having long memories, this episode will resurface in the next Gilas vs. PBA call-up controversy or whenever there are other issues that need the voice of the BCAP and the group prefers to stay quiet.
Like I mentioned earlier, did BCAP ever voice its displeasure when Gilas Pilipinas embarrassed the whole country by opting to shoot at its own basket in the waning seconds of its final elimination round match in the 2014 Asian Games? Did the group also issue a statement on the Philippines vs. Australia brawl during the Fiba World Cup qualifiers? I don’t remember it doing so.
In fact, the first time I heard about the group and the succeeding times that I heard about them was always when some members of the old boys coaching club lost out on a potential lucrative job when a PBA team decided to hire a foreigner coach.