Mendoza: Baldwin’s for kid stuff

Al Mendoza

THERE are loud whispers that pros are avoiding inclusion into the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team. Whether true or not, fine by me.

One wag told me it’s Tab Baldwin the pros are avoiding.

“He trains you that much,” he said of the American coach serving as among the top guns in the Gilas campaign for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers. “The pros hate that.”

I can agree.

Most pros really dislike being told this and that.

They believe they know better.

They believe they’ve reached their peak.

They think that by being in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), they have earned it. It is what it is. Entitlement. Made.

To them, even pointers from Steve Kerr, or even Phil Jackson, don’t matter much anymore. And yet, those dudes are multiple NBA champion coaches.

Baldwin is a known drillmaster. The main reason he made Ateneo a three-time UAAP champion. It is what it is.

Baldwin punishes to the hilt in trying to bend you into submission.

Thirdy Ravena became what he is today because of Baldwin.

The kid is even playing better—much better really—than his brother, Kuya Kiefer. And Kuya Kiefer had made such an impact entering the pro ranks some three or so years ago.

The brothers are now with Gilas, together with several new kids in town from Ateneo—all because of Baldwin.

With what Baldwin had accomplished thus far at Ateneo—nabbing a rare “three-peat”—he has proven himself to be a perfect coach for college basketball. Not pro basketball.

Thus, Baldwin being thrust into the Gilas is a gambit well taken. He is in the coaching staff with Mark Dickel, another American, who was appointed interim coach of the Gilas’ first window.

The new Gilas squad is amateur-laden and that’s fine by me. It could be the start of a truly developmental scheme, one that should produce a base-camp where future national quintets can be formed.

Leave the pros alone. Tap and develop the kids. Baldwin’s tailor-fit for that.