BURYING the hatchet with local coaches and even PBA executives will surely take a lot of doing for Tab Baldwin.
But as far as outgoing UAAP Season 82 president Emmanuel Fernandez and executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag are concerned, the league has no issues with the American-New Zealander strategist of defending three-time champion Ateneo.
Fernandez said he did not watch the Coaches Unfiltered podcast last Thursday where Baldwin made disparaging comments against local coaches and refused to comment. He added one’s freedom of speech should be respected.
“I can’t really comment on the specifics. But at the end of the day, everybody’s entitled to their own opinions,” Fernandez said last Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum streamed online.
Saguisag, son of veteran human rights lawyer and former senator Rene, agreed, saying: “It’s important to know the context of what was said. I never watched it in full nor have I read the transcript in full. It’s very irresponsible to comment on something that you do not fully appreciate.
“In so far as the UAAP is concerned, I’m not aware of any derogatory remark attacking the integrity of the UAAP. Whether or not he uttered something that caused a stir among other organizations which he may or may not be a member of, we respect that kasi kanilang organization iyon.”
Among those who took offense with Baldwin’s controversial statements were Ginebra’s Tim Cone, Meralco’s Norman Black, NLEX’s Yeng Guiao, Magnolia’s Chito Victolero, and NorthPort’s Pido Jarencio.
The Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, under its president and Jose Rizal U coach Louie Gonzalez, also issued a statement of protest, as well as NorthPort owner Mikee Romero and former Sta. Lucia and Gin Kings coach and now San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua.
In the podcast last June 11, Baldwin, who also once called the shots for Gilas Pilipinas, branded the PBA’s single-import conference as a “big mistake” and claimed that Filipino coaches are “tactically immature.”
The current Gilas program director also said the PBA referees are giving imports all the advantages in officiating.
The PBA slapped Baldwin with a P75,000 fine and a three-game ban last Tuesday as a member of the TNT coaching staff.
Saguisag assured that Baldwin has no problems with the UAAP.
“Sabi nga noong iba, maganda ang sinabi about us, so no problem,” Saguisag said.