Despite Baldwin’s comments, PBA, SBP will remain ‘friends’

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    THE strong relationship between the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will not be adversely affected by coach Tab Baldwin’s recent comments viewed by many as disrespectful, to say the least, to the pro league and local coaches.

    “Sa akin, hindi maapektuhan ‘yung relationship ni SBP and PBA,” Commissioner Willie Marcial said in an interview Saturday night.

    “Iyung samahan naman kasi ng SBP at PBA matagal na iyan at lalo pang tumitibay,” added Marcial. “Kaya sa tingin ko, hindi sapat iyung mga sinabi ng isang tao para wasakin iyung samahan na iyon.”

    Adding to Marcial’s optimism is the fact that some members of the PBA family are Baldwin’s superiors in the SBP.

    “Nandiyan si (SBP president and Meralco governor) Gov. Al Panlilio, si chairman at governor ng Talk N Text (Ricky Vargas) nasa board namin, at Boss MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan) nasa PBA,” Marcial pointed out.

    Baldwin, a former Gilas Pilipinas head coach and currently its program director, drew the ire of many after stating in last Thursday’s Coaches Unfiltered podcast that the PBA’s format is “flawed” and its officiating favors imports. He also took a dig at what he called the Filipino coaches’ “tactical immaturity.”

    Marcial said the matter would be smoothed out once he and Baldwin discuss it through an online conversation today.

    “Nag-text siya sa akin, ‘Can we discuss it, Comm?’ So sabi ko, ‘Sige.’ Kaya mag-u-usap kami, by Monday kung puwede siya. Umokay naman siya,” Marcial said.

    Sorting the matter out would not free Baldwin from a fine Marcial is set to impose on the former, him being a part of TNT’s coaching staff.

    Marcial, however, did not divulge how much the fine would be, saying it would be up to the league’s technical committee’s recommendation.

    Baldwin’s relationship with the local coaches need more ironing out since the latter have immediately took exception to his statements.

    San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua, a former coach with Sta. Lucia Realty and Ginebra, was the first to lash out at Baldwin, saying the American-New Zealander’s remarks were done in poor taste and at the wrong time when the country is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    NLEX Road Warriors head coach Yeng Guiao, a founding member of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines and like Chua an ex-president of the BCAP, said such comments are disparaging not just to the PBA and local coaches but to the FIBA as well.

    Last Saturday, the BCAP condemned Baldwin, saying that local coaches are being underestimated and that it is also an attack on Filipinos in general.