TAB Baldwin has cleared the air with the PBA, although it comes at a cost of a hefty fine, possibly even a suspension.
It will take a lot more than that in terms of diplomacy and a huge amount of tact for the American-New Zealander to smooth things out with local coaches who have taken offense with his recent statements.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, deputy commissioner and operations chief Eric Castro and legal counsel Melvin Mendoza met with Baldwin via a Zoom conference last Monday to get the coach’s side on the controversy.
“Okay naman, nag-usap kami. Nag-apologize siya,” related Marcial. “Sinabi niya na he was taken out of context, so sabi ko, okay. Sabi ko ito ‘yung venue, ito ‘yung tamang channel ‘pag may gusto kang sabihin.
“So sabi ko rin sa kanya, ‘Coach, may trabaho ka, may trabaho rin akong dapat gampanan, so I hope you’ll respect my decision.’ Sabi niya, ‘Yes Comm, I have no choice. I’ll respect your decision.’ So ganun ang tema.”
“I feel bad that has happened and that is not my intention,” Baldwin was quoted as saying by the PBA’s official website.
Afterwards, Marcial convened his technical committee to determine the sanctions to be imposed on Baldwin, an act that is certainly within the commissioner’s purview since Baldwin is a member of TNT’s coaching staff.
Marcial was set to announce the exact penalties to be slapped on Baldwin later yesterday.
In the past, any person, especially a coach, who issues statements deemed as detrimental to the league have been fined anywhere from P75,000 to P100,000.
Marcial also offered another advice to Baldwin, which are meant to help the latter mend his frayed relationship with the local coaches who took offense from his statements made last Thursday.
“Nasa kanya iyon kung paanong approach ang gagawin niya, pero sabi ko kailangang ayusin o kalmahin niya iyung mga nagalit sa sinabi niya,” Marcial said. “Nasa kanya na kung paano niya ‘yun gagawin.”
It would surely take a lot of doing.
During a Coaches Unfiltered podcast, the current Ateneo coach said the PBA’s single-import conference is a “big mistake” and that Filipino coaches are “tactically immature.” He also accused the PBA referees of giving all of the rules latitude to imports.
The former chief bench tactician of the New Zealand men’s national team and Gilas Pilipinas clarified that he gave his commentary when asked “what surprised me when I first came to the Philippines.”
Among those who cried foul over Baldwin’s statements were San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua, a former coach with Sta. Lucia Realty and Ginebra, NLEX’s Yeng Guiao and Magnolia’s Chito Victolero.
The Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines also issued a statement of protest, as did NorthPort owner Mikee Romero.