Tab Baldwin could be headed back to handling the national basketball team. But this time, the Batang Gilas program.
The two-time champion coach of Ateneo de Manila University is high on the list of Manny Pangilinan to handle the Batang Gilas team that will see action in the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-19 World Cup in Greece next year.
The former Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president and now the association’s chairman emeritus said Baldwin is his personal choice to replace Josh Reyes, son of former Gilas mentor Chot Reyes.
“I think that Tab should be the Batang Gilas coach because he’s a very good with the young kids and so forth and so on, but the would have to be an SBP decision,” Pangilinan was quoted in a report.
Batang Gilas qualified for the World Cup in Greece after finishing fourth in the 2018 FIBA Asia Uner-18 Championships in Thailand behind champion Australia, runner-up New Zealand and China.
But the younger Reyes was relieved from his post last October, three weeks after his father stepped down as Gilas Pilipinas coach as an aftermath of the free-for-all between Gilas and Australia last July at the Philippine Arena.
Pangilinan confirmed that the Batang Gilas coach position remains vacant and he is recommending Baldwin to SBP president Al Panlilio to take over the Batang Gilas program.
Baldwin started as Chot Reyes’ consultant in the 2013 FIBA Asian Championships where the country finished second to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Spain.
He was promoted to head coach in 2015 and handled the squad in the Asian Championship that year but lost to China in the finals for the lone berth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Baldwin was appointed by Pangilinan as head coach of Ateneo in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and after a runner-up finish in 2016 to La Salle, he led the Blue Eagles to back-to-back titles, the recent against University of the Philippines.