Tab Baldwin claims that his comments regarding PBA imports were taken out of context

By Nicole Ganglani | Art by Tricia Guevara | Photo from Inquirer Sports

TNT KaTropa assistant coach Tab Baldwin was slapped with a P75,000 fine as well as a three-game suspension on Tuesday, June 16. The penalty was due to Baldwin’s comments against the league, which the PBA considers “detrimental.”

Baldwin, who is also the program director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) mentioned in an episode of Coaches Unfiltered that the local coaches in the PBA are “tactically immature” and that PBA referees favor imports when it comes to officiating. The American-Kiwi also pointed out that one of FIBA’s eligibility rules (act of contrition) is in his own words, “criminal.” 

“If you’re a PBA coach and you don’t tactically run your systems through the import, you’re pretty stupid because they are given all of the advantages,” said Baldwin in the podcast. “As an industry here, we have one major, major flaw in the basketball landscape of the Philippines and it’s a regulatory flaw and that is that in the PBA, we have three conferences [and] two of those conferences are a single-import conference. This is a big mistake,” he added.

Baldwin’s comments did not sit well with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and coaches like Tim Cone, Yeng Guiao and Alfrancis Chua. According to Marcial, Baldwin’s statement offended a lot of people in the league. SBP president Al Panlilio also said that Baldwin’s comments could negatively impact the relationship of SBP and the FIBA board.

“I told him [during our Monday video conference] to mend fences with the [PBA’s] board of governors and our [local] coaches,” Marcial told the Inquirer on Tuesday, “That, I think, is the best thing that he could do at the moment because he really offended a lot of people.”

Baldwin, who also coaches the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, claimed that his comments were taken out of context. What the past Gilas coach wanted to address was to improve the style of play in the PBA by helping local players gain competitive advantage. Nevertheless, the three-time UAAP champion has already apologized to Marcial and league officials. 


Basketball fans show support for Tab Baldwin

Meanwhile, many sports journalists, fans and netizens supported Baldwin’s unfiltered opinion and believed that his comments were constructive criticism for the PBA. Fans across social media voiced that the PBA should actually consider Baldwin’s comments especially since the latter has more experience in the global basketball stage. 

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