Baldwin was reacting to some reports that some people were against his appointment as coach of the Blue Eagles because he would be taking away jobs from local coaches.
“Look I have sympathy for their rationale. Those questions are based on trying to protect the opportunity for local coaches but as a foreign coach, I didn’t seek to come to the Philippines, I was brought here,” said Baldwin before conducting the weekly practice of the national basketball team Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.
Baldwin, who is also coach of the team known as Gilas Pilipinas, said his marching orders from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny Pangilinan was not only to handle Gilas but to help local coaches. He said that by handling Ateneo, he is following that road.
“It’s important to me that I don’t try to undermine the local coaching fraternity but I try to help it out and with the experience I have I try to give back to them,” he said.
“With the basis of that, while I’m sympathetic to what they’re saying, the spirit of what I’m trying to do kind of counteracts to what they’re talking about. Hopefully we can all agree on that and there won’t be any issues,” he added.
Alfrancis Chua, president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), said the other day that they will oppose Baldwin’s appointment in the same way that the BCAP had opposed other attempts by foreigners to coach in the PBA and other collegiate leagues.
BCAP, through its former president Yeng Guiao, also explained why Baldwin’s case is different from those of Norman Black, Tim Cone and Alex Compton, all of them Americans, who are coaching in the PBA.
“They are exempted because they’ve been residents of the Philippines, they are married to Filipinos, and they need to earn their living to support their families,” said Guiao yesterday.
“Besides, being a college team, which is developmental in nature, why don’t they appoint an aspiring or up and coming coach? For instance, La Salle picked Aldin Ayo, FEU has Nash Racela, UST is with Bong dela Cruz.”
“But as far as foreign coaches in our sport (basketball), the court already has a decision on that issue, which favors BCAP,” added Guiao, who was the president of the association when the court made a ruling in the early 2000s.
Baldwin said he could not understand where the ruling against foreign coaches is coming from adding that local basketball will benefit from his experience in the long run. He said he is ready to embrace his job as Ateneo coach if it happens.
“It’s a privilege, it’s an opportunity,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of the UAAP, it’s a great competition. Ateneo has a fantastic history, to be part of that now is another g r e a t challenge of my career.”
When asked, however, what will come first, Gilas or Ateneo if in the future a conflict arises, Baldwin did not hesitate: “Flag and country first. There will be times where there are conflicts but the prioritization will be with the Gilas team. We’ve already discussed that and established that.” – With report from Waylon Galvez. (C. Jacinto, mb)