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Tab out of TNT

Official says move has nothing to do with controversial podcast rants; Baldwin focus now on SBP, Ateneo

By: Cedelf Tupas - Philippine Daily Inquirer | June 26,2020 - 08:08 AM

One stint came to an end even as another continues to chug on at the TNT camp.

Gilas Pilipinas project director Tab Baldwin was relieved of his duties as assistant coach of the KaTropa in the wake of his rant against Filipino coaches and the PBA’s import-laced conferences while guesting in a podcast two weeks ago.

But an official of TNT KaTropa on Thursday insisted that Baldwin calling Filipino coaches “tactically immature,” among others, was not the reason why they parted ways with the multititled Kiwi-American. Gabby Cui, the TNT team manager, confirmed that the team has indeed let go of Baldwin, whose remarks drew flak from several stakeholders of the sport—including members of the league’s board of governors of which KaTropa governor Ricky Vargas is the chair.

“Coach Tab will be focusing on his coaching chores at Ateneo and his role in the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas),” Cui said.

Baldwin, 62, steered Ateneo to three straight UAAP titles, including an 18-0 sweep in Season 82 last November.

While Baldwin leaves the KaTropa, veteran Harvey Carey will continue on with TNT, the only team he has played for in his 16-year PBA career.

For how long, though, he isn’t quite sure.

“I’m leaving the door open,” the scrappy veteran forward told the Inquirer recently. “I mean, I hope the season continues sometimes. Maybe it’s my last. Maybe it won’t be.”

Carey, now 41, was eager to flesh out his role as team senior entering his 17th season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the league. He has been seeing limited minutes for the KaTropa but has served as a locker room presence and mentor for the younger players.

“I’ve accepted actually my role in the team in the three, four years being a mentor and teaching young guys,” Carey said.

Baldwin was slapped a P75,000-fine that went with a three-game suspension for his criticism of the PBA’s one-import format and his accusations that the league’s referees give leeway to imports on fouls.

Cui, however, told the Inquirer that the team’s decision was already made even before the PBA’s 45th season was suspended in March.

It remains to be seen, though, whether Baldwin’s role with Gilas will also be evaluated since the SBP distanced itself from Baldwin’s controversial comments through its president, Al Panlilio.

The SBP and PBA teams NLEX, TNT and Meralco, which Panlilio represents in the board, are all being bankrolled by tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, who also takes care of the Ateneo cage program.

Baldwin also called Fiba, the world’s governing body in basketball, “criminal” for one of its rules on citizenship. And the SBP believes that this could cause a rift between the body and Pangilinan, who is a member of its influential central board.

“We decided on this transition way before the lockdown,” Cui said. “The team is adapting well to the system of coach Bong Ravena and team consultant Mark Dickel. We would like to thank coach Tab and wish him well.” —with a report from Denison Rey A. Dalupang

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TAGS: Ateneo, PBA, Tab Baldwin, TNT

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