June 13, 2024

Tab Baldwin gets real even after 'optimistic' draw for Gilas Pilipinas in FIBA World Cup

Tab Baldwin gets real even after
FIBA

Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin flashed a smile when asked about the results of the FIBA World Cup draw on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, where the Philippines found itself grouped with Italy, Dominican Republic, and Angola.

Italy, ranked 10th in the world, is the only top 20 team in Group A. Dominican Republic is world no. 23. Gilas, ranked 40th, is even ahead of the rankings compared to world no. 41 Angola.

For the world-class coach, this poses a good window of opportunity for the Philippines.

“We have chances, you know,” Baldwin told One Sports. “[We're up against] very good teams, very tough teams, but also teams not everybody’s expecting to go deep in the tournament.”

The Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles mentor said this gives Filipino fans a reason to smile about, but he reminded Gilas supporters that it’s only the beginning of the road to the prestigious international tournament.

“I think we have to be relatively optimistic, but the pathway is extremely tough.”

While it's a welcome development for any national team to know its group phase opponents at this point, Coach Tab said there’s still little that the Philippines can prepare for during this time. This only adds another layer of challenge for a country that is already facing national team woes.

“We’ve got to wait and see who shows up for other national teams—our opponents, ourselves—and then you just have to start to kind of plan and compare, and I guess try to get it right for our specific opponents.”