The Philippine Star

Baldwin wants zero errors

FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament


Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, in their first few days of training for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, is throwing caution to the winds, saying the Nationals must be in their best competitiv­e form to defy tremendous odds and sneak into the Rio Olympics in August.

But Baldwin is neither discountin­g their chance to pull the rug from under the heavyweigh­ts in the FIBA OQT which the country hosts at the MOA Arena from July 5-10.

Baldwin, however, stressed they have a job cut out for them starting from training.

He said it’s not about the roster but more of the team chemistry they must develop and put into perfection come competitio­n time.

It’s because, Baldwin says, teams like France, Turkey or Canada can get away with being a little bit sloppier and lazy, but not Gilas Pilipinas with its disadvanta­ge in size, experience and quickness.

He said the Nationals can’t afford much mistakes in the game. And that explains Baldwin’s attention to detail.

He’s meticulous in the smallest detail of every play, pattern and exercise they execute in practice.

It’s been all business in their workouts even as they’re still awaiting players on vacation or pool members who’ll render service to the Gilas cadet team in the SEABA Stankovic Cup in Bangkok, Thailand.

Training is expected to intensify as Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva report in the training camp Tuesday.

“When they come in, they’ll hit the ground running. I don’t think we have to worry about them, they’re in shape,” said Baldwin of the four players who were just done with the PBA Commission­er’s Cup Finals.

It’s uncertain, though, whether Abueva and Lee will buckle down to work right away or will still need some time to heal bruised legs.

Both are familiar to Baldwin’s approach in practice, having worked with the American-Kiwi coach in previous Gilas teams.

Gilas has yet to get an ideal number of players in practice on the exit of injurystri­cken players Greg Slaughter and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and minus Norwood, Chan, Lee and Abueva.

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