MANILA, Philippines -- Without naming names, Colegio de San Juan de Letran coach Bonnie Tan issued a rebuttal to Ateneo de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin following his recent comments about Philippine basketball.
Baldwin has ignited a furor among local coaches and basketball officials after his appearance on the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast, where he was asked about his thoughts on the coaching culture in the Philippines.
The former Gilas Pilipinas coach clearly touched a nerve when he said that he was "annoyed and surprised" by the "tactical immaturity of Philippine basketball coaches." In explaining his sentiment, Baldwin made it clear that Filipino coaches are talented and smart, but are held back by a "regulatory flaw" in the PBA -- which is the single-import conferences.
For Baldwin, the advantages given to imports limits the Filipino coaches in terms of how they can use their tactics, and also does a disservice to the local players.
Local coaches, however, took offense to Baldwin's comments, which they saw as a criticism of their capabilities. San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua and NLEX coach Yeng Guiao were among the first to hit back at Baldwin, while PBA commissioner Willie Marcial called his statements "detrimental to the league."
On Sunday, NCAA champion coach Tan posted his own sentiments on his Facebook page.
"While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the rules of Philippine basketball are in place for their own respective reasons, which you may not understand," said Tan, who did not directly address Baldwin.
"To publicly criticize local players, officials, coaches and leagues (PBA, FIBA) you are not an active part of is totally uncalled for," he added. "Some things are better left unsaid."
Tan also said: "You should be in the NBA if you are one good banana."
However, as they are in the Philippines, "you better respect the local coaches, players, and officials."
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio was even more pointed in his criticism of Baldwin, saying the Ateneo coach's comments showed a lack of respect to Filipino coaches.
"It is ironic that this foreign coach, who's currently being employed by (a) local professional basketball team, ay may lakas ng loob na insultohin at mababa ang tingin sa mga local coaches, pretending to be a basketball genius," Jarencio said, also on Facebook. "What an arrogant prick!"
Jarencio made it clear that he disagreed with Baldwin's statement, which reflects "how ungrateful (Baldwin) is to the very country who provides him employment and opportunity."
Tan is the team manager of NorthPort, and Jarencio expressed full support for him during Letran's run to the NCAA Season 95 title in November 2019. The Knights slayed archrivals San Beda University in a three-game series.
A month later, Baldwin and the Blue Eagles completed a 16-0 campaign in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament for their third consecutive title. Aside from coaching Ateneo in the UAAP, Baldwin is also the program director of the Philippine national team, and in 2015 led Gilas Pilipinas to a silver medal in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.