PBA: NorthPort owner cries racism over Baldwin's comments

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 15 2020 11:43 AM

PBA: NorthPort owner cries racism over Baldwin's comments 1
NorthPort owner Mikee Romero. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- NorthPort owner Mikee Romero joined those who took offense to Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin's comments regarding the culture of basketball coaching in the Philippines.

Baldwin, speaking on the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast last week, expressed his surprise at the "tactical immaturity" of Philippine basketball coaches, which he said was not necessarily the fault of the coaches themselves.

Rather, Baldwin blamed the "regulatory flaw" of having two single-import conferences in the PBA, which he said holds back the Filipino coaches from truly maximizing their talents and smarts about the game. The Filipino coaches, said Baldwin, "are good basketball coaches, but … could be much better."

Baldwin's sentiments struck a nerve among the high-profile basketball personalities in the Philippines, with San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua, NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, and the Basketball Coaches of the Philippines (BCAP) all decrying the Ateneo coach. 

Romero, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, is the latest to join the chorus, saying in a statement that Baldwin "can't destroy our history in basketball" because the PBA has been "very successful since the beginning."

"As a guest in the country, he has no right to question the format, much more the integrity of the league and its officials," said Romero, as quoted by ABS-CBN Sports. "For me, it sounds like racism."

"While he helped steer Ateneo to UAAP championships, he's not entitled to underestimate the capabilities of our local coaches," he added.

Baldwin has led the Blue Eagles to the last three UAAP titles, including a perfect 16-0 season in 2019. Before that, he served as the head coach of the Gilas Pilipinas national team, steering them to a silver medal in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship despite not having the services of many of the country's top players. 

Baldwin is also the current program director of the national team.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has called Baldwin's statements "detrimental to the league," and stands to sanction the Ateneo coach. The two are expected to have a discussion this week to clear the air. 

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).