MANILA, Philippines -- The owner of Mighty Sports came to the defense of embattled coach Tab Baldwin on Thursday, saying that the tactician's recent comments about Philippine basketball came from a desire to help improve the game.
Caesar Wongchuking, who has supported several Philippine teams in international competitions, has no doubt that Baldwin's heart is in the right place.
"I have known Coach Tab for a long time, and his love for Philippine basketball is deeply rooted in him," he said in a statement.
Baldwin came under fire from several local coaches after his appearance in the "Coaches Unfiltered" podcast, where the Gilas Pilipinas program director was asked what surprised him about the Philippine coaching culture when he first arrived in the country.
Baldwin, also the head coach of the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, pointed to the "tactical immaturity" of Philippine coaches, which he believes is a result of some "regulatory flaws" rather than a lack of talent and skill. In particular, he noted that the PBA's single-import conference prevents coaches -- and even local players -- from showcasing the best of their talents.
Many PBA coaches and officials took offense to his sentiment, and he was fined P75,000 by the league. Baldwin, who is also in the coaching staff of TNT KaTropa, was also suspended for three games.
Wongchuking is hopeful that after the events of recent days, the Philippine basketball community can move forward and become stronger. He also vowed to continue supporting the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) through Mighty Sports.
"We will always support the SBP and all stakeholders of Philippine basketball, that we may achieve the place in the world stage where Philippine basketball deserves," he said.
"It is in this light that we hope we can all move forward to jointly work towards the development of Philippine basketball to be at par with the best in the world," he added.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).