MANILA, Philippines -- Some prominent Ateneo businessmen and entrepreneurs have made offers to Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin, pledging to pay the fine that he incurred from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The PBA last week imposed a P75,000 fine on Baldwin, as well as a three-game suspension, after he was judged to have made comments that were "detrimental to the league."
In a statement, the Ateneo head coach expressed his gratitude for the offers but politely declined.
"I am deeply humbled by the offer of those of you in the Ateneo community, some friends from supportive companies and beyond to shoulder the cost of the fine imposed on me by the PBA," said Baldwin, who has steered the Blue Eagles to three consecutive UAAP men's basketball titles.
The 62-year-old coach instead suggested that the "generous offerings" be donated to the Ateneo de Manila University's drive for the country's frontliners in the battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"At this trying time, these funds will be of great benefit to them and be useful in a much more vital manner," he said.
Baldwin, who has been living in the Philippines for the past seven years, has been supporting the efforts of the Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc. along with the Blue Eagles. The funds raised by the organizations go directly to the medical frontliners and vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic.
The American-Kiwi coach drew the ire of the league as well as several local coaches after his appearance in the pilot episode of the Coaches' Unfiltered podcast, where he was asked what surprised him about Philippine basketball culture when he first arrived in the country. Baldwin spoke of the "tactical immaturity" of Filipino basketball coaches, which he said was brought about by a "flaw" in the PBA -- the single-import conferences.
The PBA and the local coaching community did not take kindly to Baldwin's suggestions on how to improve Philippine basketball, however, with many expressing their anger and disappointment at his words.
Baldwin, also an assistant coach at TNT KaTropa, has since apologized to the league. He also stressed that he will personally shoulder the fine handed down by the league.
"I have been in the employ of Boss MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) for over 5 years now and through the course of that time and his contractual support of me, I am more than capable of handling my responsibility as it relates to this PBA fine. I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to coach teams supported by Boss MVP and our group, and I look forward to more successes on the court," he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).