MANILA, Philippines – New Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is honored to succeed Chot Reyes as the head coach of the Philippine national basketball team, especially as it was the multi-titled former PBA coach who introduced him to Philippine basketball.
"Chot is responsible for me being a part of the Philippine basketball community, and responsible for me sitting in this chair," Baldwin said Tuesday evening when he was formally introduced to the media as the new Gilas head coach.
"He is a good friend, and he's a better friend to basketball in this country, and is a passionate supporter of everything that has been done and everything that will be done," he added.
"It's a privilege to succeed Coach Chot and assume this position."
Reyes withdrew his name from the list of Gilas coaching candidates after having already led the team to a silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and an inspiring run in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Baldwin was eventually chosen by a committee composed of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Vice Chairman Ricky Vargas, SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, PBA Chairman Patrick Gregorio, and PBA vice chairman Robert Non.
The final decision was made by SBP President Manny V. Pangilinan.
"I'm very excited, because this team is in good shape, and it is all our hope that we improve on the games that have been made and take this team and country to higher rankings and greater honors in the basketball world stage," said Baldwin.
Reyes, for his part, congratulated Baldwin last December 22 when it was revealed that the former New Zealand coach was to take over the Gilas job.
Baldwin was a consultant for Gilas when Reyes was the head coach, and remains a consultant for Talk 'N Text in the PBA. He says there are on-going discussions as to how he will juggle both jobs, especially as he has been put in charge of the development of all national teams.
As for the players who will be part of new Gilas Pilipinas team, Baldwin says he intends to consult with PBA and collegiate coaches who can advise him not only on the players' quality and skill but also on their character.
"I have to learn about these young men as basketball players and as people," he said.