After expressing dissatisfaction on players’ attendance last time they practiced, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin was a little happier on Monday as more warm bodies worked out in their preparation for the Olympic qualifier.
“The team moved closer where I wanted and that’s all I ask them to do. Where we go from there hopefully it will be a little more and a little more positive but it was a good step for us tonight,” Baldwin said after the practice.
In their 2nd session this year, 15 PBA players showed up and participated in the 2-hour drill, although 5 of them sat out for various reasons while Terrence Romeo and Ian Sangalang were no-shows.
“Well, it’s much better, we still have a lot sitting on the side but mostly for good reasons. But more (players) on the court and obviously we upped the intensity this week so I feel much better, this is what I am hoping for and this is what I asked them to do,” the coach said.
Baldwin recently aired out his frustration on the national pool’s turnout at their 1st training session last Monday, and got a positive response from the absentees.
Missing last week, Greg Slaughter, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Calvin Abueva were in practice uniforms this time.
“I think when you’re honest with people and you tell them what you want and you tell them why, you want that and these guys wanna win and if they can understand this is part of the process, I dont think they have issues with that,” he added.
June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, Marc Pingris, and Ryan Reyes attended in civilian clothes due to minor injuries, while Romeo cited sickness for his absence.
“At this point, we want to treat them a little bit with kid gloves, both for the PBA and for the fact that we don’t want any serious injuries that would prevent them to be a part of this program long term,” shared Baldwin.
Sangalang’s no-show, however, is a different case.
“We got an open correspondence with him now, we’re discussing what’s going to be the future there and all options are on the table, when there’s a resolution to that one, one way or another, we will let you know,” said Baldwin. “There’s a few issues right now for Ian, his recovery for being out for a year is the main issue, his confidence is an issue, and so we know that Ian has a part of this program at some point in the future.”
With barely 4 months away from the qualifier to be held here in Manila, Baldwin is also looking for another player who can contribute for Gilas’ cause.
“I’d like to get probably a big kid in but we’ll see. We wanna bring somebody in who at least that could measure up and compete but maybe not an actual candidate for the team but will help us in practices,” said Baldwin, who also credited cadets Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Ferrer for helping out. — By Jason Mercene