What’s Gilas coach Tab Baldwin’s birthday wish? It’s not Rio

As Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin turns 58 today (Monday), the American-Kiwi mentor only has one birthday wish before plunging into a busy schedule with the national squad and the Ateneo Blue Eagles — peace of mind.

Baldwin admitted that since his brother Terry passed away last month, peace of mind is something that “has eluded him”.

“My birthday wish is that all my friends and family have as great a day as the one they are wishing for me,” Baldwin told FOX Sports on Monday.

“But more personally, I hope to find a peace of mind that eludes me since the recent loss of my brother Terry.”

The former New Zealand national men’s team coach left for Jacksonville, Florida to be at the wake of his brother early last April.

Since returning to Manila, he has gone back to assume his coaching post with the Blue Eagles, who are on a rebuilding phase with the departure of veteran stars Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal.

Baldwin also worked as a guest television analyst at Sports5 during the first 3 games of the ongoing Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.

A few days ago, he took the time out to be at Punta Fuego in Batangas with his family for a brief respite.

While he’s got a challenging task of steering the Philippines back to the Olympics in the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila this July, Baldwin said everyone will have to pitch in to make that dream happen.

“No, I don’t wish for things that the team and I have to earn. The value of success can only be found in the effort it takes to achieve it,” said Baldwin, who has guided Gilas Pilipinas to back-to-back silver medal finishes in the William Jones Cup in Taiwan and the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, China last year.

Nonetheless, the veteran international coach believes he’s got a pool of Gilas players, who are “highly motivated” in pursuing the country’s Olympic hopes.

“As a participant, I’m very excited by the challenge, but even more excited to be part of a team that is so highly motivated to bring this dream to the millions of Filipinos who hope and pray for a chance to see their team in Rio,” he said.

Baldwin is no stranger to challenges as he’s best remembered for guiding the New Zealand Tall Blacks to a semifinal finish in the 2002 Fiba World championships (now Fiba World Cup) in Indianapolis, US.

To date, the Final 4 finish was the highest ever achieved by an Oceania men’s national basketball team in the world championships. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava