Gilas Pilipinas’ secret weapon: ‘Iran killer’ coach Tab Baldwin

Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

Sports5/Paul Ryan Tan

In 2011, Tab Baldwin masterminded the biggest upset of the FIBA Asia Championship, piloting the Jordan national men’s basketball team to an 88-84 shocker over two-time defending champion Iran in the quarterfinals.

Under coach Baldwin, Jordan went on to eliminate the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team in the semifinals, 75-61, before giving China a scare in the championship match. The Jordanians narrowly lost the final game, 70-69, to the Asian powerhouse.

After being replaced as Jordan coach last year, Baldwin returned to coach in New Zealand. He worked with the Philippine team during its training tour in New Zealand last month, and has joined the squad for the FIBA Asia Championship in Manila.

“Tab really enjoyed his time working with us and we felt it, so we invited him to come over and see the tournament through with us,” Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes told InterAKTV.

Apart from coaching Jordan, Baldwin also has extensive international experience at the helm of New Zealand and Lebanon, giving him familiarity with the competition in the Asian tournament.

Baldwin’s position in the coaching staff of the Philippine team is still under wraps.

“He has a very specific role in the team that I can’t discuss yet,” said Reyes, who gave a hint of Baldwin’s influence in the Gilas squad.

“One of our schemes is named after him.”

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