Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin admits shock loss in FIBA Asia opener tough to swallow
After a shock upset loss to FIBA Asia first-timers Palestine in their opening game of the 2015 edition of the tournament, Philippine national men’s basketball coach Tab Baldwin said that their performance should not be seen as an indicator of the capabilities of the Gilas Pilipinas national team but simply a misstep that must be corrected.
“This tournament is far from over. This is not a statement game of who Gilas Pilipinas is. This is a big mistake by our team, by our coaching staff, all of us,” Baldwin told reporters at the postgame press conference following his team’s 75-73 defeat at the CSWC Dayun on Wednesday.
“But we fortunately have a whole tournament to rectify that mistake, fix it, and get us back to where we belong. Winning games and putting ourselves into a position to get into the playoff rounds of this tournament. That’s our intention.”
The Philippines, which finished runner-up in the 2013 FIBA Asia tilt in Manila, is among those touted to be a contender for this year’s crown, along with defending champion Iran and host China, and was considered a favorite in Group B, where they were pooled with Palestine, Hong Kong and Kuwait.
But the country suffered a surprising setback in its very first game against a team that, while boasting of some talented players, is marking its debut on this level of international play.
“Like Dondon (Hontiveros) said, this was a really difficult loss for us to swallow. We in the Philippines, we bring so much pride into playing for the national team, for Gilas. And we carry a lot of expectations with that pride. We obviously didn’t live up to those expectations at all today,” Baldwin said.
“It’s one thing to lose a game, it’s another thing to get beaten. I thought today we were beaten.”
But Baldwin stressed that while the Filipinos will feel the sting of this loss, they will be ready to do battle again as there is plenty of time left to make up for this game.
“We have to take this on the chin, we have to congratulate Palestine. We cannot hang our heads, there’s too much tournament left to play,” he added.
“We feel bad mostly for all the people in the Philippines that we feel we let down today but we will be back and fight tomorrow.”