Baldwin in discussions with SBP on potential role as Gilas program director

Nothing is set in stone for Tab Baldwin's return to the Gilas Pilipinas program.

The former Gilas head coach's name has been mentioned numerous times since the Philippines' debacle in the 2019 World Cup in China. Recently, reports surfaced of his possible appointment as the national team's program director.

Baldwin, who is currently calling the shots for the two-time UAAP champions Ateneo Blue Eagles, confirmed that he has been talking with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) on the new role, but said discussions are still in the early stages.

"I think you can tell from the tone of boss MVP's (SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan) answers that it's premature to talk about it. Nothing's been formalized," Baldwin said on Sunday. "I can say we've had discussions, and I think right now, the SEA Games is the priority to get that taken care of.

"And suffice it to say that everybody cares a lot within MVP's organization about what happens with Gilas. He continues to believe in the program and continues to believe in the future, and continues to invest in it. So there's just a talk now about wanting to get processes right, but it's too premature to talk about anything else."

After a dismal showing on the world stage, the SBP is trying to reshape the program by hiring a new head coach, as well as appointing a director to oversee the entirety of the program to enhance the country's chances moving forward.

The search for a new coach to man the sidelines and someone to look at the big picture of the national team comes at an opportune time as the Philippines prepares for the hosting of the 2023 World Cup and even beyond that.

"I haven't discussed it," Baldwin, who coached Gilas Pilipinas from 2014 to 2016, said about the specifics of his possible position. "I'm coaching Ateneo right now."

In Blue Eagles' roster, Baldwin currently has two players included in the initial pool for the upcoming SEA Games: Thirdy Ravena and Isaac Go.

"It's always an honor to step up and represent your country. And I hope that we certainly talk about that. I hope that players all over the country feel that way," Baldwin said on his players getting the national team call-up.

"You guys know my history, I've been privileged to represent multiple countries, which I adopted in each case. And it's it's spine-tingling, and it should be. So I hope that for our players and for all the players that have the opportunity to wear the Philippine colors, it's exciting, and it's an honor."

Though Baldwin's role is far from finalized, he did said the country needs to "put together a team that can win" the SEA Games.

"I think that we have always had the players in this country that could win the SEA Games, it gets tougher all the time. And I think that the team that they assemble, whoever's coaching that, I think that they should make sure, first and foremost, that they give the fans and they represent the country well, they give the fans what they want, and that's a winning team."