Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al S. Panlilio broke the association’s silence regarding the current tailspin of Gilas Pilipinas and placed the blame entirely on the shoulders of former national team head coach Tab Baldwin.
While Gilas supporters have demanded the immediate resignation of Chot Reyes from the post previously occupied by Baldwin, Panlilio begged to differ and instead accused the American-Kiwi mentor of sabotaging the national team’s program.
“Honestly, the predicament that we are in today is because of Tab. We started losing players, he didn’t want to coach the February window, so as a federation we had to make decisions on how to move forward,” said Panlilio during a rare interview with SEAG Live.
“I think he knew he had no team. He knew he had no team and had no chance of performing well after performing very well in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. At the same time, he also had time to prepare for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and everybody was in a bubble. Chot did not have that,” he added.
“First of all, he did not have players that’s why he brought in the TNT team to help out. It was a difficult time for the SBP because we did not have players, the coach said he could not coach the February window and rather coach in Ateneo, and we had to ask Chot to step in.”
Panlilio, also the President and CEO of PLDT, admitted that Reyes had submitted his resignation after Gilas failed to defend the gold medal in Men’s basketball during the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam but the group immediately rejected it and even took responsibility for the heartbreaking debacle.
“He has [submitted a resignation letter] after the SEA Games but it is not his fault,” bared Panlilio.
“I think there are a lot of issues that we have to address to support him even better. We did not accept his resignation and we are here to support Chot all the way now that Tim [Cone] is coming in, Nenad [Vucinic] also there, and also Goldwin [Monteverde] helping out,” he added.