SMC sports director slams Tab Baldwin for comments against PBA’s one-import rule

San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua slammed Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin for the latter’s comments regarding the PBA’s one-import rule and officiating during the pilot episode of Coaches Unfiltered.

The 62-year old American/New Zealander appeared on the show hosted by basketball analysts Charles Tiu, Anton Altamirano and Paolo Layug and criticized the PBA for holding two conferences which only allows one import per team.

“As an industry here, we have one major, major flaw in the basketball landscape of the Philippines, and it’s a regulatory flaw. And that is that in the PBA, we have three conferences — two of those conferences are single-import conferences. This is a big mistake. We should never have a single import playing on a team,” explained Baldwin.

“We should never have a single import that is given all of the rules latitude that the imports are given here by the referees and by the administration of the PBA, and I do believe it is by the administration. And I do believe that it is based in the desire to have superstars as a marketing tool for the PBA,” he added.

Baldwin also took a swipe at league officiating, claiming that fouls were applied differently for locals and reinforcements.

“The imports that come here are some very outstanding players, and they become superstars because of their statistical performances in so many examples and situations. So the question that this begs to me is: why aren’t these guys superstars in bigger leagues and in leagues where they could play 10 months a year and earn significantly greater salaries over the course of the year than they are in here? Why aren’t they? And the reason is they aren’t given the regulatory advantages by the referees that they’re given here.”

“So in other words, to put it in layman’s terms, a foul for a PBA player for a local player isn’t a foul on an import, and the foul of an import, that same foul on a local player isn’t a foul. So our local players are competitively disadvantaged in their ability to compete against the import players, and this is not the case in other countries,” stressed the head coach of Ateneo de Manila in the UAAP.

The idea, however, didn’t sit well with Chua.

“Tatlong imports? Eh di hindi na nakalaro yung mga locals. Ilan ba ang average minutes ng mga imports? Paano yung iba ang rotation siyam or sampung players lang, eh kung tatlo pa yung imports mo, alangan namang hindi mo gamitin yung mga yun. Nagtitipid nga ngayon dahil walang liga tapos gusto niya tatlong imports pa,” said Chua.

“Pinapaboran daw ang imports? Eh di sana walang napa-foul out na imports. Pare-pareho lang naman sa tingin ko. Pero para i-counter judge niya sa ganun ang mga Filipino, parang hindi naman yata tama,” he added.

The former Gin Kings mentor also rued the manner and timing in which Baldwin aired his grievances.

“Kung may suggestion siya, that’s not the proper way. Sabihin niya sa governor (niya) to relay it sa PBA office. I-suggest mo ng maganda. Hindi yung babanatan niya ‘yung PBA. Hirap na hirap na nga mag-adjust (Al Panlilio) at gumagawa ng paraan for PBA to adjust sa FIBA competitions, tapos magsasalita siya ng ganun. Sariling boss niya yun, hindi niya nire-respeto,” said Chua.

“Huwag niya sanang tirahin ang PBA sa panahon ngayon. Gusto nga nating makabalik na eh, tapos ganyan ang sasabihin niya. Ang tama diyan, kausapin niya si chairman (Vargas). Sabihin niya, ‘Chairman, can I meet with the governors because I have some suggestions?’ That’s the proper way. Ganun dapat,” he added.

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