Gilas Pilipinas Men is preparing for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and Olympic Qualifying Tournament. With a young training pool, Gilas program director Tab Baldwin and the rest of the coaching staff have been constantly doing a lot of teaching.
Baldwin is in charge of the overall game plan and training program for the Gilas players.
“It’s up to me to integrate what the players are learning with what the direction of the program is. I work with (SBP Special Assistant to the President) coach Ryan Gregorio on all the outside issues and make sure we diminish those with our managers Gabby Cui and Yvette Ruiz. We all make sure that everything’s in place and I also have a lot to do with the content of what we’re coaching,” Baldwin said in an interview on The Game on Tuesday.
Fortunately for Baldwin, he also has a great crop of assistant coaches he can rely on who helps him teach the players.
What is the role of each member of the coaching staff? Baldwin explains.
Alton Lister: “Coach Alton is a 17-year NBA veteran and he has worked with NBA coaching staffs and worked with big men for almost 30 years now and we get the benefit from that. With Ange (Kouame), he’s not your typical naturalized player. He’s a very young player. We’re not bringing in an NBA player or a super experienced guy so his relationship with coach Alton is invaluable.”
Sandro Soriano: “Coach Sandro is our video guy. He breaks down hours and hours of video. If you think the rest of the coaching staff puts in a lot of hours, coach Sandro probably doubles that. And in doing that, as a very young coach, he’s gaining invaluable experience for his coaching career. It’s a great opportunity for him but he does a really good job with the videos which makes it really easy for the rest of the coaches.”
Jong Uichico: “Coach Jong is the leader of the group. He directs a lot of the information we’re giving to the players. He’s a great instinctive guy. He reads players very well because he has great relationships with them.”
Boyet Fernandez: “With Coach Boyet, we get all the advantage of his coaching experience and all the practices that he’s run, but he almost serves as our administrative assistant. He keeps the rest of the coaching staff organized, he keeps us in place, he keeps us on time, he keeps us focused on the next job that’ll have to be done and that’s a vital role in a coaching staff.”
Caloy Garcia: “We brought coach Caloy into the mix as well. He brings all of his PBA coaching experience and he has acted as a provocateur in our camp because he’s constantly saying ‘There could be another way to do this.’ Without that, we tend do become ‘Yes Men’ to one another. We submit to the system and he’s the guy kind of outside the system poking holes into it all the time. This is immeasurably invaluable to us because it forces us to question ourselves. He’s been a great addition and he’s a fun guy to be around and as many hours as we spend together it’s really important to have that.”
Sandy Arespacochaga: “I think a lot of people already know the relationship that coach Sandy and I have. It’s a very special relationship because, in my 40 years, I’ve never really had coaches that I leaned on. And he makes leaning on him the definition of my job. He’s so intelligent and ever-present at my side, keeping me focused and keeping me aligned. I make way too many mistakes with my coaching and I have Sandy there to identify them because he’s just so sharp and so tuned in all the time. One misstep from me and he’s on me right away. I never give him enough appreciation. I’m diminished significantly if I don’t have Sandy at my side.”