Maybe, I am just a small voice from the peripheries. My voice or point of view won’t even matter, but I am one of the many in those comment sections who have expressed support for the now beleaguered Coach Tab Baldwin, whose insights on the professional league and Filipino coaching have touched a nerve.

I am a religious educator by profession and a grassroots basketball coach at the same time. Before I make a stand, I make sure I listen to the two sides of the story and discern the truth. I listened to what Coach Tab Baldwin said during the “Unfiltered Podcast,” his reasons, sentiments and comments. At the same time, I also read the reactions of the PBA commissioner and other league officials and the statement issued by the president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines.

Coach Tab Baldwin. Photo by Nicole Hernandez

I find nothing wrong with the observation of Coach Tab Baldwin. He was straightforward with his observations. Maybe that’s the cultural context he was coming from. He never maligned Filipino coaches in saying the now infamous quote — that they are “tactically immature.” He even said that Filipino coaches were a smart lot but were being limited tactically by the system imposed on them, and that he hoped that they could coach more in an environment that would help them grow tactically.

What was offensive there to every Filipino citizen? We all love basketball here in the Philippines. It is close to being religion. It is a uniting factor as a nation, actually. Some say that Tab Baldwin is an agent of division. If indeed true, I say that he created the divide between those who play blind to what really needs to be done for a true and sustainable development of Philippine basketball, and those who are woke and aware even in their ordinary capacity to the real score and solution towards being a true basketball power.

All we want is true development despite being in a third-world realm, that we continue to compete and be among the powers that be not only in Asia but in the world stage. This sense of development is being put in place under Coach Tab, anchored on continuity from the grassroots all the way to the top level. There is no other way and we’ve seen it before with the NCC model, which remains our gold standard.

Yes, many still play blind to the real score, similar to the story of the emperor’s new clothes. There’s no room for criticism, how constructive it may be.

Coach Tab Baldwin is not perfect. But so far he has done a great deal for the sport. He does not have the monopoly of good things for Philippine basketball but I believe in his philosophy on how to steer Philippine basketball to be globally competitive despite our many limitations. In case those in the upper echelons ask for his head, it may just prove that sometimes we do not deserve to have something good because of our immaturity in handling to truth — the truth that sometimes can hurt but can lead us to where we want to go. We cannot achieve progress if we can’t be mature enough for issue-based discussions and look beyond the person delivering the message.

Yes, I maybe a small and ordinary voice but this sentiment must be heard. I am a Filipino citizen, an educator and a basketball coach and I am not offended by Coach Tab Baldwin. I find watching the National Team being thrashed by more than 50 points in the international arena more hurtful than what he said. If we want to remain in the status quo, let’s continue to be overly sensitive and sit on the fence with the false sense of nationalism of some.