Hindi alintana ni Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin na makitang nag-eenjoy ang Pinoy basketball fans sa paglalaro ni San Antonio Spurs superstar Tony Parker sa bansa.
Ito’y basta makuha lamang ng American-Kiwi tactician ang kanilang pakay sa paparating na Olympic qualifying tournament na gaganapin sa Pilipinas.
Ayon kay Baldwin, nakatuon ang kanyang pansin hindi kay Parker o sa sino mang darating na NBA players sa bansa.
“I hope they enjoy that and they are thrilled by the opportunity to see these great players. But, you know, my job is to make Tony Parker’s day against Gilas the worst day of his life and that’s what I’m going to try to do,” pahayag ni Baldwin.
Umaasa naman si Baldwin na mabubuo niya ang isang koponan na ang nasa isipan ay magtagumpay bilang isang solid squad at hindi ang tipo ng koponan na aasa sa iilang superstar lamang.
“They earned their reputations through their performances over the years. Whatever their standing is in terms of fans and the media, they don’t think much about that. They go out and simply take care of business. That’s what I’ll try to do,” pahayag ni Baldwin.
Kakalabanin ng Pilipinas ang New Zealand at France sa unang dalawang laro nito kung saan ang top two squads ng grupo ang uusad sa crossover phase na may knockout format.
Ang Canada, Turkey at Senegal ang bubuo naman ng kabilang grupo sa Manila meet.
Sa kabila nito, buo pa rin ang loob ni Baldwin na magiging maganda ang resulta ng kanilang kampanya
”We’re blessed here in the Philippines with this group and that we’re going to see the great players in world basketball and great teams. We have to really be on top of our game when we look to playing teams like France and Canada,” sambit ni Baldwin “They’re going to be extremely tough. There’s no lack of motivation, these games are not for fun. This is for the berth in the Olympics and only one team is going to go.”
Ang Olympic Qualifying Tournament ay gaganapin Hulyo 5-10 sa Mall of Asia Arena sa Pasay City. (DENNIS PRINCIPE)