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Worlds vet Baldwin helping Philippines put together winning pieces
SEVILLA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Vincent "Chot" Reyes is participating in his first world event at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. But the Philippines head coach has a veteran coach alongside him who knows a thing or two about this level of competition.
Tab Baldwin burst onto the international scene in 2002 when he guided New Zealand to the Semi-Finals of the FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, ultimately finishing fourth. Baldwin then coached the Tall Blacks at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan. Baldwin coached at his fourth World Championship in 2010 as he led Lebanon in Turkey.
After four appearances as head coach at FIBA's flagship event, the 56-year-old is at Spain 2014 as a technical consultant for Reyes - the same position Baldwin served last summer at the FIBA Asia Championship.
"They invited me to come back so I must have done something all right," joked Baldwin, who coached the Jordan national team following his stint with Lebanon.
"I really enjoy the environment that Chot creates. He does a great job building a real family atmosphere and you can see that in the number of people around us. His management skills are outstanding and his technical knowledge is very good. I just contribute where I can and where he asks me to."
Reyes guided the Philippines to their first appearance on the world stage since 1978. And the 51-year-old coach knew he needed to bring in experienced people to help him.
"This is our first time here, including me as a coach. I have no idea about this," Reyes admitted.
"I think it's foolish of me to come in here and think I can do this by myself. Tab has been to four World Championships. He's been to the Olympics. We got him in the last FIBA Asia because he coached Lebanon and Jordan so he's our Middle East guy. He gives us his insight into how to play those teams. That's why he continues to be here with us."
When asked if there are any similarities between the Philippines team in Spain and his successful New Zealand teams, Baldwin said: "Stylistically, it's much different. With the Philippines, it's all about speed. With the Tall Blacks it was all about muscle and imposing our will on other teams. And now we have to try to impose our style on other teams."
Baldwin said one of the keys for Reyes and the rest of his staff is to help manufacture and develop true belief among the players.
"It's gotta be real and it's gotta come from how you play and the results that you get," he explained.
"But really it's something that we're not going to go in and look at these other teams and say we're better than them and think we're going to beat them. We have to go in and break the game down into its smallest pieces and understand that we can win a lot of those pieces. Can we put enough of them together to win a game? That's the question."
Baldwin is hoping he can help Reyes and the Philippines get the answer they want.