Manny V. Pangilinan

Manny V. Pangilinan believes everyone, including himself, is accountable for the situation that led to the sudden coaching change in Gilas Pilipinas three weeks before plunging into action in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

Pangilinan, speaking for the first time since Chot Reyes was brought back to call the shots for the national team in lieu of Tab Baldwin, admitted that the situation related to the pandemic left the program at a standstill which he also said should be used as an excuse.

“Kasi walang nangyari diba? COVID, that’s principally the reason. Pero walang nag-iisip. Everybody’s to blame, including myself,” Pangilinan said in the program The Chiefs that aired on One News, a cable news channel which is part of his media entity.

“Wala kaming ginawa over the course of maybe not exactly two years, but certainly more than one year, walang nangyari. So we have to start all over again,” he added.

The chairman emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas understands that constant inactivity of the Gilas program prompted players who were part of the pool to sign with overseas clubs while others are set to suit up for PBA teams.

Gilas has not been active since August when it placed fourth in the King Abdullah Cup, a pocket tournament held in Amman, Jordan.

“Japan has been taking players away from us,” Pangilinan said. “Correct naman yun kasi yung mga players naman anu ginagawa dito? These guys are built to run and to compete and they’ve been lying still for more than a year, so I can sympathize with everyone who wants to play elsewhere and earn money.”

The SBP placed Reyes back on the role as Gilas coach last Jan. 31, saying that Baldwin stepped down to focus on the Ateneo program for the planned resumption of the UAAP season next month.

There have been speculations that Baldwin may have been removed from his Gilas post for his role in some Gilas players signing for teams in Japan’s B.League, but both PBA chairman Ricky Vargas and SBP president Al Panlilio called the accusations as baseless.

Pangilinan said he had a talk with Baldwin a few weeks ago where they discussed both the Ateneo and Gilas program.

“Then, he called me one weekend and said that he’s been thinking that — this is my recollection — in reflection, it might be good for him to stay with Ateneo, and for the SBP to nominate a coach for Gilas,” he recalled.

Source: Manila Bulletin (