Gilas Pilipinas head coach and Talk ‘N Text consultant Tab Baldwin believes the PBA can gain more fans by allowing supposed physical players to do their stuff inside the basketball court.
While he is concerned about players’ safety, Baldwin said legit tough guys know their boundaries and allowing them to play their game would inject the needed on-court excitement.
Baldwin mentioned the likes of Beau Belga of Rain or Shine and San Miguel’s Ryan Araña who possess the kind of toughness that would actually prevent out-of-hand situations from happening, should they be allowed to play the way they play.
“You knew they were out there as an enforcer and, everybody knew there were boundaries and if you crossed those lines, those guys we’re gonna bring the game back into the alignment correctly,” said Baldwin “They weren’t castigated for that. They weren’t seen as guys that didn’t belong in the game. They weren’t kicked out of games.”
Baldwin believes these so-called physical players are often misunderstood and that most of them have no intention of injuring fellow players.
“I think we’ve taken away the right of the physical player to introduce the real tough aspect to the game which I think is an important entertainment factor,” said Baldwin. “They play clever, tough, basketball like Chris Tiu.
Chris is one of the most clever players in the PBA and now he’s being neutered almost in his ability to use his cleverness.”
Being a newly-appointed league chief, PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa may well be in a favorable position to instill the changes needed to make the games more exciting and entertaining, at least in the eyes of Baldwin.
“I think he has all the say right now because he is determining what the referees interpretations are going to be,” said Baldwin.
At the moment the league is reliant on crowd-drawing teams Brgy. Ginebra and Star Hotshots, two squads who have established huge followings mainly because of their acquisition of charismatic players.
Other teams, particularly those who are in the ongoing PBA semifinals, have accomplished countless championships but still pales in comparison with Star and Ginebra in terms of fans’ endearment. (DENNIS PRINCIPE)