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Baldwin hopes Filipinos won’t give Parker warm welcome in Manila

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Philippine team head coach Tab Baldwin has a stern warning for Tony Parker four months before the NBA star and his formidable France team come to town for the Olympic qualifying tournament: That warm Filipino welcome will be hellacious.

 

Parker may be well-loved all over the world as a four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, but to Baldwin, he could face a hostile crowd in this basketball-loving country.

“We will welcome him to Manila and I hope the kababayans welcome him in a way that only the Filipino fans can welcome an opposing player. And a player who will be - in that situation when we play them - very much disliked in this country,” Baldwin told reporters after wrapping up a productive practice session Monday, Feb. 29, night.

A two-time Fiba Europe Player of the Year, Parker alone makes France a favorite to win the only ticket to the Rio Olympics at stake in the Manila qualifiers in July.

Parker will be Gilas Pilipinas’ top priority on the defensive end and the way Baldwin sees it, to the sport’s most passionate fans, the 33-year-old could very well be the Filipinos’ public enemy No. 1.

 

“The day after we can love Tony for the all the wonderful things that he is and has given to the game of basketball and he represents. But on that day he could possibly be public enemy No. 1. And if a hundred million fans denote him as public enemy no. 1 then he should have a relatively uncomfortable day.” Inquirer.net

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