Tab Baldwin says Ateneo’s title run was his best-ever season as coach
Coach Tab Baldwin looked forward to getting to work with the Ateneo Blue Eagles each and every day
Tab Baldwin has won his first championship in the Philippines.
And he got it by guiding Ateneo de Manila University right through defending champion De La Salle University fronted by back-to-back MVP Ben Mbala.
With front row seats to the individual development and the collective melding together of the Blue Eagles, Baldwin was nothing but proud. “It was a great season. I’ve had a bunch of them and this one goes down as probably the best for me,” he shared.
Those are big words coming from a tactician who has been around in the international basketball circuit, leading New Zealand to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 FIBA World Championships as well as one win in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Also, he called the shots for the national basketball teams of Malaysia, Lebanon, and Jordan and coached in the New Zealand Basketball League for almost two decades.
And yet, it was being with youngsters that has been the most special time for the now 59-year-old. “This was the one job I looked forward to coming into every day,” he said.
It wasn’t just about basketball. “They’re all good men. I’ve immensely enjoyed working with them,” he said.
He then continued, “Every guy here will have an open door to my house for all their lives.”
Indeed, the character Ateneo shown throughout the tournament was nothing but champion-worthy.
And it wasn’t just about the players either. “Unlike any coaching staff I’ve had, this was four times bigger. It was well-populated with the best guys and they all challenged me,” Baldwin said.
In the end, the champion Blue Eagles, the champion coaching staff, and the champion community made the season memorable for champion coach Tab Baldwin.
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