Tab's on Baldwin - Business Mirror - 4 minutes read

Tab's on Baldwin

BEST Filipino college coach and best foreign coach in the land? Aldin Ayo of University of Santo Tomas (UST) and Tab Baldwin of Ateneo are.

The Blue Eagles scaled the mountaintop when they clinched their third straight title on Wednesday.

Baldwin put everything on the drawing board, rallying behind the history-making 16-0 sweep of the season for a total of 26-game run from last year.

The American-Kiwi coach put together the foundation of the three-peat winning squad, and he might be on the lead when Ateneo attempts to duplicate—or even surpass—the five titles Norman Black won with the likes of Greg Slaughter, Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva.

Despite the loss to the Blue Eagles, Ayo considers the stewardship of Baldwin as beneficial to the local basketball community.

“Coach Tab…a lot of coaches are learning from him,” Ayo said after their 79-86 loss in Game Two of the UAAP Finals on Wednesday.

“[I learned his] approach on the game. The x’s and o’s. Every time you compete [against him], you can see how he handles the game, and then the learning goes from it,” Ayo said.

Head-to-head in the Finals, Baldwin has the upperhand—2-1.

They first met in the championship series when the Ayo-coached De La Salle beat Ateneo in Season 79.

The Blue Eagles earned another shot the following year, and exacted payback against the Green Archers to even the score for Baldwin.

This Finals served as the tiebreaker, with Baldwin sweeping Ayo and the Growling Tigers in two games.

“I think that, to be honest, our respect as coaches for another is there. What kind of fool would I be if I didn’t respect what he puts on the court. It’s really outstanding, the way his team plays,” Baldwin said.

Ayo, meanwhile, still finds a gem in the rubble after getting tossed in two.

“We tried our best but it just wasn’t enough,” Ayo said. “They [Ateneo] really played well. Hats off to them.”

Unlike in Game One where the Katipunan dribbles manhandled UST from tip-off, the second match was a different show as Ayo’s Tigers displayed character and poise that were missing in the series opener.

Yet, the resistance got doomed when the Blue Eagles—led by the three-time Finals Most Valuable Player Thirdy Ravena—slapped the Tigers with a dose of reality that the throne solely belongs to the boys in blue.

For Ayo, who is in his second year in España following his transfer from De La Salle, saw nothing but lessons to take home.

“Ito ‘yung sakit nafor sure na matututo kami. Next season, madadala namin ‘yungexperience namin this season, especially sanine rookies namin,” the mentor said.

Renzo Subido and Zach Huang bid goodbye to their collegiate careers, but UST remains as dangerous with Most Valuable Player Soulemane Chabi Yo and Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy still holding the mantle for the Tigers next year.

Ayo also considers the season as a big jump from their performance in Season 81 where they ended up in sixth place.

“Well, I can say yes [improvement from past programs]. We always want to improve eh. Last year, we ended up sixth. This year, we made it to the Finals. Our mind-set is, even if we made it here, madami pa kaming kulang at dapat trabahuin. We’ll make sure na ’yung experience namin, matututo kami,” he said.

UST finished the eliminations in fourth spot with an 8-6 won-loss record. The squad hurdled knockout games against Far Eastern University and University of the Philippines, before challenging giant Ateneo.


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FilipinosAldin AyoUniversity of Santo TomasUniversity of Santo TomasTab BaldwinAteneo de Manila UniversityAteneo Blue EaglesNew ZealandThree-peatNorman BlackGreg SlaughterKiefer RavenaNico SalvaAteneo Blue EaglesBasketballCommunity CoachUniversity Athletic Association of the PhilippinesDe La Salle UniversityAteneo Blue EaglesUAAP Season 79Ateneo Blue EaglesThe Payback (song)De La Salle Green ArchersUST Growling TigersWhat Kind of Fool (Heard All That Before)Katipunan AvenueAteneo Blue EaglesKiefer RavenaThe Boys in BlueKami, KōchiChabiMickey MantleNa Yung DistrictKamiFar Eastern UniversityUniversity of the PhilippinesAteneo de Manila University