Mendoza: Baldwin perfect as national team coach?

Al Mendoza

ALMOST every pundit now wants Tab Baldwin to coach the national basketball team.

It is a sound idea.

Baldwin, the cool Kiwi-American previously based in New Zealand, has just coached Ateneo to a “three-peat” feat in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball championship.

First, he beat La Salle in 2017 for Ateneo’s return to the UAAP throne.

Second, he stopped UP-Diliman’s fairytale dream of a first UAAP crown in nearly 35 years for Ateneo’s back-to-back titles.

And third, he engineered a record 16-game sweep in UAAP history in piloting Ateneo to a third straight championship past UST.

It can’t get any better than that.

And with the way he fashioned out his triple crown affair, Baldwin’s style of whipping a team into a winning squad has now become microscope stuff.

Abel Manliclic, a keen basketball observer, said of Baldwin: “He is so ahead of his fellow coaches in the UAAP that his coaching knowledge and skills are really suited for the national team.”

That is so true.

Just watching the Blue Eagles execute plays is like seeing Chopin play the piano nonstop, if not listening to Paganini manhandle his violin on a moonlit night.

All done under the Baldwin baton bathed in the science of orchestration.

“But these virtuoso performances by the boys happened because they had the Spartan discipline to obey their coach every step of the way,” said Arben Santos, a diehard Ateneo supporter for the longest time.

Recall the fact MVP made Baldwin coach his PBA team.


“The pros in this country are not willing to surrender their pride,” said another cage guru. “They think they know better than Baldwin.”

Thus, MVP, Baldwin’s patron, saw it wise to ship his find to the amateur backyard.

Ateneo was the perfect site—MVP being one of the most zealous supporters of the Blue Eagles for the longest time.

So that unless Baldwin gets uprooted from Katipunan and tapped for a national coaching mission, Ateneo’s UAAP reign might remain unchallenged for quite a while.

Boring Baldwin in the offing?