Sports, News, The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – It’s the holiday season, and Thomas Anthony “Tab” Baldwin is savoring the good cheer, cold weather and good vibes before 2017 is history.“Actually, I think we’ve been booted from ‘basketball heaven’,” he says with a smile over coffee outside the gated La Vista subdivision where he stays while in Manila.“It’s time to look forward to the next challenge.” The next challenges are either preparing for the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Philippine Collegiate Champions League (the team is unsure whether to participate or not as the second semester is now for catching up on studies) stint and getting ready for the summer leagues.If the Blue Eagles participate in the PCCL, they will do so without three mainstays in Chibueze Ikeh, Vince Tolentino and Kris Porter.“In all seriousness, it will be a different team now.” There is something that Ateneo’s last two American mentors (Norman Black included) have brought to the Blue Eagles — live in the moment and forget yesterday because that is done.“I think it’s nice branding that ‘we’re defending champions’.But that was last season’s team.The new team doesn’t have the three guys who have graduated.This is going to be a different team and I want the boys to get used to that mentality.There’s always the next challenge,” Baldwin continued.Make no mistake that Baldwin treasures the Eagles’ UAAP men’s basketball championship conquest, where they unseated the highly fancied La Salle Green Archers.He does.“I don’t think the level of basketball determines the magnitude of the achievement,” he reflects when asked about where this ranks amongst his accomplishments.“I won championships in New Zealand but nobody cares.You can jump up and down and say, ‘I’m a champion’ but it depends.You can take Dirk Nowitzki winning in the German second division (with DJK Wurzburg) but it doesn’t compare to him leading the Dallas Mavericks to a NBA title.I am sure he would say the magnitude of a NBA championship is different,” added Baldwin.“So a UAAP championship in the landscape of Philippine basketball is high up there in any list.For our team it is a great achievement.Personally, I am past that point in my life where I rank achievements.I don’t see them as my achievement because I genuinely believe I was part of an effort of a swell bunch of guys.Only one guy can do this interview but we all share this.” If you look at Baldwin’s view of basketball, it is about perspectives; paradigm shifts, if you will.“With Ateneo, because I was going back to kids, I made a lot of mistakes last year,” he admits.“I tried to still be a professional coach and that was a mistake.This is the biggest correction I had to make.I had to grasp the fact that I was at an academic institution where I was here to develop young men and get them to next stage of their lives.And I owe an apology to a guy like GBoy Babilonia who I didn’t guide through that.” “I learned a lot and I have to give all the credit to my assistant coaches for what they taught me for

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