CEBU CITY – Ateneo and Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin hailed the NBTC defending champion Sacred Heart-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles team for establishing a winning culture during his visit to the Canduman campus in an effort to foster better relations with ADMU's sister schools and alumni.
Shortly after landing, Baldwin, together with Ateneo team manager Epok Quimpo and athletic director Em Fernandez, headed to the school and gave some pointers to the Magis Eagles, who are preparing for their title defense in the NBTC National High School Championships next week in Manila.
“I was impressed with Coach Rommel (Rasmo), his staff and the Sacred Heart Magis Eagles. Maybe some future Blue Eagles,” hinted Baldwin, who is getting the hang of things as the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
“I’m just really enjoying the challenge of working with young players. They’re responding great, their energy is infectious. I’m getting old so it’s nice to be surrounded by young people,” he added with a smile.
Baldwin though, tempered expectations for the Blue Eagles bannered by new and young talent in the wake of two-time MVP Kiefer Ravena and veteran gunner Von Pessumal's departure.
“It’s hard for me to say now what we’re going to look like and what we’re going to look like compared to the competition because I don’t have anything to compare us to. I like what we’ve got. I like the attitude of the players, their work ethic. And usually when those things are in place, good things will happen,” said the veteran mentor.
Still, he admitted that there will be plenty of lessons to be learned by this current crop of Blue Eagles, from now until the UAAP tournament’s start later this year.
“You recognize the need for more discipline in that environment, the need for more teaching. The role of coach always has an element of teaching to it but when you’re working with kids who have had much less experience with the game, teaching is the compensating factor. I find they’re really receptive. They’re students of the game,” bared Baldwin.