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    Great coaches left an indelible mark with their UAAP teams

    Mar 30, 2020

    PLAYERS win games, coaches lose 'em.

    True.

    Yet there's no denying that in the collegiate game, young players won't get what they achieved if not for the guidance and direction set by the coaches.

    Spin.ph decided to dig deep into the archives and toast the coaches that left an indelible mark for each time in UAAP history.

    Best UAAP coaches

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    Adamson - Moises Urbiztondo

    Little had been written about Adamson's only UAAP championship which the Soaring Falcons won in 1977 behind a great guard named Hector Calma.

    And the one to steer them to the top of the mountain? Coach Moises "Barok" Urbiztondo.

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    Adamson nipped UP, 81-79 in the championship match to bring the trophy to San Marcelino for the first and so far only time.

    It was actually supposed to be a face-off between Adamson and FEU, but a number of Tamaraws, most notably Bai Cristobal, were found to have played in a "ligang labas" for Bureau of Plant Industry, leading to the Tamaraws forfeiting their Finals spot.

    What made Urbiztondo's success in that UAAP Season 40 all the more impressive was that he also led Adamson's juniors squad to the championship, the Baby Falcons' second crown in three years.

    Best UAAP coaches

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    Ateneo - Norman Black

    Big things were expected from Norman Black the moment he took the job at Ateneo in 2005. And when he left Katipunan seven years later, he further cemented his place among the top coaches the country has ever seen.

    A grand slam winner in the PBA, Black weaved his magic in the UAAP, steering Ateneo to the finals in just his second year at the helm, albeit in a runner-up finish to UST in 2006.

    Two years later, the Blue Eagles won the UAAP Season 71 title behind Season MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Finals MVP Nonoy Baclao, and Mythical Team member Chris Tiu.

    Not even the graduation of the twin tower combo of Al-Hussaini and Baclao could stop Ateneo's success in 2010, with Black drawing out the best from Finals MVP Ryan Buenafe.

    That success only set the Blue Eagles up for two more titles, leaning on the duo of Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena to complete the five-peat and give Black the fitting sendoff before he was installed as the head coach of Talk 'N Text in the PBA.

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    Best UAAP coaches

    La Salle - Franz Pumaren

    Pressure was on Franz Pumaren to live up to the legacy his father Pilo and older brother Derrick had in La Salle.

    It turned out he'd eclipse those achievements and become the most successful mentor in the school's storied basketball history.

    Taking over from Jong Uichico in 1998, Pumaren immediately guided the Green Archers to the UAAP Season 61 title behind Don Allado and Renren Ritualo.

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    That was the first of the historic four-peat for the Taft side which also saw players like Dino Aldeguer, Willy Wilson, Mon Jose, as well as a younger batch led by Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, and Joseph Yeo contribute to the dynasty in Taft.

    Pumaren's run also didn't escape controversy as his term saw La Salle forfeit its championship in 2004, leading to a UAAP suspension in 2006.

    However, the Green Archers redeemed themselves the following season as the side, now led by Rico Maierhofer, TY Tang, and co-Finals MVP JVee Casio and Cholo Villanueva, won the UAAP Season 70 crown.

    Best UAAP coaches

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    FEU - Turo Valenzona

    Far Eastern University boasts of having the most UAAP men's basketball titles won with 20. And the Tamaraws only have coach Turo Valenzona to thank for the bulk of those.

    It was the former FEU guard who steered his alma mater to 11 UAAP titles, with his first coming in 1972 where his side denied UE of an eighth straight title.

    Valenzona was also the architect of the Tamaraws' dominance in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with American center Anthony Williams, together with Glenn Capacio, Danilo Manalastas, and Bai Cristobal completing a three-peat from 1979 to 1981.

    His last title in Morayta was in 1991, when FEU, then bannered by Season MVP Johnny Abarrientos and Vic Pablo, took home the UAAP Season 54 crown. That last trophy was a controversial one as FEU lodged a protest and La Salle was a no-show in the replay.

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    No issue, however, could deny Valenzona's stake as the best in Morayta, winning 11 crowns in his 20-year tenure for FEU.

    Best UAAP coaches

    NU - Eric Altamirano

    National University was hell-bent on shedding its tag as the UAAP's perennial whipping boys. And in 2011, the Bulldogs entrusted their future to Eric Altamirano.

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    The mild-mannered mentor quickly instilled a change in mindset and turned NU from cellar-dwellers to legitimate contenders in the early 2010s behind two-time Season MVP Bobby Ray Parks.

    But it wasn't until 2014 when the Bulldogs finally broke through, with the side led by Gelo Alolino, Troy Rosario, Glenn Khobuntin, and Finals MVP Alfred Aroga capturing the UAAP Season 77 throne.

    It was the first time NU won the UAAP men's basketball title in 60 years, when it was still coached by Leonardo "Skip" Guinto.

    Best UAAP coaches

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    UE - Baby Dalupan

    No one at University of the East - and the league for that matter - comes close to the achievements Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan had with the Red Warriors.

    Taking over from Olympian Gabby Fajardo, "The Maestro" engineered the Recto side to 12 UAAP crowns. His first title came in 1957 with soon-to-be legendary coach Pilo Pumaren being part of his crew.

    Dalupan's players are a who's who of future coaches, with Roehl Nadurata (who won the 1960 UAAP MVP), Jimmy Mariano, and Nat Canson all donning the red-and-white in the early 1960s.

    Soon enough, Robert Jaworski found his way to UE and partnered with Virgilio Abarrientos, uncle of PBA legend Johnny, to deliver the UAAP Season 28 crown back in 1965.

    That started a seven-year dominance for the Red Warriors from 1965 to 1971, which also saw players like Manuel Acuna, Rudolf Kutch, Johnny Revilla, and Alex Azurin play for Dalupan.

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    Dalupan ended his tenure in UE in 1971 with 12 championships to boot as he returned to his alma mater Ateneo to win back-to-back NCAA titles, and later on, winning 15 rings in the PBA across his time for Crispa, Great Taste/Presto, and Purefoods.

    Best UAAP coaches

    UP - Joe Lipa

    Joe Lipa's lore will forever be intertwined with University of the Philippines' memorable 1986 run to the UAAP Season 49 crown.

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    Featuring the likes of Season MVP Eric Altamirano and upstarts Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Joey Guanio, the Fighting Maroons staged a dream run and finally helped the Diliman side make their mark in men's basketball.

    Seeded No. 2 after the elimination phase, UP had to face a favored and three-peat-seeking UE side, flanked by Jerry Codinera, which owned a twice-to-beat advantage in the finals.

    The Fighting Maroons fought on, stunning the Red Warriors, 86-75 in Game One to force the winner-take-all affair before repeating with a 98-89 Game Two victory.

    It remains as the greatest accomplishment of Lipa in his storied career, rivaling only the Philippines' bronze medal finish in the 1986 Asian Games.

    Lipa would return to UP anew in 1994 and again in 2006 but could no longer recapture the miracle he had in 1986.

    Best UAAP coaches

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    UST - Aric del Rosario

    Not a lot of people remember Aric del Rosario's first time in charge at his alma mater, coaching University of Santo Tomas from 1985 to 1987 where he handled Pido Jarencio in his final playing year.

    Yet it was his second try where the former Glowing Goldie brought glory back to Espana.

    Returning to call the shots in 1993 from Fred Reyes, del Rosario anchored the Dennis Espino-led Growling Tigers to a perfect 14-0 run in UAAP Season 56 in his first season back and ended a 29-year title drought.

    He formed a potent UST crew which also featured the likes of Bal David, Rey Evangelista, Patrick Fran, Udoy Belmonte, Edmund Reyes, and Siot Tanquingcen, to name a few, which made it one of the most celebrated men's basketball programs in the country.

    Even after Espino's graduation in 1994, the Growling Tigers were able to sustain their drive. Behind UAAP MVP Chris Cantonjos, Rookie of the Year Gerard Francisco, and studs Richard Yee, and Dale Singson, UST won two more titles, both at the expense of rival La Salle, as it completed a four-year dominance from 1993 to 1996.

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    He remained on the job and kept the Growling Tigers contenders in the following years despite serving as assistants to Tim Cone in Alaska and Joel Banal in Talk 'N Text in the PBA, before departing in 2003.

    His four championships remain three short of Herminio 'Herr' Silva's seven with the Glowing Goldies from 1946 to 1954, but del Rosario no doubt left an indelible mark in the school's rich basketball history.

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