Tab Baldwin challenges Pinoys in B.League to lead teams to more wins

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2022 04:25 PM

Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. UAAP Media.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. UAAP Media.


Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin challenged his former players to elevate their performance in Japan's B.League, noting that several teams with Filipino imports have languished at the bottom of the standings.

A handful of Baldwin's charges have gone on to sign for teams in the B.League, with Thirdy Ravena opening the floodgates in 2020 by signing with the San-En NeoPhoenix. Dwight Ramos, who was recruited by Baldwin but ultimately did not play in Ateneo, joined the Toyama Grouses last year.

Javi Gomez de Liano, whom Baldwin coached in Gilas Pilipinas, played one season for the Ibaraki Robots. Other Filipinos also followed: Kobe Paras signed for the Niigata Albirex BB, and Kiefer Ravena joined the Shiga Lakes.

The most successful of the Filipino imports was Ray Parks Jr., whose Nagoya Diamond Dolphins squad made the playoffs in the 2021-22 season.

"I'm really excited for them," Baldwin said of his former players who are now in the B.League. "[But] I think that they need to help their teams win more. I saw too many of their teams down near the bottom of the rankings, and I don't think that should sit well with them."

The teams of the Filipino imports struggled last season. Paras and Niigata slumped to a 7-45 record, the worst in the league. Ibaraki (16-38) also missed the playoffs. The NeoPhoenix managed just a 10-48 record, and Shiga was only slightly better at 14-43.

Toyama was in the middle of the table in the Western Conference, at 24-35. Ramos has since left the Grouses and signed with Levanga Hokkaido.

Baldwin is hopeful that the Filipino players who returned for another go-around in the B.League will do more in the coming season.

"I think they should be outspoken, I think they should be leaders," Baldwin said during an interview after Ateneo's game against the Universitas Pelita Harapan of Indonesia in the World University Basketball Series.

He told local media that he has high expectations of his players, saying: "If they wanna be great, part of being great is helping their team win."

Baldwin is pleased that the Filipino imports are enjoying their stay in Japan, but he also reminded them that they went there for a reason.

"They didn't come over here to participate. They come over here to make their teams better and win games. I think they need to do a better job of that," the coach said. "I think they need to take more responsibility."

"That's their team now. They need to bleed with their teammates, it doesn't matter where their teammates are from. That's their teammates and they need to bleed with them to win games. I wanna see them producing more wins for their team," he said.

Baldwin and the Blue Eagles are currently in Japan for the WUBS, where they are playing against university teams from Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Japan.

On Wednesday night, they recovered from an 11-point deficit to take down Chinese Taipei's National Chengchi University, 88-78.

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