18 August 2016

Thank You Coach Baby Dalupan (1923-2016)!

Coach Baby Dalupan
All Filipino basketball coaches and players who appreciated the game would remember all the things the legendary Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan has brought to game. It is expected that a tribute will be organized soon after the decorated coach died last 17 August at the age of 92.

Dalupan, nicknamed "The Maestro," won a staggering 52 championships during a coaching career that spanned five decades, beginning in 1955 with the University of the East and ending in 1993 with his alma mater, the Ateneo de Manila University.

Former player, coach and Senator Robert Jaworski said he considers Dalupan, his mentor, the greatest PBA coach of all time. "People say that Dalupan was lucky to have star-studded teams in Crispa and Great Taste, but the truth is, it is harder for a coach to handle 12 spoiled brats on his team and Dalupan was able to do that well."

Coach Dalupan was known for shuffling his lineups from game to game and giving all players a chance to shine. Even though Jaworski ended up battling Dalupan as part of Toyota in the PBA, he installed a similar style to that of his mentor when he became playing coach of Ginebra.

For 23 years, Dalupan held the record of most PBA titles won by a head coach with 15, until Tim Cone broke it in February 2014.

On Twitter, Cone expressed his devastation at the news of Dalupan's death.

"I'm so heartbroken," said Cone, now the coach of Ginebra. "We lost a truly good man, and the greatest coach. I will miss him terribly."

I just now heard about Coach Baby's passing. I'm so heartbroken. We lost a truly good man and the greatest coach. I will miss him terribly.

"What I will remember about Coach Baby is how far ahead of his time he was, and what a wonderful father he was to his daughters. All of us in the PBA need to honor Coach Baby," he added.

In a statement, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said it "deeply mourn(s)" the passing of Dalupan, who aside from his achievements in the PBA and collegiate leagues also coached the national team five times.

"We will miss Coach Baby," the SBP said. "But we will fondly keep him in our hearts and minds, always remembering his immeasurable contribution to Philippine basketball."

Ricardo Brown, the great Filipino-American guard who won titles with Dalupan for Great Taste in the early 1980s, said "The Maestro" was a true icon and legend of Philippine basketball.

Meralco Bolts forward Jared Dillinger, for his part, said that it is also a time to "rejoice for everything coach Baby Dalupan has done for Philippine basketball."

Dalupan's wake will be held at the Ateneo campus on Thursday night.

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