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3D Global Sports coach sings praises of Tab Baldwin, Ateneo Pilipinas

Many have expressed their admiration for the character displayed by the Chooks-to-Go-powered Ateneo Pilipinas during the recently-concluded 40th William Jones Cup.

From the gallant stands they put up for eight straight days to the compassion they showed on and off the court, the defending UAAP Men’s Basketball Champions showed what Philippine basketball is all about.

One of the figures who expressed their admiration of the Blue Eagles and their head coach Tab Baldwin was none other than 3D Global Sports Canada mentor Chris Oliver.

When the two teams squared off last July 17, Ateneo Pilipinas fell to the Canadian squad, 78-86. But they still climbed back from a 27-point deficit to give 3D Global Sports a late scare.

“The level of play from the Ateneo team was impressive. Consistently, effort and resiliency was on display in all the games I watched,” recalled Oliver, the head coach of the men’s basketball team of University of Windsor.

“Our game was a great example of a team that loves to compete for each other, as they responded to the first half deficit with a passion to play better, and they did. Knowing that age group, I know what a tremendous achievement their showing was at the tournament.”

The program of 3D Sports Global is just like Ateneo’s sports program, where they give young Canadians a chance to hone their craft through various tournaments.

For the second straight year, the team was able to win the Jones Cup with a 7-1 record – their sole loss came at the hands of South Korea during Day 8 of the pocket tournament.

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But their game against the Blue Eagles was one of the more memorable games during their campaign in Taiwan.

According to the youthful head coach, what stood out for Ateneo Pilipinas was how committed they were to following Baldwin’s system.

“It’s not fair for me to center out one player as the collective was what I was impressed with,” replied Oliver when pressed about who among the Blue Eagles had impressed him the most. “Clearly, there was some impressive individual talent, but the depth of commitment to team play was what most stood out to me.”

Besides the Blue Eagles’ performance, there was also one moment Oliver lauded about the team.

During the opening quarter of the game, Mamadou Guaye tried to check into the contest. However, his name was not part of the team’s start list – making him ineligible for the contest.

Baldwin, ever the competitor, tried to plead with the organizers to let him play.

“No, I wasn’t surprised. It’s what good coaches do,” Oliver reflected about that moment. “It was a mistake of our staff, not the individual player, so to punish the player was unnecessary.

“Having coached as many years as coach Tab, I would expect him to always side on common sense and support for players whether on his team or others,” he added.

“It was just a reflection of his love for the spirit of the game.”

All throughout the tournament, Oliver bonded with Baldwin. And he is hoping to have the decorated head coach as a guest on his podcast on Basketball Immersion.

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Seeing how passionate the Blue Eagles – and the OFWs in attendance – were about basketball, the native of Windsor, Ontario hopes that he can visit the Philippines one day. As teacher of the game, he knows that he will learn a lot more about the sport here.

“What is next for me? I do not know. The opportunity was incredible and I am grateful to have experienced the Jones Cup,” Oliver shared.

“I am open to any future opportunities and I would love to visit the Philippines. I have traveled to many places in the world but [have] yet to make it to one of the most passionate basketball countries in the world,” he admitted.

“When I do I know I will fall in love with the passion fans, players, and coaches have for the game.”

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