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Amid Ateneo-La Salle rivalry, Tab treasures friendship with Topex

Tab Baldwin, values his friendship with Topex Robinson despite being in the middle of the rivalry between Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University.

In their very first encounter since Robinson took the helm as Green Archers head coach, Baldwin and the Blue Eagles were defeated by their archrival, 59-72, on Sunday in the 2023 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup.

But in the midst of the game, the esteemed Kiwi mentor was able to reconnect with his good friend.

“He’s a phenomenal coach, an incredible person,” expressed Baldwin.

“I consider myself fortunate every minute I get to spend with him, whether we’re sitting by a pool, discussing life, or working together to build a basketball team, even when we compete against each other.

“That’s the beauty of sports. He and I both agree that we are blessed to be a part of it, so I treasure his friendship, I value him as a competitor, and I have the utmost respect for his abilities,” he continued.

The two previously collaborated as coaches for Gilas Pilipinas in 2020 when Baldwin invited Robinson to be a part of the team representing the country in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

Since then, they have developed a strong bond, both on and off the court.

Baldwin commended Robinson for his coaching style in La Salle’s system, much like what he did when he transformed the basketball program of Lyceum of the Philippines University during the mid-2010s.

“It’s similar to how he was at Lyceum, which involves pressure basketball, transitioning to the offensive end, quick shots, defensive pressure, and full-court press. It tests your organization, fundamentals, and team cohesion,” commented Baldwin.

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Despite falling short, Baldwin commended every aspect of La Salle’s game against them. He is grateful for these preseason games as they help his players focus on areas that need improvement.

“La Salle is very good. They haven’t lost yet in the preseason. They rebound well, execute effective pressure defense, and are proficient in various aspects of the game,” remarked Baldwin on La Salle’s 8-0 record in the preseason meet.

“We were still very disjointed… that’s something we have to work on, and we appreciate the fact that these games highlight important areas that we need to focus on.”

Written By

College student in San Beda University, part of the San Beda Red Sea Lions Swim Team, and likes watching anime

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