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Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles


As another season comes to a close, Tab Baldwin bids goodbye to a new set of seniors.

But unlike the time he let go of Thirdy Ravena, the Nieto twins, Isaac Go, and Adrian Wong some three years ago, the circumstances this time around were different.

UAAP-82-MBB-Finals-G2-ADMU-vs.-UST-ADMU-seniors-4536 Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

The quintet of Tyler Tio, Gian Mamuyac, Raffy Verano, BJ Andrade, and Jolo Mendoza will be leaving Ateneo de Manila University with a loss.

But after tears were shed on Friday night after the Blue Eagles absorbed a heartbreaker in their title decider against University of the Philippines, Baldwin made sure to talk to his seniors.

“You know, we spend a lot of time together, over a lot of years, and when that time comes to say goodbye, whether you win or lose – it’s really more difficult when you lose… But when it’s time to say goodbye, you just say the truth,” said Baldwin.

“And the truth is, they have a lot to be proud of.”

Mamuyac had grown the most out of the five.

UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G3-Gian-Mamuyac-1285 Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

A shy boy coming out of Ateneo High School, the 6-foot-2 swiss army knife developed not just as a better shooter. He also became a more vocal leader in his final year.

Tio, a lethal scorer, became a better court general under Baldwin.

UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G2-Tyler-Tio-3171-1 Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Andrade, meanwhile, grew out of his shell during his final year.

UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G3-Raffy-Verano-1269 Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

Finally, Verano and Mendoza not only grew as players but also as students in their long stay in Ateneo.

UAAP-84-MBB-ADMU-vs.-UP-Finals-G3-Tab-Baldwin-1266 Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“Personally, I now have five friends who I did not have two hours ago.

“They were my players, but they’ve all developed and they will become good pros,” said Baldwin. “I’m just proud to say that I will be very humbled and thankful for their friendship.”

Everyone knows what is next for Mamuyac and Tio. They will be one of the 66 players that have thrown their names in the 2022 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday.

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Andrade and Mendoza, meanwhile, will look to go on the same route as their seniors like Anton Asistio and Aaron Black by honing their craft in the MPBL first.

Then multiple sources closely monitoring the situation have told Tiebreaker Times that Verano is attracting interest from overseas leagues – namely teams from the Korean Basketball League.

Wherever they land, Baldwin knows that his boys will flourish.

UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-Ateneo-vs-UP-Ateneo-4-scaled Baldwin pays tribute to five graduating Blue Eagles ADMU Basketball News UAAP  - philippine sports news

“They don’t feel it right now but what they’ve given to the program is much more than what they received. Everyone of them, as a man, said no. That’s the measure of the men that they are. They know that I will always be there to support them.”

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