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Tab Baldwin praises NBTC program for bringing home Fil-fors

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Tiebreaker Times Tab Baldwin praises NBTC program for bringing home Fil-fors ADMU Basketball NBTC News  Tab Baldwin Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy FilAm Sports USA Epok Quimpo Durham Crossover Canada Camp David New Zealand Ateneo Men's Basketball

Fil-Italian Gabriel Gomez is not the first of Ateneo de Manila University’s recruits to come from the National Basketball Training Center. 

Gomez, who played for coach Ever Cuerdo’s Italy Europe Proudly Pinoy in the National Finals, joins a Blue Eagles squad that has many like him.

There’s Matthew Daves who came from Mike Cruz’s Durham Crossover Canada; Eli Ramos from Bong Ulep’s FilAm Sports USA; and Gomez’s soon-to-be-batchmate Jordan Perez of Camp David New Zealand.

For Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin and team manager Epok Quimpo, the NBTC program has not just helped local basketball programs. It became a way for young Filipinos to return home and retrace their roots.

“I think it’s just a great thing. I think that we have so many Filipinos spread all over the world in a variety of circumstances.

“Many of them are out there in family situations, and they don’t leave their love for basketball here when they go to other places. When they end up going to places like the States, Canada, or even Greece — like where Will Navarro came from — it’s not surprising that they pop up every now and then,” said Baldwin.

“Siguro, it’s good for the players, especially at a young age. Most of them, when they come here for the NBTC, it’s their first time that they’ve been to Manila. Like any of us, going away from home is not an easy task. So the NBTC, the coaches, and the basketball associations, they made it possible for these kids to experience right away — even if hindi pa sila nagco-college — what is it like in the Philippines,” added Quimpo, as Ateneo has developed close ties with Cuerdo, Cruz, Ulep, and David Perez.

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“It helps them adjust and make decisions if they are ready to move to fly back home.”

But it’s not just colleges who benefit from the NBTC.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is also able to identify potential national team prospects with the NBTC.

With this commitment to bringing home Filipino kids from abroad and showcasing talents from the provinces as well, Baldwin believes that coach Eric Altamirano’s program will be pivotal for the federation in the years to come.

“I think that the NBTC has positioned itself to identify where this might be happening, and this has the potential to be very valuable for Philippine basketball and the SBP. You know that we at the SBP are also looking at this and trying to make sure that we are always aware when prospects pop up,” the Gilas Men’s program director bared.

“When we can get them early, we can assist them with their passport requirements. That can only be good for our national program as well. No matter how you look at it, it’s a positive thing and hope that it may continue.”

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