|LEGENDARY COACH Baby Dalupan still strong although blind as he is interviewed by Philippines Today’s Eddie G. Alinea
By EDDIE G. ALINEA
MANILA (PHLTODAYUSA) — Filipino coaching legend Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, with his record 49 title victories, the most by any of his peers both here and abroad, is featured in a book titled “The Maestro of Philippine Baskeball.”
The first of its kind, the publication was prepared by his and Nenang’s seven angels — Loulie, Binky, Ebing, Tina, Ann, Jo, and Cecille — as their present to the man whose 92nd birthday he is celebrating today.
Weather permitting, the book will be launched tonight, October 18, in a meaningful ceremony with Baby himself, Nenang or Lourdes in real life (nee Gaston) and their children in attendance to greet their guests.
The affair starts at 6 p.m. at the Mariano R. Singson Jr. Hall Grade School Campus inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus where Baby started his athletic career as a basketball and football player and a be-medalled sprinter.
“Sana naman huminto na ang bagyo bukas para hindi na ma-postpone,” said Cecille, the only daughter who inherited her father’s athletic prowess having been a gymnast, who represented the country in several international competitions.
“Alam mo naman na we just returned to the counry from our respective bases overseas just for this occasion. May kanya-kanya kaming flight back home kaya we’re just praying and crossing our fingers na bumuti ang panahon bukas,” said Cecille, who is based in Denver, Colorado.
“Paki mention mo lang sa story mo for those whom we were not able to reach like his fellow coaches, players. other athletes, medka men and sportsmen na magpunta na lang sila at everybody is invited and welcome,” she said.
The bulk of Baby’s championship collection came as mentor of the University of he East, the school fonded by his father, Francisco Dalupan, which he gifted with 18 golden trophies, 12 in the UAAP, seven of them in non-stop fashion, and six intercollegiate plums.
He also owns a pair of NCAA titles with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who he guided to the crown conquest back-to-back in 1975-1976 an 1976-1977 seasons.
With the famous Crispa Redmanizers and in partnership with his kumpadre Danny Floro, Baby took home all there was to win in the pre-PBA era for a total 13 titles in the MICAA Open, MICAA All-Filipino, National Open, National Seniors, Metropolitan Open, Palarong Pilipino, Tournament of Champions and National Invitational.
The Floro-Dalupan tandem, the longest and most successful in Philippine basketball’s history, netted nine PBA championship victories before Baby moved to Great Taste Coffee, which won its only five trophies.
Baby’s brilliance calling the shots on the bench was not confined in the local scene. Then only 36 years old, he was named coach of the Philippine team that ended up a respectable 8th in the 1959 World Championship held in Chile. He also guided another national five to a title conquest in the 1971 Singapore Pesta Sukan Invitationals, besides handling, too, the PH teams in 1967 Universiade, and 1970 Asian Games.
Baby capped his colorful and successful coaching career in 1991 but not after handing then Purefoods Hotdogs their first PBA championship in the 1990 Third Conference. (Eddie G. Alinea/PHLTODAYUSA)