Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, known in Philippine basketball circle as the “Maestro”, passed away early Thursday morning (Manila time). He was 92.
Ricardo Brown, a member of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players, paid tribute to his former coach at Great Taste via his official Facebook account.
“A true iconic, Philippine Basketball legend like no other left us all last evening. You can rest in peace now, Coach,” wrote Brown, who played under the “Maestro” from 1984 to 1987 and won multiple championships in the PBA.
Nicknamed the “Quick Brown Fox”, he won the PBA Rookie of the Year in 1983 and was named the MVP in 1985.
Dalupan has a long list of achievements even before he began coaching in the PBA when the pro league was established in 1975.
Since the PBA’s birth in 1975 up until he retired from coaching in 1991, the fabled coach handled three teams: the fabled Crispa Redmanizers, Great Taste Coffee/Presto, and Purefoods.
In his 16-year PBA coaching career, Dalupan raked in 15 championships to become the league’s winningest coach in 1991. Tim Cone eventually broke his record 23 years later when he steered San Mig Coffee (now Star) to the 2014 Philippine Cup title for his 16th PBA championship.
Majority of his championships came during the PBA’s early years, having led Crispa to 10 league titles, including the pro loop’s very first Grand Slam crown in 1976.
From 1984 to 1987, Dalupan steered the Great Taster franchise to five PBA championships.
He then moved over to Purefoods, leading the then young franchise composed of former amateur standouts Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera and Jojo Lastimosa to a 0-2 hole against Alaska and winning the 1990 Third Conference title.
Before bringing his magic coaching touch in the PBA, Dalupan won a total of 12 UAAP men’s championships during the 1950s through the early 1970s as the head coach of the University of the East. – Richard Dy
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Photo taken from Ricardo Brown’s official Facebook account