PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa joined the rest of the Philippine sports community in mourning for the death of Filipino legendary coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan.
The first-year league commissioner described the 92-year-old Dalupan as someone who “raised the prestige of a basketball coach so high that he inspired many others to follow in his footsteps.”
“Many words have already been used to describe the greatness of the man, brilliant, courageous, innovative, magical, determined, etc., until eventually he was aptly described as ‘an imaginative mentor, an artist with delicate brush strokes molding obscure fellows into methodical, conspiring cage killers,’” Narvasa said in an official statement on Thursday.
“His presence did not diminish his players’ talents but instead nurtured these and made them better.”
Despite the challenges Dalupan faced along the way, Narvasa honored the man known in basketball circle as “the Maestro” for “conducting himself with integrity, dignity, class, decency and respect for others.”
“Yet in spite of all his achievements and recognitions, the man remained incredibly humble,” he said.
“To Tita Nenang and family of Coach Baby, on behalf of the PBA community, please accept our sincerest sympathies on his passing. He will forever be engraved in our hearts as the Father of Philippine basketball coaches.”
“To Coach Baby, thank you for all your contributions and for sharing your life with us. May you forever rest in perpetual happiness,” Narvasa said.
Dalupan, who would have turned 93 this October, was inducted to the PBA’s Hall of Fame in 2005.
Other than winning 15 PBA titles, including the Grand Slam with Crispa in 1976, he also won over 12 UAAP men’s basketball championships as head coach of the University of the East Red Warriors.
Since his retirement from PBA coaching after the 1991 season, the PBA Press Corps Coach of the Year Award was eventually named after Dalupan in recognition of the “Maestro”. – Richard Dy
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Photo taken from the official Instagram account of former UE Red Warrior Robert Labagala