Belangel says Ateneo’s Japan title run testament to Tab Baldwin’s winning system
MANILA, Philippines — For former Blue Eagle SJ Belangel, Ateneo may have lost several key players but coach Tab Baldwin’s system will always bring the team to greater heights.
Despite the departures of Belangel, Raffy Verano, Gian Mamuyac, and Tyler Tio and the absence of center Ange Kouame due to knee injury, Baldwin’s system continued to work wonders as the new-look Ateneo ruled the World University Basketball Series in Japan.
Korea-bound Belangel, who watched the game through livestreaming while he was on the way to Jalen Green’s promotional tour on Thursday, was hardly surprised with the Blue Eagles’ success in the international pocket tournament.
“It proved that the system is always there. Whether (some of) the players are out and there are a lot of newcomers, the system we built with coach Tab remains,” said the Gilas Pilipinas guard.
“Whether you like it or not, andoon pa rin. Magcha-champion pa rin kahit anong mangyari, basta sumunod ka lang,” he added.
[Whether you like it or not, the system is still there and it will win a championship as long as you follow (coach Tab).]
Dave Ildefonso propelled Ateneo’s title-clinching victory over Tokai University of Japan, 68-59. The Blue Eagles also dominated Universitas Pelita Harapan of Indonesia by 86 points and staved off National Chengchi University of Chinese Taipei on their way to the championship.
“I’m just proud while watching them. I’m so happy for them, especially for Coach Tab,” said Belangel, who shared that he will call his coach and teammates before he flies to Korea.
The 23-year-old guard knew that Kai Ballungay would come out of his shell, embarking on a new era for the Blue Eagles.
“I’m not surprised with Kai’s performance. Kai has been waiting for that moment, especially he didn’t play last time due to residency and papers. And, for me, he showed why he’s gonna be the future of Ateneo,” Belangel said. “I’m excited for his UAAP career.”
Belangel was also impressed by newcomer Paul Garcia, who proved his worth in the tournament.
“And of course, Paul Garcia, I saw his highlights and he proved it. He proved it there (in WUBS) that he’s worth it,” he said.
The Ateneo standout is expected to arrive in Korea on Friday evening to start his training with Daegu KOGAS Pegasus for his pro debut in the 2022-23 Korean Basketball League (KBL).
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