Norman Black: No one can surpass Baby Dalupan
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the many decades that have passed, the legacy and influence of late coach Baby Dalupan continues to permeate Philippine basketball to this day.
The tales of his championship conquests from the 50s to the 80s still ring through the halls of arenas in the 21st century, and his legend lives on through the stories of those who saw him – passed on from one generation to another.
It is for this reason that Norman Black, a great coach in his own right, believes Dalupan’s impact is unmatched.
“I think he set the standard, particularly at the pro level. He and Tommy Manotoc really set the standard for all of us as far being able to accomplish success, being able to go out and win championships,” he said on a rainy afternoon on Saturday, August 20.
“He was the guy that we had to follow. Tim Cone has surpassed him in a way as far as wins are concerned, but I don't think anybody can surpass him as far as his impact on basketball here in the Philippines.”
The 58-year-old Black saw first-hand the brilliance of “The Maestro” when he played for Dalupan at Great Taste in 1983.
“My best memories of coach Baby is just actually playing for him. I played for him in 1983 with the Great Taste team. We actually lost a championship to Crispa that year but it was a great experience,” he shared.
“You have to understand that when I first started playing for Great Taste, Baby Dalupan was a legend in PBA basketball and then Philippine basketball so just to have an opportunity to play for him was an honor and hopefully I gave my best that year when I played under him.”
Black spent more than an hour at Dalupan’s wake held at the Chapel of the Immaculate Concepcion inside Ateneo de Manila University. Dalupan passed away on Wednesday, August 17 at 92 due to complications from pneumonia.
“I'm sitting there in the church right now, in the chapel, just feeling that calmness, being around his family, a calmness that you felt when you played for him,” Black said.
“I've met a lot of people in the Philippines, particularly in the sports world, and I've never heard anybody say anything bad about coach Baby. He wasn't just a great coach; he was a great person. He was a kind person.”
Black has been coaching since 1985 and has won 11 championships. And he admitted his coaching style is influenced by Dalupan. Though Black’s biggest lesson from the champion coach transcends the technicalities of the game itself.
“I try to balance my coaching a little bit after his, which is treat people like you would want to be treated, treat the players like you want to be treated. In other words, try to get the best out of them but do it in the right way. You don't have to curse people, yell at people to get the best out of them. And that's the way coach Baby really handled things.”
Dalupan won a total of 52 championships in various leagues, including 18 in the UAAP and 15 in the PBA. He is best known for his historic 7-peat with University of the East in the UAAP from 1965 to 1972, as well as 9 titles with famed pro team Crispa Redmanizers.
Black also recalled Dalupan’s uncanny ability as a coach to recognize most opportune moments in games to make his moves.
“You have to have the ability to push the right button at the right time. You have to have the ability to pull that guy off the bench and maybe hasn't played in a long time but you have that feeling that he might play well. And you have to have the ability to call timeouts and put key players down on the board at the right time during games,” he explained.
“Coach Baby was a master at that, more than anything else. He knew how to govern the game, how to manage the game, and that's why he was so successful.” – Rappler.com