Baldwin on CJ Perez: ‘Very explosive athlete’ with ‘a lot to learn about the game’
MANILA, Philippines – New Ateneo men’s basketball head coach Tab Baldwin says he’s still early in the process of development with the Blue Eagles, but does have an idea what he wants to establish and what to get out of the team.
“Very well,” was what Baldwin said last Saturday, January 30, about how preparations with the team have gone so far.
“We’re very, very early in the process. The first week I spent with the guys, just letting them scrimmage, so I’d get to know their names and get to know how they play a little bit, because I don’t know what I’m going to run until I see what the talent I have is.”
The coach said last week was the second week he had with the team, which included “basic” stuff in order to establish what he and the coaching staff envision for the Blue Eagles moving forward.
“The second week, this week, we started working on about as basic as stuff as they’ve probably ever worked on, so we’re trying to establish a team culture,” said the 57-year-old Baldwin, who’s also the head coach of the Philippines men’s national basketball team.
“We’re trying to establish a work ethic, and I’m confident with the coaching staff we’ll be able to do that.”
When asked if there have been any players that stood out during the two weeks he’s had with the roster, Baldwin responded: “I’m not looking for standouts; I’m looking for a standout team.”
“There’s talent there, there’s no question. They work hard,” Baldwin said about his roster, which has impressive young names like Adrian Wong, Aaron Black, Matt Nieto, Arvin Tolentino, and more.
“They’re likeable kids, and they’ve won with most of this group playing a lot of minutes. It’s a very young team. I think we have 12 guys who have a minimum of 4 years of eligibility left, but I think this is a team that can win games,” said Baldwin.
One guy expected not only to be the best player of Ateneo, but also quite possibly a UAAP MVP candidate, is San Sebastian transferee CJ Perez.
Perez, nicknamed “Baby Beast” as his game resembles that of PBA star Calvin Abueva’s, served his one year of residency in 2015 after averaging a little over 18 points and 7 boards a game in his last season as a Stag in the NCAA.
“CJ is certainly a talent. Very explosive athlete. End-to-end quickness is about as good as anybody I’ve seen in a long time,” Baldwin said about the 6-foot-1 combo guard.
“He’s got a lot to learn about the game, but I think he’s certainly got a future in basketball,” the head coach added.
Does the 28-year coaching veteran expect Ateneo to compete for a UAAP title next season?
"Whether we’re going to compete in the championship or compete for the championship, don’t know yet. It’s a long way away." – Rappler.com