Fans flock to U.S. launch of book on basketball icon Dalupan
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Basketball fans filled the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy on April 28 for the US launch of the book, “The Maestro of Philippine Basketball,” on the life and career of legendary coach Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan.
“Coach Dalupan was not only a coach but a mentor, and an inspiration to those who share his love and passion for the sport,” declared Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said in a video recorded message. “This biographical work clearly shows how his sterling achievements continue to reflect, and at the same time, influence the evolution of Philippine basketball.”
Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister Patrick Chuasoto, delivered Cuisia’s remarks and also noted the applicability of “the Maestro’s” leadership and mentoring principles to business, diplomacy and life in general.
“Opposing coaches knew very well Coach Dalupan was great in making substitutions and addressing match-up situations. But more than that, Coach Dalupan knew how to create a team and make it win,” Chuasoto stated.
He said further: “People would think that it is so easy to coach a team composed of talented players. This is far from reality. The coach has to handle the individual personalities of these players and have them collectively play as one. This is no mean task and Coach Dalupan was able to do that. This is a leadership lesson from Coach Dalupan we should emulate.”
Launched in the Philippines in October 2015, “The Maestro,” is a collaborative work of Coach Dalupan’s family and friends, featuring a roster of contributing writers including veteran sportswriters Noel Albano, Ignacio Dee, Rick Olivares and Krip Yuson and the coach’s former players Ricardo “Ricky” Brown, Andres “Chito” Narvasa and Sandy Arespacochaga.
Tim Cone, who surpassed the Maestro’s championship record in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to take the title of “winningest coach” in February 2015, wrote the foreword.
Dalupan daughters M. Cecilia, Maria Lorenza, Josefina, Mary Ann, Maria Consuelo, Loulie and Cristina provided editorial guidance, together with book project manager Jose Capistrano, Jr. and Tessa Jazminez.
“In recounting the many significant periods in the life of Coach Baby Dalupan, this book contributes to the history of Philippine basketball. It pays tribute to the man many call ‘The Maestro’ and it’s a way of giving back because net proceeds from the book will be directed to athletic scholarships for deserving students at the Ateneo De Manila University and University of the East, which were the two schools that were instrumental in the life of Coach Baby Dalupan,” explained youngest daughter M. Cecilia.
Dalupan is considered one of the greatest coaches in Philippine basketball, with a win record of 52 championships through the college and professional ranks. He was also named head coach of the Philippine national team for the 1959 FIBA World Championship and 1970 Asian Games.
In the PBA, he led celebrated teams Crispa Redmanizers, Great Taste Coffee and Purefoods to their history-making triumphs on the court.
However, it was the Maestro’s fatherly love and concern that left the biggest mark on the players he coached.
“I cannot forget how he trained me and brought out my skills in the game,” said five-time PBA All-Star and three-time PBA Mythical Team awardee, Manny Victorino.
“He was like our father. We were like a family when we played the game,”he added.
Two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Abet Guidaben credited the Maestro for his achievements. “He turned me from someone who played basketball into a true basketball player,” said Guidaben, who finished his PBA career as the No. 2 all-time leading scorer with 15,775 points and No. 2 all-time in total rebounds with 8,570.
Ricky Brown, the first Filipino-American who played in the PBA, recalled the words of encouragement repeatedly imparted to him by Dalupan as he faced the opposition and jeers of “displeased” fans.
“He told me, ‘Keep working hard, carry yourself as a professional, play that game the way you play and I promise you that, in time, things will change,’” Brown recounted.
“He was right. Things changed. It took a while but it finally did,” Brown said.
Mary Ann Dalupan delivered the Maestro’s message for the audience composed of fans, friends of the Dalupan family and Embassy personnel led by Madam Maria Victoria Cuisia.
“I have been away from the bench for over two decades. Yet, here you are, all of you, to celebrate the book about my coaching years. I’m both humbled and overjoyed by your loving memories and your good wishes,” read the first part of Dalupan’s message.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart — to all those who were with me along the journey, to enable me to do what I loved most, which was coaching. I remember with gratitude fellow coaches, basketball officials, team owners, managers and staff, all my friends and fans. But most of all, I want to say to Ricky Brown, Abet Guidaben, Manny Victorino and all my players, thank you. I am honored to have been your coach,” said the coaching legend.
In his closing remarks, US-Philippine Society President, Ambassador John Maisto, emphasized the integral role of basketball in bringing the Philippines and the United States together.
“This book depicts this relationship, the fact that Filipino-American players came is a big deal. Baby Dalupan is involved in it,” Maisto said.
The US launch of “The Maestro” was co-organized by the Dalupan family, US-Philippines Society and the Philippine Embassy.
To get a copy, visit http://www.dalupanbooks.net/
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