MANILA, Philippines — If you look at most of Tab Baldwin’s team’s scores, they are mostly blowouts.
Baldwin believes that when his teams’ fortunes seldom come down to the final shot it is because it because for the most part, the system and the play weren't followed.
When it does come down to that final possession, Coach Tab’s teams are bullish. And they have done that everywhere, from the FIBA World Championships to the Olympics to the Jones Cup and the UAAP.
Of course, there have been instances where they weren’t able to fashion out a win such as the loss to Italy in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, where Baldwin’s New Zealand team was not able to get a shot off in their final possession.
Here are some instances where Baldwin’s teams exhibited that clutch gene.
New Zealand 65 vs Puerto Rico 63
FIBA World Championships (September 5, 2002)
Pero Cameron knocked down a trifecta with 23 seconds left to give New Zealand a 65-63 lead in the quarterfinals. New Zealand held fast on defense and didn’t allow Puerto Rico a shot in the game’s final possession.
New Zealand 90 vs. Serbia and Montenegro 87
Athens Olympics (August 19, 2004)
The Kiwis avenged a loss in the semifinals to the reigning world champions when they came roaring back in the final period of play after being down 79-66 with a little over five minutes to play.
Sean Marks dunked off an inbound play to finally give New Zealand an 88-87 lead with 19 seconds to go. A Serbian miss saw Mark Dickel rebound the ball and fouled. He hit both free throws for the game’s final points as Serbia’s Dejan Bodiroga missed a desperation attempt at the buzzer.
Lebanon 77 vs Qatar 74
FIBA Stankovic Cup (August 12, 2010)
In a close match against Qatar, Lebanon stayed in the hunt for the win with big points from Fadi El Khatib and Jackson Vroman, who hit a free throw to send the game into overtime.
El Khatib scored early and Vroman finished off the Qataris with four points in the final seconds of play.
Lebanon 71 vs. India 68
FIBA Asia (September 16, 2011)
Lebanon thought they were in for an easy win when they led 40-27 at the half. Ten minutes later, India was ahead 59-54 heading into the final frame.
Lebanon veteran Jean Abdel Nour scored his team’s final eight points including two drives to hand the win to Lebanon.
Ateneo 80 vs. DLSU 78
Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup (June 11, 2017)
Tyler Tio drove in and drew a crowd. When he attracted three defenders including Ben Mbala, he passed out to Thirdy Ravena, who hit a triple with 9.8 seconds from the left corner pocket with La Salle’s Leonard Santillan challenging the shot.
That same play would reprise itself, this time in Game three of the UAAP finals of that same year and also in the opposite side. With Ateneo leading by two, 82-80, it was Ravena who drove and attracted three defenders. He then passed out to Isaac Go, who took a step back and drained a 3-pointer with Kib Montalbo a second too late. The five-point lead and the subsequent Matt Nieto free throw were enough to give Ateneo an 86-82 win and the championship.
And of course, there is that huge match against FEU in the 2017 UAAP Final Four against FEU where Isaac Go hit a triple to send the game into overtime. Once in extension, Matt Nieto hit another triple and Go scored while from a sitting position to give Ateneo an 87-82 lead. The final score was pegged at 88-84 as Ateneo advanced to the finals and beat La Salle.
Philippines-Ateneo Blue Eagles 77 vs Chinese Taipei Blue 76
William Jones Cup (July 21, 2018)
After Chinese Taipei’s Chen Ying-Chun hit two free throws to give the host team a 76-74 lead with 3.1 seconds left, Baldwin called for time.
Inbounding from their side of the court, Thirdy Ravena found Matt Nieto, who used an Isaac Go pick to hit a triple with 0.2 of a second left for the win and stay in contention for a medal in the regional tournament.
Philippines 81 vs Korea 78
FIBA Asia Qualifiers (June 16, 2021)
After Angelo Kouame missed a free throw to give the Philippines a chance to a four-point lead with 10.5 seconds left, Korea’s Lee Hyun-jung drilled a pull-up trey to notch the count at 78-all with time down to 2.9 seconds left.
After calling for time, Baldwin mapped out a play for Carl Tamayo, but he was unable to extricate himself for an open shot and Dwight Ramos quickly made the decision to pass the ball to SJ Belangel on the right corner.
Belangel faked off Lee Seoung-hyun and took a one-legged off-balanced shot that banked in for the win that sent the Philippines into the FIBA Asia Cup.
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