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Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin hailed the growth of center Isaac Go, who became the wounded hero of the Blue Eagles’ 69-68 overtime win against Far Eastern University that catapulted them to a dream title showdown with the archrival La Salle Green Archers.
The 6-foot-7 center came back after sustaining a bloody nose with more than three minutes remaining in the extra session to score the go-ahead basket before denying Tamaraws guard Ron Dennison a chance to score a winning basket in time to come away with the dramatic victory.
Baldwin quickly recalled the first time he saw Go, who was a bit player in Ateneo’s campaign the previous year.
“It’s an interesting story,” Baldwin said. “When I first joined the organization, I looked around and said ‘What do we have for a big man?’, and everybody pointed at G-Boy (Babilonia) and (Chibueze) Ikeh, and nobody said anything about Isaac.
“And I said, ‘What about that big, fat kid over there?’ and they said that he can do some things but he doesn’t have much experience,” added Baldwin. “Soon as I saw him, I said to myself ‘This kid is gonna be something.’”
But first Baldwin, had to talk to his gentle giant, who made it to Ateneo’s main team after a solid high school career at Xavier, a stint with the national youth team and a brief appearance for the school’s Team B.