Yup, Ateneo is still the Ateneo that won it all in the UAAP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 21, 2018 09:42 PM
Yup, Ateneo is still the Ateneo that won it all in the UAAP
Thirdy Ravena and Ateneo just topped the Gilas cadets, but head coach Tab Baldwin said there is much more work to be done

Ateneo de Manila University has remained mostly intact from the time it claimed the championship in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And now in the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, that continuity was evident.

Even Ricci Rivero had to say so. “Actually, wala namang nagbago sa kanila,” he told reporters after he and the Gilas cadets fell to the Blue Eagles on Saturday.

Indeed, Thirdy Ravena was showing the way yet again with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals, but still had backup right there with him.

That recipe for success the used to take down the Gilas cadets was the very same recipe for success they used to take down De La Salle University, then Rivero’s team, in last year’s UAAP Finals.

Still, true to form, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin said they can do far better. As he put it, “Actually, I’m not too impressed. We’re not trying to be anything more than a shadow of what we hope to become.”

Baldwin then went on to point out that they didn’t take care of the ball all that well with 23 turnovers. “We made many mistakes, 14 turnovers in the first half, and we’re not yet ready to play as a team. We have no chemistry right now,” he shared.

He then continued, “We want the skill and the physicality. I think the decision-making and cohesion will come, but it’s not there yet.”

Fortunately for the Blue Eagles, they still have the rest of the Filoil Preseason to get there. “We’re only thinking about individual development right now. I think every time you get good competition, it tests what you’ve been working on,” the champion coach said.

Baldwin and his boys next face NCAA champion San Beda University on Friday.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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