Coach Tab thankful eight-man CEU taught Ateneo a lesson about heart

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 27, 2019 03:55 PM
Coach Tab thankful eight-man CEU taught Ateneo a lesson
Cignal-Ateneo lived up to its billing as the heavy favorite, but still learned a thing or two from underdog 8-man CEU

Cignal-Ateneo and head coach Tab Baldwin had nothing but good words for CEU, their vanquished Finals foe in the 2019 PBA D-League.

"You know, I think Derrick's been around too long for me to say that I'm really proud of him," Coach Tab said, talking about Scorpions' veteran mentor Derrick Pumaren. "But I think I'm proud to have competed against them because they really brought everything despite the adversity they were under."

Indeed, CEU, down to just eight players on the lineup and seven players on the regular rotation, gave its all against the heavily favored Blue Eagles.

In fact, the Scorpions even pulled off the biggest upset of the season in Game 2.

And in the eyes of Coach Tab, that upset loss was just the lesson Cignal-Ateneo needed to learn. As he put it, "I think what we have seen of them is exemplary both individually from the players and from the coaching staff in terms of getting them ready to play. You know, (Game 4) wasn't their best game, but Game 3 was very competitive."

He then continued, " And in Game 2, of course, they taught us a lesson. That was great because, you know, we need those lessons."

Without a doubt, CEU showed its heart especially in Game 2 which saw little-known Jerome Santos turning in a career game with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists and Senegalese reinforcement Maodo Malick Diouf continuing to be a force with 23 markers, 16 boards, four steals, two dimes, and two blocks.

That is exactly why, at the end of it all, the Blue Eagles can only heap praise upon their vanquished Finals foe. "Congratulations to Derrick. I know second-place never feels good. You know, if you don't win the last game of the season, it doesn't feel good, but I'm just very impressed with what they accomplished," their brilliant tactician said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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