Ateneo coach: ‘They haven’t seen the real Blue Eaglets yet’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 10, 2016 06:57 PM
Ateneo coach: ‘They haven’t seen the real Blue Eaglets yet’
THIS IS ME. Joe Silva said that the real Ateneo arrived just now.

Ateneo de Manila High School is staring an uphill climb to successfully defend its title in the UAAP 78 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

Due to Nazareth School of National University’s sweep of the elimination round, the road to the Finals has been transformed into a stepladder where the Blue Eaglets have no advantage whatsoever. As the third-seed, they need three wins in a row just to make the championship round.

The good news is that Ateneo had no trouble in taking the first step upward on Wednesday as they easily handled Far Eastern University-Diliman, 84-68. It was their second straight win against the Baby Tamaraws and their fifth overall.

While they have undoubtedly drawn the worst odds to win it all, the defending champions are nothing but confident that they are now the best version of themselves in the season. As coach Joe Silva put it, “Jolo’s (Mendoza) 100 percent already. The whole league hasn’t seen the real Blue Eaglets yet.”

The coach was referring to team captain Mendoza who had been hobbled by an ankle injury for half of the eliminations. Now, however, the sweet-shooting guard has scored no less than 13 points in each of his last five outings.

The team captain isn’t alone in coming alive at just the right time. In their ouster of FEU-Diliman,young stud SJ Belangel tallied 15 points and eight assists while do-it-all forward Gian Mamuyac contributed 13 points, four assists, and three steals.

Sharing just how exactly he was able to fire up his boys, Silva said, “I told them, ‘From now on, every game we play will be do-or-die. It’s up to us to do something about it.’”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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