Good, bad experience in Baldwin's first Ateneo-La Salle
Mark Escarlote on Oct 02, 2016 09:18 PM
It was a situation that we anticipated and we knew that it was going to happen. When the reality was in front of us, we weren't quite good enough --- Tab Baldwin
Ateneo de Manila head coach Tab Baldwin enjoyed his first feel of the Philippines’ greatest collegiate rivalry.
The rocking crowd inside the MOA Arena divided by a sea of blue and green, the loud cheers and jeers, the thunderous pounding of the drums and the electric atmosphere on a Sunday.
“It's impressive. It's a big stadium. Eighty-five to 90 percent full and that's great for the game,” said the Blue Eagles rookie mentor. “This game always gets that so we're not talking about something new here.”
“But for me to be a part of it and witness it, it's special,” the mentor added. “I think it's probably something I now understand better what the La Sallites and the Ateneans who I have spoken with and have been a part of it for years and years, I just understand it a little bit better.”
The rivalry was beautiful in all the sense of it for Baldwin
But for the game itself, Baldwin will remember of his first Ateneo-La Salle as a bad memory worth forgetting.
Not the side that the mentor, who is also calling the shots for Gilas Pilipnas, wanted to be in.
Baldwin saw the Blue Eagles collapse in the middle quarters as the Green Archers mercilessly beat Ateneo to submission, 97-81, to complete a sweep of the 79th UAAP men’s basketball tournament first round of eliminations.
DLSU poured in 60 points in the second and third quarters to turn a tight game into a one-sided affair.
“We got into foul trouble and they got to the foul line easily,” said Baldwin, whose squad went to the line nine attempts lesser than the Green Archers’ 33.
“We didn't get ourselves to the line. It was the situation but their press got off in the second and they were able to force turnovers,” he added.
The Taft-based squad forced the Blue Eagles to 30 turnovers that DLSU converted to 33 points with the Green Archers picking Ateneo’s pocket with 17 steals.
DLSU grabbed 49 rebounds including 23 off offensive boards compared to Ateneo’s total of 41 with Cameroonian Ben Mbala doing most of the damage with 13 caroms.
“They hurt us on the boards the way we knew they were capable of doing. That was the story of the second and third quarter when they were able to push that lead out and maintain it,” Baldwin said. “They are just a difficult team to deal with the pressure and the boards.”
Baldwin could only hope that the team has learned from this experience.
“It was a situation that we anticipated and we knew that it was going to happen. When the reality was in front of us, we weren't quite good enough,” the mentor said. “We just try to keep on improving ourselves and continue to work at those things that we know are not our strengths and turn that weakness into our strengths.”
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