Ateneo men's football coach JP Merida not sold on losing as part of experience
Santino Honasan on Apr 07, 2017 11:33 AM
Ateneo head coach JP Merida, far left, gives instructions to Rupert Baña (23).
Thursday evening, the unthinkable happened.
League-leading Ateneo de Manila University, who had gone unbeaten in eleven matches, and were coming of a 7-1 destruction of Adamson University, suffered their first loss of the UAAP men's football season to seventh-placed University of the East.
While the boys in red and gold celebrated after the final whistle was blown, the Ateneo contingent was crestfallen. Understandably so, as it was their first time on the losing end of a scoreboard.
But, as the popular train of though goes, what if this is what unlocks the beasts inside the Blue Eagles? Having to carry around an 'unbeaten' tag may weigh heavy on the players and add some unnecessary pressure, which could eventually cause them collapse, and it could happen at the most inopportune moment, like say in the final four.
What if this loss serves as a weight lifted on the shoulders of these Atenean booters?
Well, Ateneo head coach JP Merida isn't quite sold on that idea.
"Isa rin yan sa mga sinasabi nila, na mas maganda na ma-experience na natin, pero for me kasi hindi masyado eh," Merida said following the UE loss. "If yung players mo maglaro talaga, every game ibibigay nila yung best nila, lalaruin nila yung role nila, of course makukuha."
Merida added that he believes that way of thinking isn't the best way to go about things.
"Hindi naman siguro maganda, it's just wrong objective and preparation yung ganung mindset."
But the fact of the matter is, the Blue Eagles are no longer unbeaten in Season 79, and Merida hopes that this experience wakes his boys up.
"Of course ito yung maganda siguro, lalo na sa first talo, sana maglaro sila ng kung paano sila maglaro."
Ateneo will get a chance to bounce back, but it won't be easy as they get ready to face a desperate De La Salle team who needs to win on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.