UAAP Finals: Ateneo's eyes already set for Game 3

Philip Matel on Nov 29, 2017 09:22 PM
UAAP Finals: Ateneo's eyes already set for Game 3
Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin still looks back at their loss against the FEU Tamaraws as inspiration for a great performance in Sunday's Game 3.

Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin said that the team has moved on from their Game 2 loss that saw the team give away a 21-point advantage against the De La Salle Green Archers.

The Blue Eagles tactician added that he did not see a killer instinct with his players, like younger players all over the world. 

“Big leads just seem to drain, and momentum swings the other way. It's always tough to swing momentum back. We suffered from that today,” Baldwin said.

Despite pointing out the lack of killer instinct of his players, Baldwin assured that the team had already buried their inner demons in the locker room after the loss, and will be ready for a winner-take-all Game 3 on Sunday.

While the Nieto twins blamed their lack of discipline in following their system, the former Gilas Pilipinas coach rued the Green Archers’ championship experience, adding that the pressure of an elimination game made them better.

“I'm not sure if it's youth or just being just in the cauldron of championship games and just learning and understanding it requires of you when the pressure comes on.”

Now that the Blue Eagles are facing another do-or-die game, their first since the Final Four match against the FEU Tamaraws, Baldwin could only see a silver lining with their Game 1 loss against the Tamaraws.

“I think that helps and hopefully it will enough to be one of the factors that helps us get across the finish line on Sunday.”

In talking about his opponents, Baldwin gave his thumbs up on Ben Mbala, whom he revealed had drawn the interest of a professional team in Turkey, calling the two-time MVP outstanding and “deserved to get a good reference.”

Baldwin also credited the defending champions’ defense, saying that opposing head coach Aldin Ayo’s changes in the second half proved to be the difference in their 92-83 win.

“Credit La Salle's defense, credit the changes coach Ayo made, he went big, that didn’t work. He went small, that began to work. His pressure then began to take a toll and momentum swung and we just didn't play as well once the momentum swung.”

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