Coach Joe on Ateneo’s first loss: ‘We didn’t want it today’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 27, 2018 09:06 PM
Coach Joe on Ateneo’s first loss: ‘We didn’t want it today’
Ateneo head coach Joe Silva said they let NU take Game 2 away from them

Ateneo de Manila High School experienced its very first setback in the UAAP 80 Junios Basketball Tournament at the worst possible time.

Falling 67-70 to Nazareth School of National University on Tuesday, the Blue Eaglets’ once immaculate record is no more.

More than that, what was once a more than probable historic season sweep for Ateneo is now a question mark as the two teams will figure in a winner-take-all Game 3 on three days from now.

Asked how they will bounce back from this, head coach Joe Silva answered, “Ako kasi, Finals series, it’s not technical anymore. Number one, it’s composure and number two, it boils down to who wants it more.”

He then continued, “We didn’t want it today.”

The mentor went on to mention how his wards were outhustled by the Bullpups. “They wanted it more eh. Field goal percentage nila, mababa, but the problem was, their offensive rebounds and second chance points killed us,” he said.

Indeed, NU owned a 26-13 advantage in offensive rebounds and a 13-4 edge in second chance points – with those proving to be the difference between the two teams.

And so, Silva also added, “All of those are hustle plays e. That’s nothing technical anymore. They wanted it more today.”

The Ateneo coach also acknowledged that the beckoning of history may have had an effect on his team. “Like I said, hindi namin iniisip yun, pero siyempre, it’s still at the back of your head,” he said.

Another win today would have made the Blue Eaglets only the second squad to have swept the season in the Final Four era.

Now, that can no longer be – and perhaps that’s only a good thing. As Silva put it, “Ngayon, siguro, the pressure is off, the monkey is off our backs to sweep. We lost and ngayon, back to the drawing board na.”

With that, the always amiable mentor said that everybody should expect an Ateneo side wanting nothimg more than to redeem themselves on Friday. “The mood kanina was somber, pero hindi down. Sinabi namin na that’s why we won Game 1 and now, we still have a chance to bounce back sa Game 3,” he said.

He then continued, “The mood kanina was galit, pero move forward na kami ngayon.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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