UAAP: Even in coaching, Ateneo has a 'next man up'

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 14, 2018 05:41 PM
UAAP: Even in coaching, Ateneo has a 'next man up'
All of Ateneo had to be the "next man up" with Coach Tab not there

Ateneo de Manila University was yet again not at full strength on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.

And yet, the Blue Eagles had more than enough to pound on University of Sto. Tomas by 40 points, 102-62.

Throughout the tournament, the defending champions have had to overcome the absences of the likes of Thirdy Ravena, Raffy Verano, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt for certain contests.

And this time around, they had to make up for the absence of head coach Tab Baldwin who was not in the venue due to an illness. “It’s kind of funny that we (have been) missing a lot of players for the season tapos ngayon, coach naman yung wala,” assistant coach Sandy Arrespacochaga, who called the shots instead, said post-game.

Just like they did when some of their players were missing, though, Ateneo did not panic and stood tall.

And just as Tyler Tio stepped up when Nieto wasn’t around and William Navarro came through when Ravena and Verano were out, coach Sandy did his best to make sure they didn’t skip a beat.

Of course, the always amiable mentor had help from the players. “We’re happy with the win because one of the first things we told them is that coach Tab (isn’t here), but his system is already in place,” he said.

Indeed, the Blue Eagles just did what coach Tab would have expected from them, scoring 16 unanswered points in the first six minutes and never looking back. “We wanted the players to step up because this time around, next man up was everyone else as the shoe we’re trying to fill was coach Tab’s,” coach Sandy said.

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