UAAP 82: Coach Tab thanks FEU for much-needed wake-up call

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 16, 2019 04:52 PM
UAAP 82: Coach Tab thanks FEU for much-needed wake-up call
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Ateneo de Manila University has aced its toughest test thus far in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

For the first time, the Blue Eagles were playing catch up for majority of the match-up and found themselves trailing by their biggest deficit at 13 points.

"First of all, huge credit to coach Olsen Racela hand his coaching staff for getting his team extremely well-prepared for that game," the defending champions' mentor Tab Baldwin said post-game. "They did a great job in the first half and even in the second half, they stuck to their game plan."

Indeed, Coach Tab could only applaud the game plan of his bench opponent - a game plan that forced Ateneo into an uncharacteristic 16 turnovers after just the first half.

As it turns out, though, that was just what the Blue Eagles needed to remember who they were and what they had to do. "This is our fourth game in (12 days) and I think it's difficult for us to maintain focus. We saw that today," their multi-titled mentor said.

He then continued, "FEU certainly gave us the wake-up call in the first half that we obviously needed. I don't care if we have 10 playing dates in a row, when you lose your humility, you need a wake-up call."

From a 29-42 deficit early in the third quarter, they got down to business and dominated their opponents, 36-13, the rest of the way.

Still, Coach Tab said that he would have liked it better if they wouldn't have needed a wake-up call in the first place. As he put it, "I wish we never did (need) wake-up calls. But we are human - and that goes for myself, my coaching staff, and our players so thank you to Coach Racela for that as well."

He then continued, "If we are anything like what we hope to portray and hope to be, we won't need that again."

Nonetheless, the Ateneo shot-caller is nothing but proud of the way his wards responded to that wakeup call. "I gotta give our players a lot of credit for coming out in the second half and standing up to who they are supposed to be. Congratulations to my boys as well," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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