No letup for Ateneo even after automatic advance into UAAP 82 Finals

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 04, 2019 05:21 PM
No letup for Ateneo even after auto advance into Finals
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Ateneo de Manila University completed a clean sweep of the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament on October 30.

That granted the Blue Eagles an outright berth in the Finals which will commence on November 16.

That also meant, though, that the two-time defending champions have no games scheduled for a little over two weeks.

Still, true to form, there will be no letup for the blue and white even as they get to watch from the sidelines as the University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, and University of Sto. Tomas all fight over the right to face off with them.

"We understand that this is a significant accomplishment for a basketball team - to go through a season undefeated," head coach Tab Baldwin said. "But our job is far from done and, in fact, it's going to give harder."

In that light, Coach Tab said that there will be no time to rest and relax for Ateneo. As he put it, "Well, we don't have a break. Basically, for us, it's business as usual."

He then continued, "We will prepare for our opponent once we know who that is, but in the meantime, we will work to build our basketball team. We will put some new stuff in so teams won't be able to go back and review our film and say we're gonna see the same team. That's one of the advantages of the break and we're gonna have some fun."

At the same time though, Baldwin also said they will use these two weeks to bolster their bonds and fortify their friendships - especially as they have five graduating players in Isaac Go, Thirdy Ravena, Adrian Wong, and Nieto twins Mike and Matt. "This is the last few weeks we're gonna spend together as a team. We know how to work hard, there are no questions about that, but we also know how to enjoy each other's company," he said.

He then continued, "We need to cherish these few weeks."

And so, make no mistake, the Blue Eagles' eyes remain on the ultimate prize. "I believe we have an outstanding basketball team, but we haven't proven ourselves in the last hurdle yet. I look forward to working with these guys for another few weeks to achieve that if we can," coach Tab said.

He then continued, "I'm really confident we can build a better basketball team with this time so that's what we're gonna do."

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