UAAP Season 82 Finals: Blue Eagles complete ‘dream season’
Mark Escarlote on Nov 21, 2019 08:47 AM
"Sixteen and 0 season. It really is something that we dreamed about" -- Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin
Heading into UAAP Season 82, Ateneo de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin knew that he still had the same materials that brought the Blue Eagles success in the last two years.
Then they started piling up victory after victory in the elimination round.
Then came the elimination round sweep. Fourteen straight wins that propelled Ateneo straight to the best-of-three Finals.
Then the prospect of completing a rare tournament sweep – a feat that would surpass the 14-game domination of University of Sto. Tomas back in 1993 – for a three-peat was within reach.
But Baldwin as much as possible tried to prevent his team from talking about a sweep.
“Sixteen and 0 season. It really is something that we dreamed about,” said Baldwin. “We didn’t talk a lot about it because we never wanted to set that as a goal.”
At least until they completed the feat Wednesday as Ateneo finished off the Growling Tigers, 86-79, for a perfect 16-0 finish in the men’s basketball tournament in Game 2 of the series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“But I know that the players particularly dreamed about it and it is a dream season to go through,” Baldwin said. “Unblemished and to be able to say that each one of those 16 games no team was better than us.”
“You have to guard against arrogance. You have to guard against overstating what is something that is pretty exceptional,” he added.
The Blue Eagles tactician credited his team for all the hard work they put up the whole season.
“Working with these guys everyday make me a better person because of the quality of their character, because of the work rate that they have that humbles me,” he said. "Believe me there’s a lot of nights that I go home and feel bad about the demands I put on these guys and sometimes the way I do it.”
“I know I’m not always the nicest guy in the room. It’s very humbling when these men sacrifice their egos, sacrifice their time,” Baldwin added. “They lay it out there everyday and I think it is the result of that.”
Sweeping the season was not easy. It may look like it was but Baldwin would attest that it wasn’t.
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