The Last Stretch
I watched another classic UAAP game between Ateneo and La Salle last Saturday at the Baguio Country Club, while enjoying the weather and the fresh air.
I found that the live TV coverage’s commentary and analysis could have been better. Having the experience of doing games of this magnitude and importance will help in making the game more enjoyable to watch for the fan with basic basketball knowledge.
In my opinion, the quality of officiating has stood out, especially in the Ateneo-FEU knockout game. I commend the commissioner for this.
Though there were some lapses in Saturday’s game, overall, it was well done.
The big test will actually be Game 2 tomorrow.
Unless Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala play monster games, we can expect another close encounter as Ateneo displays its usual well-oiled machine.
What has become very apparent is that the advantage La Salle has in terms of the depth and talent of its players is matched by the savvy and experience of the Ateneo coaches.
La Salle coach Aldin Ayo is learning the ropes as he coaches big championship games at the collegiate level. Ateneo’s Tab Baldwin is not merely a collegiate coach. Having worked and coached national teams in world championships, his experience cannot be matched at our local level.
As I’ve said in the past, it’s not enough to have a high basketball IQ. Coaching under tremendous pressure, combined with being expected to win, requires quick decision making, anticipation and choosing the proper players to end the game with. These can most effectively be learned through experience.
I hope that the fierceness and passion that this generational rivalry has brought about will bring out the best in everyone.
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