The season is not yet over
Having an unbeaten record whether you’re used to it or if you’re turning things around from dismal to sensational is something to be proud of.
In the UAAP, the Ateneo Blue Eagles are currently unbeaten in 10 games and are set to return to the playoffs and a possible showdown with defending champion De La Salle University. The Eagles have had close shaves like recent battles against National University and Far Eastern University. And yet the Katipunan Eagles continue to remain unscathed, playing with a confidence so different from last year.
If you’re Lyceum University in the NCAA, you have to be delighted with an 18-0 record. Coming from near cellar finishes in the past, coach Topex Robinson has turned around the program, working mostly on the attitudes and mindsets of the Pirates as so clearly discussed in Jasmine Payo’s Inquirer piece yesterday.
You can downplay it all you want but keeping the record clean is also a great motivational tool for the schools that carved them out. Both Ateneo and Lyceum know anyway that the season is not yet over, with their fiercest competitors eager to get back at them.
The Blue Eagles will still meet arch rival La Salle that clawed back in their first round encounter but just fell short in the end game. Lyceum still has the traditional NCAA powers to deal with like San Beda and Letran, two schools with proud and passionate communities.
Both teams have had productive seasons but the real challenges lie ahead when playoff basketball kicks in. Unfortunately, Philippine hoops is not quick to honor success by simply reaching the final phase of a tournament. In the United States, coaches and teams are lauded for reaching the Sweet 16, the round of eight and the final four because of the knockout format of the NCAA. It’s different here where championships seem to be the yardstick for success.
The playoffs of the collegiate season should provide more than enough thrills as opposing schools try to dampen Ateneo and Lyceum’s seasons. The Eagles and Pirates are hopeful that the experiences from their unbeaten runs will augur well for a title campaign.
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