With sweep beckoning, Baldwin refuses to look past Tigers
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin is experienced enough not to get too caught up with making records.
So even if his Blue Eagles are just two wins within an elimination-round sweep that will also guarantee an automatic finals berth in UAAP Season 80, the veteran mentor doesn’t want his charges to look past the clash against University of Santo Tomas on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I don’t care if we’re one win away from a sweep or 500 wins away from a sweep,” said Baldwin. “The only game that matters is UST. We can’t look past that.”
The showdown with the Tigers at 2 p.m. serves as a warmup for the titanic battle with fierce rival La Salle on Nov. 12 in a potential duel for the No. 1 spot. A victory on Saturday and another against the Archers next Sunday will push the Eagles within a couple of wins of the title.
But Baldwin would rather focus on the Tigers, who, despite their miserable 0-12 record, have shown flashes of good play this season.
The Archers are gunning for win No. 11 against the National U Bulldogs in the other game at 4 p.m.
Coming off their most lopsided win of the season—a 94-59 walloping of the Tigers—reigning Most Valuable Player Ben Mbala feels there’s still plenty of room for improvement for the Archers.
“We have to improve the way we approach games and the way we start games,” said Mbala. “We really have to start stronger, because I feel like we had a slow start [against UST]. We have to be able to get into a game with the right mindset and do what we have to do.”
With a 4-7 record, the Bulldogs hope to stay in the thick of the fight for the last Final Four berth, where Far Eastern U and University of the Philippines appear to have the inside track with identical 5-6 records.