What rest? | Inquirer Sports

What rest?

Eagles to continue sharpening talons in long break as they await Finals foes
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 05:00 AM November 01, 2019

The Eagles celebrate near the end of their massacre of the Maroons. —TRISTAN TAMAYO

There will be little time for rest and relaxation for Ateneo, which already secured a finals seat in UAAP Season 82 on Wednesday—not with a perfect season on the line.

The Blue Eagles will make the most out of a 16-day break as they brace for battle against the survivor of the stepladder phase when the best-of-three title series starts on Nov. 16.


Proof to this is coach Tab Baldwin holding practice on Thursday—less than 24 hours after the Eagles had completed a 14-game sweep of the elimination phase, capped by an 86-64 whipping of second seed University of the Philippines at Mall of Asia Arena.

As three teams prepare to slug it out for the right to face them in the finals, the Eagles vowed to stay sharp and motivated against whoever will be standing in their way of a third straight crown—and their undefeated run.


Thirdy Ravena, who is playing his final season for Ateneo, said the Eagles have embraced the pressure that comes with being the favorites this season.

“People were already expecting something from our team whether it’s a sweep or we win a lot of games,” Ravena said. “But I think the pressure that really matters is that the pressure we put on ourselves in trying to be the best team and best individuals we can possibly be.”

A championship will be a fitting send-off for Ravena and fellow seniors Isaac Go, Mike and Matt Nieto and Adrian Wong, the guard who has also made his presence felt in the second round of the elimination phase.

The Eagles are confident they won’t suffer the same fate as the UE team in 2007 when the Red Warriors swept the elimination round, but also got brushed aside by La Salle in just two games in the finals following a break of almost three weeks.

“This resting period is really crucial for us,” Matt Nieto said. “They say it’s a disadvantage, but it’s really a blessing. And we’ll be waiting and we’ll watch every team.”

The stepladder semifinals begin with Far Eastern U taking on University of Santo Tomas on Nov. 6 at Smart Araneta Coliseum, with the winner earning the right to face a UP team that has a twice-to-beat advantage.

For Baldwin, the remainder of the season will be about enjoying each other’s company, particularly their graduating players, while staying focused with their goal of nailing another title.

“We need to cherish these three weeks and we need to be productive in these three weeks,” Baldwin said. “I’m really confident that we can build a better basketball team that we have with this time so that’s what we’re gonna do.”

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TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eagles, Basketball, Sports, UAAP Season 82
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