UAAP: Tab Baldwin rues Ateneo’s shortcomings as La Salle puts up ‘hell of a game’
MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin gave credit to La Salle for giving them a “hell of a game” but he lamented his team’s deficiencies, especially the lack of composure, in their first loss in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
The Blue Eagles lost to their archrivals Green Archers for the first time in five years, 83-78, in front of 12,056 fans on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Baldwin is not taking away anything from La Salle coach Derick Pumaren and his wards, led by Schonny Winston’s 25-point explosion, stressing their rivals deserved the thrilling win.
“It’s another sort of classic, really. I hate to come out on the losing end of that one. I think we hold ourselves responsible, but in some way that’s being unfair to Coach Derick and La Salle. They played a hell of a game, a really tough game,” said Baldwin, who also absorbed his first setback to La Salle since Season 80 Finals Game 2 in 2017.
But the three-time UAAP champion coach couldn’t help but rue the wasted chance, not getting a positive result despite sorely outrebounding La Salle, 63-41, including 36 offensive boards.
“I can’t help looking at my own team and understanding our deficiencies in this game that I think were unnecessary. That’s probably what is more disheartening than actually losing the game. When you put up rebounding numbers like I’ve never seen, I don’t think in my life, 36 offensive rebounds, 55%, that’s extraordinary,” said Baldwin. “Everybody was rightfully concerned that the La Salle pressure was taking a toll on the team. And then we come out in the second half, we only make six turnovers.”
“With those kinds of numbers, we should, I believe, rightfully expect the scoreline to look a lot different. It didn’t,” he added.
The Kiwi-American coach believes his wards still lacked composure which “has to be fixed immediately” in their quest to regain the title.
“And I think we had issues with—let’s just call it—self-imposed composure. Again, that’s being a bit unfair to La Salle, because they certainly had a lot to do with pressure in that game,” said Baldwin. “But I think that we did things as a basketball team and individually that are going to be extremely detrimental to our capability of vying for a championship. If we don’t fix that, this moment, then we can start looking at Season 86.”
When Baldwin was asked how ready are his players to accept the challenge, the coach answered: “ It’s their job. They damn well better.”
Ateneo missed a lot of shots with 32.6 percent shooting, with Forthsky Padrigao and Dave Ildefonso combining for 5-of-32 shooting from the field, especially with their crucial misses in the payoff period.
The Blue Eagles, who dropped to 2-1, seek to bounce back against the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers (1-2) on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin and Kai Ballungay share their thoughts after losing to La Salle for the first time in five years. | Lance Agcaoili/Inquirer Sports
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Sunday, October 9, 2022