UAAP: ‘Gutsy’ Forthsky Padrigao draws praise from Tab Baldwin in Ateneo loss to UP
MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin liked what he saw from Forthsky Padrigao after the guard’s gritty performance in the Blue Eagles’ overtime loss to University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday.
Padrigao sank a clutch triple with 36.7 seconds left to force OT before hitting another 3-pointer in extra time that cut the Fighting Maroons’ lead down to two, 73-71, with 23.4 ticks to go.
Baldwin still gave credit to Padrigao for displaying nerves of steel that kept their team afloat in the crucial moments of the game.
“I mean what is there to say? The kid’s gutsy. He wants to take big shots. He’s got the nerve to take big shots. He’s not afraid of the moment,” Baldwin said shortly after Ateneo’s 76-71 defeat at a packed Mall of Asia Arena.
But while Padrigao stood out, the Kiwi-American mentor said Ateneo’s system is all about “relying on one another” with other options to depend on in crucial moments such as Ange Kouame and Dave Ildefonso as well as BJ Andrade and Kai Ballungay, who also stepped up against UP.
“Sometimes it becomes at the expense of execution. I tried to press upon the players that being very good players in the UAAP level doesn’t make you Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, those guys, who you put the ball in their hand and get out of the way and the percentage is still pretty good,” said Baldwin.
“We have very good players at the UAAP level but they’re not that. We still need to depend on one another, rely on one another, and execute. You know have the discipline to find the open man. We have a lot of guys who have the nerve to step into those moments to take shots whether they make it or not. That’s why you play the game.”
The three-time UAAP champion coach knows the best is yet to come for Padrigao, who had 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists, as they continue to progress in a season where they seek to regain the crown.
“I want Forthsky to be the best version of Forthsky period. That’s developing himself into a guy that runs the team better than he does. The guy that makes sure he gets all of his teammates involved. Doesn’t let them mentally slip out better than what he does. That defends better than what he does,” Baldwin said. “There’s a lot of improvement for Forthsky to be the best version of himself. If he gets close to that we’ll not gonna be talking about any comparisons. He’s a potentially outstanding point guard and he really understands the game, he feels the game.”
“But I think like a lot of Filipino players, a lot of UAAP players that went on to the PBA, they’ve been groomed in their younger years to be the man and to get them to be the man for others is the task,” he added.