Foes a mystery as Ateneo Blue Eagles ready title defense | Inquirer Sports

Foes a mystery as Ateneo Blue Eagles ready title defense

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:20 AM August 09, 2023

Tab Baldwin is hoping to milk the most of Ateneo’s title defense in Japan to prepare the Eagles for the UAAP. —UAAP MEDIA

Tab Baldwin is hoping to milk the most of Ateneo’s title defense in Japan to prepare the Eagles for the UAAP.—UAAP MEDIA

TOKYO — Tab Baldwin admits that he doesn’t have a clue on the powerhouses his Ateneo squad will be trying to eliminate if the Blue Eagles are to win the World University Basketball Series tournament here for the second straight year.

“I have friends in Australia who I can get information from,” Baldwin told the Inquirer, minutes before checking in at Prince Shinagawa Hotel on Tuesday afternoon as the Blue Eagles open up against University of Sydney in three days to start their title defense.


“So far, all we know are the names of the players. That’s it,” he said. “We’ll be trying to figure out how they play, how they are coached and all that. We have about a day to do that, because now, we will prepare for Japan.”


Ateneo, which won this tournament via a sweep last year, will play an exhibition against the national Under-21 squad of Japan on Thursday afternoon before the real action starts at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in Manila) against the Lions from Down Under at Yoyogi National Stadium gym.

The Eagles will be coming off two victories over the weekend in Davao where they clipped UAAP archrival La Salle and NCAA  power San Beda.

“We’ve been busy in Davao,” Baldwin said. “But make no mistake about it, we came here to win the whole thing again.”

Ateneo will be shooting to defend the UAAP title it won in a Game 3 masterpiece over University of the Philippines without Ange Kouame and Forthsky Padrigao.

This tournament will be an acid test as to the formidability of the Blue Eagles for the war that matters starting September, when they unveil Joseph Obasa for the UAAP to see.

“We also came here to learn, to get better,” Baldwin explained. “When you are not playing in the UAAP, you are preparing for the UAAP.


“We want to add a bit to what we already know.”

Should the Blue Eagles beat the Aussies, they will advance to face the winner of the Hakuoh University of Japan versus Perbanas Institute of Indonesia game.

This field is a tougher one than the Blue Eagles conquered last year as a US NCAA Division 1 school in Radford University, the Lions, Tokyo University of South Korea, and the Tokai University Seagulls—the second home team—will be seeing action for the first time.

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Radford and Ateneo could wind up clashing for the crown on Sunday if the Highlanders turn back the Koreans on Thursday and the winner of the National Chengchi University of Taipei versus Tokai match.

TAGS: Basketball, Sports

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