UAAP: No room for error for Ateneo after latest loss
MANILA, Philippines — Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin sees little to no room for error after the Blue Eagles suffered another loss in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday.
The Blue Eagles failed to repeat over the Fighting Maroons, who snuffed their fourth quarter run.
With the loss, Ateneo dropped to a fourth-place tie with Adamson at 4-5. It was Baldwin’s first time to lose five times in the elimination round since taking over the Blue Eagles in 2016.
“Win them (all). One at a time. We want to win them one at a time,” Baldwin said after the 65-60 setback at Araneta Coliseum.
Baldwin admitted that UP outplayed them inside the paint with reigning MVP Malick Diouf tallying a double-double and Gerry Abadiano, Francis Lopez, and Harold Alarcon hitting the big shots down the stretch.
“No question. It’s a strength of UP. I thought early, they’re going to Malick. They tried hard and we did a pretty good job early. There were some turnovers and we know, UP likes to put their head down and attack,” Baldwin said. “They have excellent attackers. Harold is an elite when it comes to that. Janjan [Felicilda]is tough for his size, he gets inside. Gerry is not so much an attacker as a pull-up jumpshooter but you defend him like a 3-point shooter but it’s like he’s gonna attack you. They just have guys all over the court. Francis another attacker.”
“That’s what they wanna do and today, they had success getting the ball into the rim, getting it into the paint, getting the offensive boards. Malick had a good job there. No surprise, but it’s about putting a little more activity we should allot,” he added.
Despite absorbing a second straight loss, the four-time UAAP champion coach remained proud of the Eagles’ fight.
“We talked about how proud I am of the effort they put out there. They stood toe to toe with a really, really good basketball team today,” Baldwin said. “We had a chance so this season has had a lot of that for us. We’ve come out on the short end too many times. How many times can I say growth? But you know, it’s what this team is learning.”
Baldwin has a week to prepare the Blue Eagles ahead of their crucial match against the No.2 National University Bulldogs on Saturday next week at Mall of Asia Arena.