Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin is serious about fixing the “deficiencies” that cost them the game against nemesis De La Salle University.
He rued what he called their “self-imposed composure” when they tasted their first defeat in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The stinging 78-83 loss also snapped the Blue Eagles’ seven-game winning streak over the Green Archers dating back to Game 3 of Season 80 Finals back in 2017.
Although Baldwin heaped praises on La Salle’s effort, he could not help but lament how his wards responded to the Green Archers’ defensive pressure.
“I think we hold ourselves responsible, but you know, in some way that’s being unfair to Coach Derrick (Pumaren) and La Salle. They played a hell of a game, a really tough game,” Baldwin said.
“But I can’t help, I guess being the way I am, I can’t help looking at my own team and understanding our deficiencies in this game, that I think were unnecessary, really,” he added.
“That’s probably what is more disheartening than actually losing the game.”
The Blue Eagles were actually lording over the boards with 63 rebounds compared to 41 of La Salle. Ateneo even hauled down 36 offensive boards.
“With those kinds of numbers, we should, I believe, rightfully expect the scoreline to look a lot different. It didn’t, and I think we had issues with — let’s just call it self-imposed composure,” Baldwin said.
“Again, that’s being a bit unfair to La Salle, because they certainly had a lot to do with pressure in that game.”
He even went as far as challenging his team to address these “deficiencies” or just kiss their bid to reclaim the crown goodbye.
“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, at this moment, then we can start looking at Season 86,” Baldwin said.
With the loss, it is back to the drawing board again for Baldwin, but still wants his boys to step and embrace the challenge.
“It’s their job. They damn well better,” he said.