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Baldwin: No time to relax


Ateneo de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin doesn’t want his wards to get too caught up in the moment of their victorious outing over rival University of the Philippines to end the first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.

He warns the Blue Eagles that their first back-to-back wins of the season would just be easily forgotten if they won’t sustain their momentum.

“This game really means nothing if we don’t back it up. Every one of you won’t recall this, you won’t think about this but this is the first time we won back-to-back this season. If we can’t do more of that, then this will just be a moment,” Baldwin said following the defending champion’s 99-89 overtime win in a rematch of last year’s finals Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Blue Eagles banked on Mason Amos’ eruption in the extension to finally put the Fighting Maroons away. UP forced the overtime after overcoming a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin is hoping that the victory would be the start of something big for his squad that blew hot and cold to start its title-retention bid.

Ateneo currently sits in third spot with a 4-3 win-loss record tied with archrival De La Salle University.

“It just feels good to win. We’ve been on the losing end three times this year and that doesn’t feel good. You can’t belittle the fact that you’ve beaten a team that’s 6-0 and I’ve been in that position before. It is a very, very good win for our program, but you gotta keep things in the context of the entire season,” Baldwin said.

“And it becomes meaningless if we don’t play good basketball and follow this up and keep improving as a team. This is a great sign for the development of our team.”

For the Kiwi-American mentor, there will be no rest for the weary as the second round is just around the corner.

“We have seven games to go. Until we show consistency over more than just a couple of games, nobody should rest, nobody should feel comfortable. So, I don’t really care about placing, we’re in the position now where we have to talk about winning games and I don’t like to do that, but I have to,” he said.

“So, it feels good to get the win, and the placings on the standings is irrelevant right now.”

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