Wounded Eagles eye strong rebound
After ego-deflating loss to Falcons
MANILA, Philippines — Grounded by a hungrier Adamson Soaring Falcons in their kick-off outing, defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles expressed confidence they would be able to get back and do what they are set out to do in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball wars.
“It was fairly obvious that Adamson was extremely well prepared, they played their hearts out and got the results we’re looking for. We didn’t,” admitted AdMU coach Tab Baldwin whose highly-fancied wards dropped a shocking 70-74 loss to Adamson right in their maiden appearance of the tournament.
Like warriors, the Ateneans won’t beat themselves up too much for the painful loss and instead make some course correction as they hit the court again tomorrow against University of the Philippines, another tough customer who showed its muscle in an 87-58 walloping of University of the East.
“Of course people think there’s asteroids falling outside and the world is ending. We don’t,” said Baldwin.
“I told the guys that we said we are everybody’s championship game. Now we know what that actually means, what that actually feels. Now we have to live up to our word that every one of these games is the only one that matters. If we can do that, I think we’ll be fine,” he added.
Regarded as virtually unbeatable, the Eagles were exposed as mere mortal by the Falcons, who banked on the herculean efforts of old reliables Jerrick Ahanmisi and Papi Sarr and new face Jerom Lastimosa to draw blood on AdMU five.
Baldwin said Adamson wanted it more, as evidenced by the way they crashed the boards in the second half, 36-29.
“Adamson was hungrier when it came to the boards in the second half. If you’re not the hungrier team, I don’t care how good you are, you open the door to your opponent, today (Sunday) we weren’t the hungrier team.” he said.
Like Ateneo, last year’s runner-up La Salle had a flat opening, losing 61-68, to Far Eastern U.
“I think it’s evident in the first game it’s young team versus a seasoned team,” said DLSU’s new coach Louie Gonzalez, who’s in charge of the Archers’ rebuilding process following the departure of key players Ben Mbala and Ricci Rivero and former mentor Aldin Ayo.
“Iyung heart naman nandyan. As long as nandyan yung heart, nandyan yung effort, we will compete. Ako I’m very optimistic we’re only going to get better,” he added.
The Archers eye redemption in their next assignment against Adamson on Saturday.