CALL it whatever you want, the fact of the matter is that Ateneo is the last team standing in the 2018 Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) President's Cup.
And after adding another hardware to this group's already gaudy trophy case, coach Tab Baldwin couldn't help but feel proud seeing the accomplishments this batch has had.
"These guys have achieved a lot over the last year and I'm proud of them. I guess it’s nice to cap it all off with a couple of wins and these are some of the nicest trophies I've seen in my life, so it feels good to add it to the cabinet," he said. "I'm happy for the university and I'm happy for the team."
The PCCL trophy is already the fifth title the group has had after winning the UAAP Season 81 championship, together with golds in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup, SMART BBI, and City Hoops.
But more than anything, Baldwin is happy to see the "competitive environment" continue with the Blue Eagles, especially with standout performances from guys like BJ Andrade, RV Berjay, SJ Belangel, and Jason Credo in the PCCL to support those of main guys like Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, and Ange Kouame.
These performances, Baldwin said, will make the process of trimming down the final 16 even tougher for next season.
"We're looking ahead to 2019 and we’re gonna have an incredibly competitive environment. We’ve talked about this last year on who’s gonna make the final 16 and who wouldn't, and I think we’ll be talking a lot about that this year as well," he said.
For Baldwin, the way these seldom-used players performed when their numbers were called is a testament to the great job coach Yuri Escueta has done with the Ateneo Team B, as he said: "We see the value of our B Team program."
"Coach Yuri does a great job with our B Team and you see it with Jason Credo and RV stepping up and playing really well. That’s what it’s supposed to do," he continued.
"We worry a lot more when people are not doing their job than when they are. The fact that they're doing their job is good. We don't need to pat them on the back much, that's what we're all supposed to do, and we'd like that to be our trademark of our organization, to be professional and do our job and when you see the results, it validates who we're trying to be and the program we're trying to build."