FIGHTING for a spot in Ateneo’s rotation for the UAAP, BJ Andrade is making his presence felt in the offseason.
The 20-year-old guard was a steady presence for the Blue Eagles in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League and has sustained that groove in the PBA D-League - the reason coach Tab Baldwin is pleased with his progress.
"He's in his third year now, he should be stepping up. He's a very good shooter of the basketball and a very good defender," the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said.
For Andrade, there's really no difference with how he approaches the game as he finds a way to thrive in Baldwin's balanced system.
"Para sa akin, yung system talaga ni coach Tab. Everyday, lagi kaming nagpa-practice ng shooting at dahil sa kanya, nade-develop kami as a player," he said.
The 6-foot Andrade solidified his spot in Cignal-Ateneo's rotation further when he scored 21 points, making 6 of 13 shots from beyond the arc in an 111-81 blowout of AMA Online Education on Thursday.
"Hardwork talaga. Yun ang nagpu-push sa akin dahil gusto ko talaga maglaro sa UAAP and gusto ko ng minutes. Pero gusto ko ring gawin yung trabaho ko. Kung ano ibibigay sa akin ni coach Tab, gagawin ko," he said, capitalizing on the chances handed to him in the offseason.
"Sobrang laking tulong sa akin nito. Dahil sa mga leagues na ito, nabibigyan ako ng opportunity na makapag-pakitang gilas."
Baldwin, though, knows that Andrade still has a lot to learn as he sees him to be a big part of the Blue Eagles' campaign in the coming UAAP season.
"We've got to get him thinking about the game more especially defensively because he allows his instincts to take over. I love his aggressiveness, but sometimes he's out of position and sometimes he fouls a bit," he said.
"He's making improvements and I'm proud of him. He's continued to work hard even with very limited role win the team and hopefully this year, he'll reap the rewards of that."