THERE was no huge sendoff for Anton Asistio as he ended his collegiate career as an integral part of the Blue Eagles’ back-to-back championship.
That doesn’t seem to matter at all as the biggest fan of his game is the one that calls that shots on the bench.
Tab Baldwin was all praises for his graduating senior who had to work his way up from Ateneo’s Team B and into the Eagles rotation.
“One thing I learned from Anton is you never tell him there’s something he can’t do, he’s a tremendous fighter, not just a basketball player, a tremendous fighter, and a tremendous competitor, a winner in everyday. He pushes himself extremely hard,” said Baldwin.
Asistio was in the reserve squad when Baldwin took over, and the American-New Zealander at first didn’t even see the 5-foot-8 guard making the line-up. The veteran international coach even got to the point when he told Asistio that he was ‘too short, too weak, too slow and can’t handle the ball.’
That meeting lit a fire under Asistio.
“He changed his body, changed his mentality, continued to be a great shooter, became dependable in handling the ball and also one of our more dependable defenders,” Baldwin said.
“He’s sitting here today as a graduating senior with all the laurels that he deserves because he worked his tail off to get them and there’s no greater compliment than to see somebody pursue their potential and go a long way towards reaching it,” he added.
“I would endorse this guy. I would back him in any endeavor because I believe in him so much it’s pretty cool when you believe in somebody so much, he’s a great kid, a great young man and he’s gonna do great things in life and I’m very blessed to have him in this program,” he added.
Asistio said he didn’t see his stint in Team B as a demotion, instead he used that to further motivate himself and become a better player than he was.
This season, Asistio continued to reap the rewards for his hard work as he turned out to be the steadying force in Baldwin’s system, averaging 7.3 points while making 1.8 three pointers a game on 43.3 percent shooting.
It was already a dream come true for him to make the Blue Eagles line-up in his first two years, but never did he expect that he’ll play a big role in Ateneo’s return to prominence.
“When I made it to the line-up, that was my dream since I was a kid pero parang it wasn’t how I saw myself because I wasn’t really playing, and tten yun nga, I was sent to team b,” said Asistio.
“Instead of seeing it as a downgrade, I actually saw it as an opportunity to get better kasi the fact they sent me down siguro may kulang pa ako as a player,” he added.
When Baldwin came in, Asistio certainly made it a point to grab the opportunity and impress their new head coach.
“So with the help of coach Yuri (Escueta) I was able to develop my skills and develop my confidence and then luckily enough, a new head coach was appointed,” Asistio said.
“I knew it was another chance, it was a clean slate for everyone. It was another challenge for me and the rest is history,” he added.
It’s also kind of fitting for Asistio that his final year ended with a championship against Bo Perasol, the Ateneo coach when he was sent to Team B.
“Siyempre naging motivation yun. Ako I’m the kind of guy when I’m going after something, I use everything that I can as motivation and I guess that was just one thing, medyo nakakatawa nga na si coach Bo pa yung nakalaban ko,” said Asistio.
But he insists that he has no ill feelings towards Perasol, instead he feels gratitude for his former coach who pushed him to persevere even more.
“No hard feelings, actually thankful ako kay coach Bo, kundi dahil sa kanya di ako magpepersevere.”