COACH Tab Baldwin hopes Ateneo would be able to get off to a strong start and quickly react to adjustments that La Salle is expected to make when the Eagles and Archers clash in Game Two of the UAAP finals on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Archers allowed the Eagles to fight back from a huge early deficit in the series opener, but Baldwin expects a much more focused La Salle side this time.
“Sixteen turnovers is an improvement on what we’ve been with La Salle in the past. But if you noticed in the second half, they didn’t press very much and that will come back. We will see that again for sure,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin declared the Archers were simply better, challenging the young Eagles to turn things around.
“They have a lot to learn. They’re hardworking kids trying to learn the game, and we’re getting phenomenal lessons in a game like this.
“But it’s not about lessons right now. It’s about standing up to the challenge and becoming champions. La Salle did a better job of that than we did,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin says the Eagles just need to avoid falling into an early hole.
“I thought our defense was okay in the first half. We gave up too many easy points in the first quarter. That was related to the poor start. But other than that, our defense was very solid,” said Baldwin.
“We really needed to just make some adjustments offensively, which we did. We came out and made good shots. It was the kind of game that it should be — it was two competitive basketball teams working extremely hard trying to put the caliber of play that made us finalists out of the floor,” Baldwin said.
“We were prepared and we went out, but for whatever reason, and I credit La Salle, they really came out and they were business-like and we weren’t. It took us a long time to settle down,” said Baldwin.