ATENEO is treating its ‘Drive for Five’ as if the Blue Eagles are going for their first championship in the UAAP.
Team manager Paolo Trillo said that the Blue Eagles do not feel added pressure as they look to extend their dynasty in the country's premier college league with a rare fifth consecutive championship.
“For us, regardless of whether five-peat or going for first a title, may pressure naman ‘yan,” said Trillo.
The Blue Eagles, Trillo said, are motivated to put their names on the list of the greatest teams in league history. A fifth straight championship would go down as the longest reign in the league after the fabled University of the East team’s record seven titles in a row from 1965 to 1971.
“Five-peat is a rare feat. It may not happen again. We want to make the most out of it,” Trillo said.
Trillo said that they also looking to give a fitting sendoff to the two key people during the school's reign — Ateneo coach Norman Black and the school’s former sports patron Manny Pangilinan.
Black is set to leave the Eagles and coach pro club Talk ‘N Text at the end of the UAAP season and the team is hoping to give the former PBA Grand Slam coach one more crown.
“We want to send him off with a bang,” Trillo said.
Even though he has already cut his ties with Ateneo, the Blue Eagles are still dedicating their season to Pangilinan.
In their Final Four game against De La Salle, Black wore a sticker on his shirt with the letters ‘MVP’ to honor Pangilinan, whose support has led to a renaissance for the once-struggling Ateneo sports program.
“The team is actually dedicating this season to MVP. For all the years that they have supported us, we are grateful to him. The Ateneo basketball program will not be possible without MVP. He was the leader from the very start. On our part, the coaching staff wanted to dedicate it to MVP,” said Trillo.