"Di ako nagkamali sa decision ko sa pagpunta dito sa UST," said the 19-year-old playmaker who played for San Sebastian and La Salle-Zobel in high school.
On Friday, Baclaan exploded for 35 points on 3-of-6 shooting from deep, to go with five assists and three rebounds to keep Builders Warehouse-UST alive in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup as it pulled off a 98-93 stunner over third seed Adalem Construction-St. Clare.
Baclaan says the breakout effort is all thanks to the confidence he has gotten from his seniors who continuously urge him to play the way he knows how.
"Bilang rookie, binibigyan nila ako ng free will na gawin yung gusto ko para sa manalo yung team namin. Credits din sa veterans namin na hinayaan nila akong ilaro yung laro ko talaga," he said.
Kean Baclaan and the Tigers hope to extend the win run.
Baclaan acknowledged the tough situation that the Growling Tigers are in - a team in rebuild with a new steward at the helm.
But rather than be overwhelmed, he's looking at UST's setup as an opportunity to learn from the coaches guiding them in the preseason.
"Sobrang saya kasi ang daming tumutulong sa amin at ang dami naming natututunan sa isa't isa," he said. "Si coach Albert [Alocillo] kahit interim coach siya, grabe ang ginagawa niya sa amin dito sa D-League. Ganoon din si coach Jino [Manansala] sa Filoil and syempre nandyan na rin si coach Bal David. So lahat ng sinasabi nila, talagang sinusunod namin kaya grabe talaga at nasa isang page lang kami lahat."
After starting off 0-4 in the developmental ranks, UST has strung up four straight victories and is now just a win away from the semifinals.
"Sobrang konti ng preparation namin sa D-League, one week lang bago mag-start yung tournament. Pero nag-practice lang kami ng buo. Kahit down 0-4 kami, nagtuloy-tuloy lang kami hanggang sa nanalo na," he said.
"Ngayon, ayaw na namin magpatalo."
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