THE Ateneo Blue Eagles continue to be a mystery to the opposition just days before the start of UAAP Season 77.
The Blue Eagles skipped the preseason tournaments all summer and coach Bo Perasol was not around during Monday’s season launch as the entire team is still in Korea to wind up their preparation for this year’s campaign.
Ateneo assistant coach Yuri Escueta was the lone representative of the school in the press conference but even his appearance could not give teams any idea on this year’s Blue Eagles.
“They are a mystery team right now,” National University coach Eric Altamirano said. “Nobody knows anything about Ateneo. All we know is they’ve gotten all the blue-chip players (from high school).”
The first time opponents will see Ateneo in action should be in its first game of the season against Adamson on Sunday.
That figures to be a problem for defending champion De La Salle, which will get its one chance to scout the Blue Eagles in the Falcons game before the arch-rivals meet the following weekend.
“Honestly, wala akong ka-alam alam sa Ateneo,” said Juno Sauler, whose De La Salle squad will face Ateneo on July 20 or exactly eight days after the opening day of Season 77 hostilities.
“The only time we’ll going to see them is in their first game. That’s why it’s a little bit hard for us because it’s our second game. We can only base on our judgment on one game,” said Sauler.
The Blue Eagles are winding their preparations for Season 77 in a Korea tournament where they faced teams from Australia, the host team and a US NCAA Division II school in Brigham Young University.
Escueta said Ateneo lost their games prior to Monday but the results were respectable. Based on the reports he was getting, the former Blue Eagle said the inexperience of the squad showed during the matches.
“Talo sila pero ‘yung mga nakalaban namin, very competitive. Wala akong news on how the games transpired pero nakita ko sa stats, very close every game,” said Escueta.
“Karamihan siguro bata, kaya ganun,” Escueta said.
The Blue Eagles, who won five successive championships before being detroned by the Green Archers last season, return to the country on Tuesday, five days before their season debut.