ATENEO coach Tab Baldwin admitted the lengthy preparation against La Salle provided a boost for the Blue Eagles’ chances of winning against the Green Archers, who suffered their first defeat in UAAP Season 79 on Saturday.
Baldwin said the Blue Eagles made good use of their two-week break to pull off a shocker when their young squad defeated the Green Archers, 83-71.
“It makes a big difference. I told the guys we were really, really focused on all the little things with La Salle,” said Baldwin.
The Blue Eagles won after converting 51 percent of their shots (33-of-65), as compared to the Green Archers, who appeared rusty after the break as they shot 29 percent from the field.
“I thought La Salle missed a lot of good shots that they normally make. I think their effort was excellent and I thought our guys just maybe won the effort a little bit. But that’s a toss-up too,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin also felt the Blue Eagles had the edge in terms of preparation, going deep on details for their game plan while the long break may have lulled the Archers into complacency.
“We perhaps have the edge, the psychological edge in terms of we were doing things differently. We were doing things, specifically the small things,” said Baldwin.
“When you are 12-0, you are not going to change what you are doing to prepare for a 6-4 team. I felt that was an advantage for us and that’s just the way it is. If I was 12-0, I won’t be changing a lot for an upcoming opponent,” said Baldwin.
Still, the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said they can’t celebrate too much, especially after admitting that their strategy against La Salle still needed some more tweaks.
“The execution was far from perfect. You have to defend La Salle. You can’t let them run their halfcourt stuff. The biggest thing is the points they get from turnovers and offensive rebounding and it was far from perfect. We still committed 26 turnovers and we gave 25 offensive rebounds,” he said
“You can’t really pat yourself on the back that much,” Baldwin added.
But while he was far from pleased with the execution, Baldwin was very much satisfied with the composure of the young Blue Eagles.
“The thing I was proud off was their composure. They held a double digit lead in the second half and for you to stop La Salle to get runs over you, I think you’ve done something pretty special,” said Baldwin.