ATENEO coach Tab Baldwin felt the young Blue Eagles simply lost their composure in the endgame - and consequently a 10-point lead - against Far Eastern University on Saturday in the opener of their Final Four showdown.
Baldwin said the Blue Eagles were not able to show the composure they had developed - or the coach thought they had develpped - toward the tailend of the elimination round where the team won six games in a row.
“We didn’t play with the sort of composure and experience that we think we have developed during the course of the season,” the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said. “It got away from us in the fourth quarter and we paid the price.”
Baldwin lamented a more experienced FEU side controlled the fourth quarter that saw it outscore Ateneo, 27-19, with Raymar Jose nearly outrebounding the entire Blue Eagles side in the second half, 17-18.
“They took the fourth quarter away from us. They played good FEU basketball. They were aggressive on the offensive boards. They kept attacking the rim. They shot 17 free throws and had offensive rebounds. That’s FEU basketball,” said Baldwin.
Aside from Jose, Prince Orizu was also a force in the paint for FEU, grabbing 10 rebounds - a point that didn't escape Baldwin's attention.
“Jose and Orizu dominated that stretch and that’s nothing new to anybody that knows them,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin also rued rued the Blue Eagles' inability to make the three-point shot against FEU’s zone defense, admitting his team simply shot one too many times from three-point range.
“We didn’t shot the ball well. Every zone in the world is tough when you don’t shoot the ball well. We ended up taking 36 threes and that’s way too many. That’s what they forced us to do," he said.
"That number went in their favor. In another game, we might shoot a higher percentage,” Baldwin added.