ATENEO is moving on after missing out on the chance of sweeping the elimination round that would have given the Blue Eagles an outright berth in the finals in UAAP Season 80.
The Blue Eagles finished the elimination round with a 13-1 record after losing to archrival La Salle, 79-76, on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Head coach Tab Baldwin, however, is not feeling any regrets about not going unbeaten in the elimination round.
“We need to put that in perspective. It would have been nice to have, but that’s it,” said Baldwin. “It would have been nice. We still have to win the title. We just have a different route to try and do what we want to do.”
Baldwin said the players also have no feeling of sadness towards missing the sweep. The Ateneo coach even said the Blue Eagles were headed for a loss based on their play in the first half that saw the team commit 15 turnovers.
“They are fine. They understand. We talked about it before the game. We talked about it at halftime. In fact, at halftime, I told them the way we played in the first half, I hope we lose because we don’t deserve to win the way we were playing,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin credited La Salle for its play in the second half, particularly down the stretch when Green Archers scored the final 10 points of the game.
“I think we solved that problem in the third quarter. We discovered who we were, but then again, in the fourth, you have to give credit to La Salle’s energy and effort, and their defensive changes. And we were in foul trouble. We just couldn’t overcome that,” said Baldwin.
As the bid for an undefeated season ended, Baldwin and the rest of the Eagles now turn their focus on the Final Four where they face Far Eastern University. Ateneo holds a twice-to-beat advantage, and only needs one game to advance into the finals.
“Things like sweeps and undefeated season are things that you dream about but you’ve got to leave it behind pretty quickly. Even if we win today, you’ve got to leave it behind because the goal that we have is still in front of us. What really matters is the next game, right? FEU and practice on Tuesday,” said Baldwin.