ATENEO coach Tab Baldwin doesn’t think even for one second that the second-seeded Blue Eagles will be in for an easy series against reigning champion Far Eastern University.
Despite holding twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, Baldwin believes the Blue Eagles are very much the underdog against the Tamaraws due to the players' lack of experience in a playoff of the magnitude of the one to be played on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I think FEU is going to be a monster in these games. They have experience, their coaching staff is the most experienced out there in this situations. For one second, we don’t think that we are anything other than the underdog,” said the former Gilas coach.
With Nash Racela at the helm, the Tamaraws ended a decade-long drought in the UAAP, winning the 2015 title against University of Santo Tomas in the finals.
But the Tamaraws lost both meetings against the Blue Eagles in the eliminations and put themselves in a precarious situation with a faltering finish that saw them drop three successive games.
Baldwin, however, expects to face a far different FEU team in the playoffs and played down Ateneo's twice-to-beat edge, saying everything will change if the Blue Eagles drop the first game.
“It’s huge. There is nobody that can say that it’s not big," he said of Ateneo's twice-to-beat edge. "But having said that, that doesn’t decide anything. It only decides how many games you have to win."
“Yes, we are in a great position but you let one game slip, it’s down to one game. We have to stay focused,” Baldwin said.
The knockout game, if necessary, will be held on Wednesday.