Tab Baldwin’s set of young guards were quick to atone for the steady playmaker’s absence, highlighted by the performance of Tyler Tio who not only assumed the starter’s role but embraced it completely.
Tio finished with 12 points and five assists without a single turnover while also nailing timely three-pointers in the fourth to lead the Blue Eagles back to the top of the standing.
Before this game, Tio had totals of 13 points and five assists.
“I tried to do my best during the practices to earn the trust of the coaches. We have the philosophy in the team, ‘next man up,’ so when Matt went down, obviously we were hurt because he’s one of our better players, one of our leaders,” said Tio.
“The captains and the coaches talked to us, the point guards, telling that we really need to step-up,” he added.
More so than his individual brilliance, Tio believes it was the masterful game planning of the coaches which allowed them to shine in their match.
“As you guys know there are injuries in th team, we just had to focus on what the coaches had for us. They had a good game plan for us, as a team we had to make sure we stuck with our principles,” said Tio.
But for the former Xavier Golden Stallion, it wasn’t just him who should be credited, the rest of the reserve guards also came to play.
Jolo Mendoza finished with 10 points off the bench in nine minutes of action, while SJ Belangel and Adrian Wong also played spot minutes, though Wong had to be replaced after losing a tooth in a collision.
“I give props also to Jolo, SJ and Adrian, it wasn’t just me who stepped up, we just wanted to fill the void that Matt left because yun nga, he’s one of our better players.”