THE shock loss to University of Santo Tomas on Thursday was a wake-up call that should serve the Blue Eagles' bid for a fifth consecutive UAAP crown in good stead.
The Blue Eagles fell to the Tigers, 70-71, after blowing a 19-point lead in the first half. But on Sunday, Ateneo started just as fast and never looked backin an 89-65 victory over National University.
“I told the guys that the game (against UST) was a wake-up call for us,” said Nico Salva, one of the veterans of the team, during the postgame press conference. “We recognized our mistakes.”
After the UST defeat, Ateneo coach Norman Black had specifically pointed out to the Eagles that they played individualistic ball in the second half, leading to the defeat.
“Just like what coach said, it’s all about playing defense and playing Ateneo basketball which is sharing the ball and playing with teamwork,” said Salva.
Kiefer Ravena also noted that Ateneo didn’t play team basketball against UST. He finished with five assists in the game versus NU on Sunday, a far cry from his lone assist last Thursday.
“We know that we are a good team, we just have to make it work. It showed in the first half against UST,” Ravena said.
“But we went to our tendencies of being individual players. Coach Norman helped us to wake us up,” Ravena said.
Ateneo did make sure not to commit the same mistakes again against NU in the third period.
“At the end of the third quarter, NU got a lot of fastbreak points which means that we weren’t going back on defense, which is similar to what happened against UST,” Black said.
“We were able to regroup and recover. We were able to stop their run,” Black added.