FANS will have to wait until Season 77 of the UAAP to get a look at the young and new-look Ateneo Blue Eagles squad.
Coach Bo Perasol said the Eagles are not in anyway ready to play in any preseason tournaments, the reason why the school declined to join this year’s FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
The team readily created a lot of buzz in the offseason after gaining commitments to a host of blue-chip high school prospects in UAAP Season 76 juniors MVP Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino, Jay Javelosa, Isaac Go, John Apacible, and Clint Doliguez.
Another top recruit, Jerie Pingoy, needs to spend another year of residency to be eligible to join the Blue Eagles.
But fans will have to wait longer before getting a glimpse of the young turks as Perasol admitted the team is not yet ready for competitive action since the Blue Eagles will begin practicing as a complete unit only this summer.
Majority in the squad, according to Perasol, were still in high school until the end of the academic year.
In hindsight, Perasol said the school’s earlier decision not to join preseason tournaments was right.
“Hindi pa kami totally nakukumpleto dahil marami pang tinatapos ‘yung mga players namin galing ng high school,” Perasol said. “Kaya tama lang na hindi kami sumali dahil wala kaming ensayo.”
“Hindi talaga handa ang team para sa tournament katulad ng Filoil.”
Ateneo is one of three UAAP teams that will be missing this year’s Filoil preseason tournament along with University of Santo Tomas and Adamson.
The Eagles saw action in the Filoil tournament a year ago, but had to pull out during the playoffs due to a number of injuries suffered by their players during the preseason.
Perasol said he would have wanted the team to compete in the preseason had the Eagles enjoyed the benefit of having a complete lineup.
“Probably lagpas sa kalahati ang magiging rookies ng Ateneo. Kung ako lang ang masusunod, kumpleto sana ‘yung team three weeks ago. ‘Yun ang pinaka-magandang gauge dahil naghahanap din kami ng mga laro. Ang problema, hindi ko ma-gauge dahil wala ‘yung mga players ko,” Perasol said.
The Eagles will have their usual one-month training in Las Vegas this summer as part of their buildup for the league’s Season 77.