ATENEO is first into the UAAP Season 81 Final Four but coach Tab Baldwin stressed that they still need to work on a lot of things, including the tendency to slow down when holding big leads.
After leading by as many as 24 in the first half, the Bulldogs showed some fight late and even outscored the Blue Eagles by seven points in the second half.
Thirdy Ravena, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the win, admitted it has been a problem for several games now.
“It’s one of those games na kahit nakakalamang ka ng marami hindi ka pwedeng magpabaya kasi grabe sila mag-run lalo na si John Lloyd (Clemente), nung uminit siya nung start nung second half, nahirapan kami pigilan siya,” said Ravena.
“Since UE, hindi masyadong maganda yung naging start ng second half namin. We should make it a point na next game, pag nagstart yung second half, mas aggressive kami di kami magpapabaya especially pag leading kami,” he added.
For coach Tab Baldwin, what’s missing is the killer instinct that great teams have, pouncing on every opportunity and never letting up.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about, what’s our attitude when we have a big lead? It’s not just the start of the third quarter, it could be at the start of the fourth quarter, it could be anytime,” Baldwin said.
“We had a big lead on FEU, 18-3, in the first five minutes and we dropped our mentality so for sure, we don’t have a killer instinct, for sure it’s something that we will continue to talk about,” he added.
For the veteran international coach, it’s all about the consistency in the players’ approach to the game.
“We’ve got to get a bench that wants to go in with the same attitude, and we’ve got to get starters who come out and want to go in with the same hunger that they showed when they got the lead,” said Baldwin.
“It’s not an uncommon problem for teams, good teams, but it’s something that we need to identify and work on.”