Ateneo De Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin said that poor shooting is the cause of his wards’ massive 67-80 loss to Far Eastern University (FEU) in the Final Four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“We shot the ball badly,” lamented Baldwin pertaining to their recent loss, which was a second straight for Ateneo following its 76-79 setback to archrival De La Salle University in the last elimination round tussle.
“We had open shots particularly in the first half but we didn’t hit them. In the second half, we started to force shots. I think our offense got worse,” he added.
The misfiring Blue Eagles went 26-of-71 from the field, resulting in their season-low scoring output and the defeat that pushed the semifinals series to a do-or-die game.
The Eagles were able to drain 10 three-pointers but took 32 shots from beyond the arc for a lackluster 31 percent shooting clip.
King Eagle Thirdy Ravena, who topscored with 17 points on a decent 7-of-14 field goal shooting, shared the same sentiment.
“We had open shots that didn’t went in. It really happens sometimes.”
The former Gilas Pilipinas mentor Baldwin said the Katipunan-based cagers lost their confidence in both offense and defense.
“The big issue was our defense. Their confidence was really great,” he said. “Our defense seemed to lack the last 10 percent of effort that it needs to have an impact on a good offensive team and tonight (Sunday) FEU was a good offensive team.”
Indeed, the Tamaraws were better in finding the bottom of the net as they converted 31 of their 63 shots (49 percent) and sank eight of their 19 attempts from the rainbow territory (42 percent).
FEU also made 28 of their 60 contested shots (47 percent) compared to Ateneo’s 23-of-61 (38 percent).
“Almost all their shots were contested field goal attempts. I don’t think our contests had any sort of vigor to them,” said the 59-year old hoops tactician.
Despite the loss, Baldwin believes the Eagles, who soared to a 13-game winning streak in the eliminations, can return to their winning ways when they face the Tamaraws in the knockout game for the last finals berth on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“We just have to get back to understanding what we do well, sort of rediscover who we are.”