For Ateneo De Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin, the Blue Eagles will be focusing more on their strength and conditioning and skills development programs starting January next year to prepare for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.
Baldwin, the former Gilas Pilipinas national head coach, also said the team would rest for awhile before returning January next year. Ateneo was defeated by the Season 79 champion De La Salle University Green Archers in two games in the best-of-three UAAP finals recently.
“We will take a rest before meeting the players individually,” Baldwin told The Manila Times during interview. “We will be identifying the players’ weaknesses next year. We will be focusing more on strength and conditioning and skills development programs next year.”
Baldwin, who is also the Gilas national team’s consultant, said Ateneo would stay intact in Season 80 since only G-Boy Babilonia will only be the graduating student this season. “We will miss G-Boy’s character and leadership,” said Baldwin.
Asked if he expects the Blue Eagles to come out stronger next season after reaching the finals this year, Baldwin said: “I think it is up to our players, obviously there are some potentials and possibilities but they have to come in hungry, come in with right attitude, motivated and be the best they can be.”
“It’s up to them to reach their aspirational greatness individually and from there we will have a great basketball team. If the players will be wresting the laurels of this season thinking that they achieved something special this season, I believe we’re going backwards and that’s very unfortunate.”
Baldwin also praised La Salle for a great championship series. “That’s their championship and they really deserved it. La Salle is a great team and we gave them a good run. The talks are now all about De La Salle University. Season 79 is tremendous,” he said. “Jeron Teng is also tremendous player.”
Baldwin said he would take a vacation in New Zealand before the year ends.
The Blue Eagles closed out the season with 10-4 win-loss record and claimed a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four. They dethroned the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the Final Four to get into the finals.
Ateneo was led by Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Tony Asistio, Mike Nieto, Chibueze Ikeh, Vince Tolentino, Adrian Wong and Rafael Banal, among others.