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Ateneo Gets Big Help From ‘The Buffaloes’ In Reclaiming The UAAP Crown


Tab Baldwin Ateneo Blue Eagles UAAP

Coach Ateneo Tab Baldwin. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin credits them with winning the title thanks to seniors Ange Kouame, Dave Ildefonso and BJ Andrade, who played key roles, and “The Buffaloes” – the the third person to have been the unsung hero in the UAAP season 85 men’s basketball.

Six months after suffering a heartbreaking Final 3 loss to the University of the Philippines in the first place, Ateneo has made sure to avoid the same mistakes and exact sweet revenge against his opponent with a 75-plus win- 68 on Monday at Smart Araneta Colosseum.

It was Kouame, who dominated the winner-takes-all match, and the other players who stood up to prevent the Fighting Maroons from completing unprecedented consecutive title dominations in a single year.

But Baldwin credits their success to subs led by Jacob Lao and Inand Fornillos, who rarely played in Season 85 but made a big impact by emulating every play of their opponents. In reality.

“But there’s one thing in our organization now, you’ve heard of BEBOB (Blue Eagle Brothers Band), we beat that. But there is a thing now called buffalo, and no one knows how important buffalo is. A huge, huge part of this championship trophy belongs to a group of young people most of you probably don’t even know their names,” said Baldwin, soaking wet after the players poured water on them to eat. happy. in his post-match interview.

“You can’t imagine the roles they played every day. Every day in fact. They simulate UP, they simulate Adamson. They simulate every opponent. And they don’t even run our stuff in real life. They will give their all, and some coaches will give their all for our opposition,” he added.

Baldwin, now a four-time UAAP champion coach, admits this batch of Blue Eagles has to work harder than previous versions of the Ateneo team, who were more intact with Thirdy Ravena, Mike and Matt Nieto, Isaac Go, Gian Mamuyac and SJ the angel.

“We have never done that before. And the reason we’ve never done it before is because we felt so strong and so strong in what we did, that we looked down on our opponents, it felt like We’ll run over them,” he said. “And this year, we didn’t believe it. We tried from the beginning, but we were not prepared to face the teams we faced and we suffered defeat. And so this is the countermeasure, and the buffaloes get better and better.”

The Kiwi-American coach highlighted every member of this championship team from Finals MVP Kouame and seniors Andrade and Ildefonso to other key players Kai Ballungay, Forthsky Padrigao, Chris Koon and Gab Gomez as well as The Buffaloes have all deserved each of the sweetest parts of the championship out of their four crowns over the past five seasons.

Baldwin said: “Never have I coached a championship team but rather every player and then some players on our roster, some other players off our roster, deserved. deserves a share of that trophy.

“Never have I coached a team that I can say that more honestly. And those people will not be forewarned, they will not be praised. So I can’t praise them enough, and I’ll dedicate it to their amazing teammates, these people, these great, great leaders and even that was overlooked. a lot of doubt.”

Kouame also shared his feelings for his coach, reiterating that this team is more than just him.

“It goes to the substitutes, especially Jacob, Inand, etc. Because they really give their all in training, and I have missed a lot of training sessions this season because of my knee. . So, you know, their backing has made us better, and we’re where we are now because of them,” the graduation center said. “I’m really grateful for the types of teammates who really give their all and live life to the fullest, just so they can make others better. It’s about the team, it’s about the buffaloes.”

Kouame has since run out of eligibility for UAAP, leaving the Blue Eagles to rely on a younger core for Season 86.

But the naturalized giant says never doubt what Baldwin can do for Ateneo.

“He rebuilt this team, really. And I’m surprised you still think about his coaching abilities. He is the best coach I have ever had. Put respect in your name, man. Did you see our team? Early in the season, in pre-season. A lot of people talked a lot about our team,” said Kouame. “Look at us now, look where we are. It’s because of him. We really appreciate everything about him, because, for us, he’s the best coach ever.”

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