Maroons, Eagles clash one last time for second contested UAAP title this year
Until about the last dozen days of the year, there was no fitting end to the two UAAP seasons crammed into the past 12 months.
The University of the Philippines (UP), are looking to become the first team to win two titles within a year, and Ateneo, trying to reclaim the title they have held for the previous three seasons, will claim the title. That final mark for all proverbial marbles was on Monday in Game 3 of the Men’s Basketball Finals at the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum.
And depending on one’s position — and who they’re cheering for — neither team seems to have the edge over the other in the 6 p.m. game despite the fact that the defending champion Maroons will compete. fight with the exception of Zavier Lucero.
“There’s pressure on our team, there’s pressure on us,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin. “But when I say we have losers DNA, I’m not joking. Of course, we won’t give anything away. We will come to fight. And now I think we have every reason in the world to believe.”
The Eagles will have some momentum going into the decisive game, after winning Game 2 66-56.
But Baldwin remains wary of the Maroons, never mind if Lucero—the hero of Game 1 of UP—will be cheered off the bench for a left ACL tear that was picked up during a non-contact play at 8:31 the end of Game 2.
“I was in a couple of Game 3. There was a lot of pressure. [When] you see that UP crowd, that’s a lot of pressure. I am very happy to be coaching Ateneo. The way they do things there, it’s going to be a little hot in that house,” Baldwin said.
UP’s depth and experience will play a big role, with Player of the Season Malick Diouf, Carl Tamayo and a highly effective back line led by JD Cagulangan needing the rescue and sealing all the holes. gap.
“I talked to my teammates about our experience and told them we have to give everything we have and fight to the end,” said Tamayo, whose glorious season has been. Bonus for pro strength ahead of five mythological choices, said. “I believe in the abilities of my teammates.”
The Maroons won the season opener in dramatic style, 72-66, before they were held to a low-performance draw under Goldwyn Monteverde’s watch in Game 2.
But Baldwin–a veteran like him–knows that there’s no point in looking back at the first two games of the series, or even how the year’s match score between the two schools went.
“We know it’s a great basketball team, an excellent coaching staff. They make huge adjustments. We hope that there will be some adjustments and everything will be back to the way it was,” said Baldwin, who has taken the Blue Eagles to six consecutive Grand Finals.
“They will try to predict our correction, because we will correct even if we won. [Game 2],” Baldwin said. “It won’t be the same pattern, and they will [know] and we will try to anticipate that.”
While Lucero’s absence seems to put UP at a disadvantage, Monteverde believes last Wednesday’s loss only made his charges better.
“Those defeats, they made the team stronger. It makes us communicate more and consider even the little things that we need to deal with,” says Monteverde.
“This is another chance to win the championship and work with what we have.”
Monteverde talked about nothing but the business in his head. Meanwhile, Baldwin wanted to take a much more relaxed approach.
“I think it will be a wild game on Monday. I wish I could play, but I’ll make mistakes pretty quickly. It will be fun. Baldwin said. request
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