UAAP Basketball

Ateneo braces for ‘competitive, challenging’ UAAP second round

JR Isaga
Ateneo braces for ‘competitive, challenging’ UAAP second round

READY. Ateneo star center Ange Kouame gives a low-five to head coach Tab Baldwin.

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

Not even mighty Ateneo escaped unscathed in the first round of the unpredictable UAAP Season 85, and head coach Tab Baldwin is staying wary ahead of the tournament's second round

MANILA, Philippines – The first round of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament featured some eyebrow-raising twists and turns that fully defied preseason expectations.

These included surprising winning runs by NU and UE, coinciding with the lackluster showings of La Salle and FEU.

Not even mighty Ateneo was left unscathed by the unpredictability as the Blue Eagles suffered two early losses to their rival Green Archers and defending champion UP to go down as low as fifth at one point in the standings.

Heading to the second round, multi-titled Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin is expecting to tread the same rocky path that his wards went through in the first seven games of the tournament.

“I’m pretty comfortable with where we’re at. We’re getting better, we’re growing, we’re learning. That’s what you’re supposed to do over the course of a season, and the second round is gonna be competitive and challenging, but we feel good,” he said.

“We feel good about where we’re at, we feel good about our team. We’re ready to go.”

Kicking off Ateneo’s second round slate is an October 29, 4 pm match at the Araneta Coliseum against surprise fourth-placer Adamson, and Baldwin knows better than to look too far ahead in their title redemption campaign.

“[The next game] is all we really care about. If you’re 5-2, you can’t go 12-2 next Saturday. You can only go 6-2. That’s the only one that really factors into our thinking,” he said.

Baldwin also hopes that the one-week break in between rounds will give the team enough time to rest and refine their game plans moving forward in the season where clearly anything can happen to any team.

“I’m on record saying that the more preparation time you give our coaching staff, I think the better off we are,” he said.

“Players don’t always like that, because they know it’s a grind. But they also trust the coaching staff, as we trust them. We are in the process of getting better, so more preparation time should help us do that.” –

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SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball

SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball

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