UAAP Basketball

Baldwin sings praises for Padrigao after sensational Season 85 debut

JR Isaga
Baldwin sings praises for Padrigao after sensational Season 85 debut

Ateneo guard Forthsky Padrigao drives against the FEU defense at the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

Forthsky Padrigao takes the Ateneo point guard mantle left by SJ Belangel and immediately passes Tab Baldwin's test with flying colors

MANILA, Philippines – Forthsky Padrigao had himself a UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament debut to remember after helping lift Ateneo past familiar foe FEU, 79-70, on Sunday, October 2.

In his first game as a Blue Eagle starter following the stunning transfer of SJ Belangel to the Korean Basketball League (KBL), the former UAAP high school Mythical Team member led the way with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting and 3-of-6 from three, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Padrigao was as fearless as they come despite having the spotlight on him – draining tough shot after tough shot against the fearsome Tamaraw defenses, and displayed the high-risk, high-reward flashy playmaking that he was known for in high school.

As such, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin had nothing but praises for his young floor general after the game.

“If there’s a person that says they know anything about basketball in the Philippines, and they don’t know Forthsky Padrigao’s name before this game, well then, they’re lying. They don’t know anything about basketball,” said the multi-titled mentor.

“This kid’s been a winner, a champion. He’s a tough guy, he’s the dirtiest player I have on the team. You can strip him down and there’s no fear there, and he loves the moment.”

Due to Belangel’s top place in the guards’ pecking order last season, Padrigao was relegated to spot minutes in the rotation, and was sometimes even not fielded at certain games altogether.

However, the 20-year-old prospect clearly stayed locked in as a keen observer of the game, which showed the moment he got the keys to the vaunted Ateneo offense.

“I told myself before this season just to face any challenges that I get and try to overcome it. For me, it’s still a learning process because it’s my first year to start for our team,” Padrigao said. “For me, it’s all about accepting all the challenges and trying to overcome them.”

“I’m really not minding what the media says if I’m ready or whatsoever,” he added. “For me, I’m just trying to lead my team in whatever role coach Tab uses me in. I’m just focused on the team. The outside noise, I don’t really mind.”

With a long season ahead before the Blue Eagles even get within grasp of another championship, look for Padrigao to fast track his development, curb some excessively flashy tendencies, and generally set a great example for the rest of Ateneo’s young core. –

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