MANILA, Philippines – Although the Ateneo Blue Eagles are stacked with talent and height, head coach Tab Baldwin still factors in “size” as one of the biggest disadvantages of the team in the 2018 William Jones Cup.
The 6-foot-10 Angelo Kouame, 6-foot-8 Isaac Go, 6-foot-5 William Navarro and 6-foot-4 Patrick Maagdenberg bolster the 16-man Ateneo lineup bannered by 2023 Gilas Cadets Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto.
But Baldwin said this ceiling is still not enough against towering teams in the international club tournament set in Taiwan from July 14 to 22, 2018.
"I think size will be a big issue for us and we just have to learn as quickly as we can on how to measure up to playing against bigger players, the opportunity and the experience for our players will be priceless," said Baldwin.
Mike Nieto, Anton Asistio, Aaron Black, Tyler Tio, Jawuan White, Raffy Verano, Jolo Mendoza, Gian Mamuyac and Adrian Wong complete Ateneo’s Jones Cup lineup.
"We have a responsibility to go there and not just learn but we have a responsibility to go there and perform," added Baldwin. "And while I think it’s going to be difficult, I think our players really have the right frame of mind that they want this level of competition."
The Jones Cup will be another opportunity for the Blue Eagles to measure their capabilities before the start of the UAAP season as they face senior national teams and Canada's 3D Global in the 9-team tournament.
The reigning UAAP champions have proven they can keep pace with international competition after they defeated the U-21 Greece national team during their training camp last June.
The country's representatives steamrolled past varsity opponents in the preseason, clinching 3 preseason titles – Filoil, SMART City Hoops and SMART Breakdown Basketball Invitational. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.