The Ateneo de Manila University won their 11th consecutive game against the FEU Tamaraws, 65-55, last Wednesday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena, but they had to do it the hard way.
The Blue Eagles kept their composure throughout the game especially when they were trailing by as low as 13 points in the third quarter and their defense proved to be the difference for this victory.
They limited the Morayta-based squad to only seven points after waxing hot from the perimeter early to cut the deficit to one point entering the penultimate period.
With the game being close up until the final two minutes, it was the frontcourt duo of Will Navarro and Ange Kouame who scored seven quick points to put away the pesky Tamaraws for good.
Even with the win, Baldwin was not that satisfied given their slow start but he expressed his gratitude to FEU head coach Olsen Racela for giving them the wake-up call that his team needed.
“FEU certainly gave us the wakeup call in the first half that we obviously needed,” said Baldwin postgame.
“I wish we never need wakeup calls but we are human. That goes for my coaching staff, me, and our players. So thank you to coach Racela for that as well,” he added.
Baldwin hopes that their scare against FEU is enough to put the Eagles on their heels. He emphasized that the team should stick to the basics as the road to another championship will get harder from here.
“If we don’t play our basketball, we can’t expect to win. In fact, I don’t think I would want to win if we don’t go out and do our job. So lesson learned from today. God-willing, we will carry that lesson into the next game and to the rest of the season,” mentioned Baldwin.
The defending champions’ next assignment will be against the UE Red Warriors on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.