Tab Baldwin still rues Ateneo’s lack of 'killer instinct'
MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles are known to have many good qualities as defending champions, and mercy isn’t one of them.
This UAAP Season 81, the Blue Eagles have routinely blown out opponents they feel they can easily handle, whether they’re cellar-dwellers or Final Four hunters.
Which is why head coach Tab Baldwin called out his team after their playoff-clinching 79-64 win – still a rout by basketball standards – against the NU Bulldogs on Saturday, October 27.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, our attitude when we have a big lead. It’s not just the start of the 3rd quarter. It can be part of the 4th quarter, it can be anytime,” he said after the game.
“We dropped our mentality. For sure, we don’t have a killer instinct and for sure, it’s something we will continue to talk about.”
In 4 wins in the second round, the Eagles have flown high above their adversaries with an average winning margin of 18 points, with the NU game actually being the closest of the 4 matches.
They routed UP by 17 points (83-66), FEU by 20 (82-62), and UE by 20 (90-70), prior to Saturday afternoon.
The former Gilas Pilipinas coach continued his constructive criticism: “We’ve gotta get a bench that wants to go in with the same attitude. We’ve gotta get starters to come out and wanna go back in with the same hunger that they show when we got the lead. It’s not an uncommon problem for teams – even good teams – but it’s something that clearly we have to identify and work on.”
Clearly, being the best is not good enough for a mentor like Baldwin. With a mentality that always demands better, the possibilities for improvement are endless. – Rappler.com