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Improved Eagles vow to do better in Season 80

MANILA, Philippines — The Blue Eagles have matured. But so did opposing teams.

“We’re gonna be a team that plays off of last season’s finish,” said Ateneo de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin. “It’s gonna be a tough UAAP. We will be tested.”

But he stressed his belief in his wards, “I believe this team can be good.”

And while he expects that the Eagles would ride on their improvement, Baldwin, a veteran in the international hooping circuit and also a former Gilas mentor, is wary of the other teams.

“I want to reiterate that there were a lot of young teams. There are a lot of intact lineups from last year’s UAAP,” he noted.

"I don’t think we get a big jump on other teams just because we were young and now we’ve matured,” the American-Kiwi tactician offered. “You know, we certainly should be much better than we were. But then again, I expect a jump in competition from last year.”

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According to Baldwin, they’ve put premium on cutting down mistakes made on the hardwood.

“It's frustration for me all year last year — the number of mistakes that we made as a team.
And so we’ve worked really hard to cut that down,” he noted.

"I expect a to see a better-organized team that handles the ball better and a team that understands what their opponents are doing this year much better than we did last year,” he closed.

The 59-year-old coach will get to see if the Eagles have indeed become a better-organized crew when they take on an fellow almost intact team in the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Saturday’s second game.

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