Baldwin eyes strong competition in Japan tiff for Ateneo's UAAP build-up

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Baldwin eyes strong competition in Japan tiff for Ateneo's UAAP build-up
Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin

MANILA, Philippines — The Ateneo Blue Eagles will begin their journey for redemption in the UAAP with a preseason tournament in Japan as they are set to compete in the World University Basketball Series next month.

A rejigged Ateneo team, which will be reeling from the losses of SJ Belangel, Tyler Tio and Gian Mamuyac, will test their mettle against some of the top college teams in the tourney.

Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin is looking forward to facing tough competition to help his wards get battle ready for the next UAAP season.

"Well I think it looks like it's gonna be a strong tournament with high-level university teams," said Baldwin in a press briefing on Wednesday where they welcomed new recruit Paul Garcia.

"But you have to understand that in other countries, the basketball system isn't the same as it is here, where we are much like the US system. We put a lot of emphasis on school-based basketball, both primary school, secondary school and university. So, sometimes at these university tournaments, you get teams that might be… They might have credentials, but actually the competitions from their countries wouldn't be very strong. So it's hard to say," he continued.

The Blue Eagles are eager to bounce back after relinquishing their throne to the UP Fighting Maroons in UAAP Season 84.

Having to absorb the blows of graduating players and Belangel heading to Korea, Baldwin shoots for a great preseason build-up.

"I suspect that some of the teams are gonna be very good. And that's what we're hoping. We're hoping for a very strong tournament and obviously we want to put in a good showing," said Baldwin.

"But most importantly, we wanna get the requisite training for our team as we get closer to the UAAP. We need good games," he added.

UAAP Season 85 will kick off later this year as the collegiate tournament aims to hold a full season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its hand to cancel or shorten its affairs in the past two years.




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