Blue Eagles turn attention to academics after UAAP disappointment

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2022 04:45 PM

The Ateneo Blue Eagles receive their trophy as first runners-up of UAAP Season 84. UAAP Media.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles receive their trophy as first runners-up of UAAP Season 84. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- There will be no rest for an Ateneo de Manila University team that is still reeling from their loss in the UAAP Season 84 Finals against the University of the Philippines.

Fresh off a 72-69 defeat to the Fighting Maroons in their do-or-die Game 3 on Friday night, the Blue Eagles must quickly shift their focus to their responsibilities as students.

"Final exams are next for the team," Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin said in the aftermath of their loss, which ended the Blue Eagles' three-season reign as UAAP champions.

It had been a painful setback for an Ateneo squad that had dominated the UAAP since Season 80. The Fighting Maroons ended their 39-game winning streak in their final assignment of the elimination round, and then broke their hearts in an epic Finals series.

UP erased a five-point Ateneo lead in overtime, with JD Cagulangan nailing the buzzer-beating triple that gave the Fighting Maroons their first UAAP title in 36 years.

Baldwin said after the game that his players, particularly their veterans, were down. Yet that wouldn't keep them from fulfilling their tasks as student-athletes.

"I would bet you that even through the disappointment, some of them will be studying tonight, because exams are coming very quickly," he said. 

The coach noted that it was a difficult situation for his players. Because the Blue Eagles have been in a bubble for the past few months, they have been making do with online classes. 

"The demand from the basketball season has been extraordinary. It's put a lot of pressure on them as students," said Baldwin, who nonetheless assured that the Blue Eagles were getting "some support" in terms of their academic responsibilities. 

While his players are taking their exams, Baldwin will be getting some much needed time off.

"I'm going to travel for a little bit," the coach said.

But it will be a quick break: by June, he expects to be back to work with the Blue Eagles, and in July, he has a recruiting trip already scheduled.

"We'll be training and building for next season," the coach assured.