UAAP: Ateneo, Baldwin bid emotional goodbye to ‘outstanding seniors’

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2022 02:44 PM

The Ateneo seniors sing the Song for Mary after their loss to UP in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 84 Finals. UAAP Media.
The Ateneo seniors sing the Song for Mary after their loss to UP in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 84 Finals. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines – As he reflected on their painful defeat in the UAAP Season 84 Finals, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin found some source of solace.

"Personally, I now have five friends that I didn't have a couple of hours ago," Baldwin said. "They were my players."

Their 72-69 loss to the University of the Philippines in Game 3 on Friday marked the end of the Ateneo careers of team captain Gian Mamuyac, starters Raffy Verano and BJ Andrade, Tyler Tio, and Jolo Mendoza. 

It was a deeply painful defeat, and Baldwin acknowledged that his players were hurting. Mamuyac, an Ateneo lifer, was in tears after the game: he had helped the Blue Eagles take a five-point lead in overtime, but it was erased by an 8-0 UP run to end the game.

"We'll lick our wounds and say goodbye to an outstanding group of seniors," Baldwin said of his team.

The coach was all praises for his five seniors, commending the work they did during the two years that there was no UAAP basketball. Andrade, in particular, gained plenty of praise over the season for his improvement, which led to a spot in the starting five after several seasons as a reserve.

In Game 3, Mamuyac finished with 10 points, while Verano had five points and seven rebounds. Tio scored two points and Andrade was held scoreless; Mendoza was a DNP.

Regardless of how they performed in their final game, Baldwin said his seniors "contributed immensely to what was a great season."

Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin consoles team captain Gian Mamuyac after their loss in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 84 Finals. UAAP Media.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin consoles team captain Gian Mamuyac after their loss in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 84 Finals. UAAP Media.

"I'm very, very proud of those seniors. And they're, they're hurting. They're really, really hurting. This is an extremely difficult occasion for them, and they're taking more upon themselves than what they should," he added.

"Time will heal everybody, as it does and they'll recognize, as I said to them in the locker room, they'll recognize all the things to be proud of in this season," he added. "But right now, they can't see that, they can't feel that."

"That's the nature of sports."

For at least two of Baldwin's seniors, the break from basketball will be a short one. Mamuyac and Tio both applied for Sunday's PBA Rookie Draft.

Baldwin is proud of how his players have developed during their time with the program, and he expressed his confidence that all of them are "going to be good pros." More than anything, however, he is grateful for what they have contributed to Ateneo basketball.

"I told all of them that they don't feel it right now, but what they gave to our program is so much more than what they received," he said. "And every single one of them, to a man said no, it's the opposite."

"They feel what they received is so much more than what they gave, but I disagree with them. But that's the measure of the men that they are," he added. "I'm proud of them."

"I wish them well and they know that I'll always be there to support them."