MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles had no problem dispatching the UP Fighting Maroons to complete a 14-0 sweep in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball and clinch their fourth straight Finals berth.
Eight Eagles scored at least 5 points in the 86-64 mauling, a game that was practically a rerun of their one-sided first-round encounter.
Although everyone feasted on the helpless Maroons in the eliminations-ending game on Wednesday, October 30, no one scored more efficiently than returning forward Will Navarro, who dropped 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 clip on top of 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals
Clearly a product of Tab Baldwin’s team-oriented system, the former San Beda product downplayed his stellar return from a concussion scare that sidelined him for practically two games prior to the Battle of Katipunan.
“Wala, di ko naman in-expect,” he said after the game. “Wala naman akong ginawang special. Ginawa ko lang yung mga pinapagawa, basic stuff, mga principles namin. Buti na lang maganda yung result.”
(I didn’t expect my game. I didn’t do anything special. I just did what I’m told to do, basic stuff from our principles. Good thing the result was fine.)
After resting his body for a week as prescribed by his doctor, Navarro then helped his team clinch the first-ever Ateneo season sweep in UAAP seniors’ basketball history.
“Nakaka-proud, honestly,” he said. “Siyempre di namin naisip ‘to kasi yung mentality lang talaga namin ay one game at a time. Sobrang happy, pero di kami satisfied.”
“Panalo pero, focused kami sa goal na championship,” he continued. “Yun naman talaga yung goal namin, di naman yung sweep. Championship talaga.”
(I’m honestly so proud. Of course, we were not thinking about it because our mentality is just one game at a time. I’m so happy, but we’re not satisfied. We won, but we’re focused on the championship. That’s really our goal, not the sweep.)
With the finals coming a full two weeks from now, Navarro is just thankful that Baldwin is keeping the team on track by resuming practice right after their historic sweep.
“Gusto niya lang talaga maging engaged kami na hindi makalimot,” he said. “Bakasyon na kaya gusto niyang maging focused pa rin kami sa task namin.”
(He just wants us to be engaged so we can’t forget. We’re already on vacation so he just wants us to be focused in our tasks.) – Rappler.com