Tab Baldwin admits coaching miscues

Ateneo de Manila University head coach Tab Baldwin saw a well-prepared defending champion University of the Philippines outplay them at crunch time.

Well-disciplined as they were running their system, Baldwin admitted that his squad still needs to get used to executing in-situation plays that are not part of their playbook.

“Sort of damn if I do, damn if I don’t. You go out and run something that’s part of your system and they pretty well know what’s coming,” Baldwin said.

“You try to draw something up, but we’re not just good at executing unpracticed plays yet so the principles aren’t locked in yet.”

With the Fighting Maroons disrupting Ateneo’s offense down the stretch, Baldwin tried to tweak plays to catch UP off guard.

But the Blue Eagles failed to put their game plan in motion, allowing the Fighting Maroons to escape with a 76-71 overtime victory in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The rematch of last season’s finale once again went UP’s way with the Fighting Maroons moving up to a 4-1 win-loss record for a share of the lead with National University while sending Ateneo spiraling down to 3-2 card in a logjam with De La Salle University and University of the East.

“You can’t fault the effort. But again, discipline at the end favored UP,” Baldwin said as the loss reopened the wound of the Season 84 Game 3 Finals overtime defeat that denied Ateneo a four-peat.

“We made a couple of silly turnovers; we had a couple of possessions to maybe win the game and we didn’t execute. Those are the things that championship teams don’t do. So, it requires being fixed.”

Save for Forthsky Padrigao’s late treys that forced the overtime and gave UP a scare in the closing seconds of the extension, Ateneo had a difficult time running their sets.

In fact, it was just Padrigao who scored all of the Blue Eagles’ seven points in the extra five minutes including a booming triple that cut Ateneo’s deficit to just 73-71 with 23.4 seconds remaining.

Kai Ballungay had a chance to tie the game after UP forward Carl Tamayo split his charities but his corner three went off target.

“We were trying certain players, certain looks and just lack of execution. They were there. We had Ange (Kouame) wide open in one play, we didn’t see him. We had Kai wide open on another play, we didn’t see him and they were not plays we regularly run,” Baldwin said.

“You know maybe that’s bad coaching.”

The Blue Eagle will have a chance to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday against Adamson University.

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