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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Baldwin: Eagles had to work harder this time

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The Ateneo Blue Eagles may have won their 12th men’s basketball championship in the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines.

But coach Tab Baldwin said their title conquest against University of the Philippines was a surprise this time around.

“It was a surprise. The team had to work harder than the previous versions of the Blue Eagle championships,” said Baldwin after Ateneo came away with a 75-68 victory in Game 3 of the finals at the Araneta Coliseum.

This allowed Ateneo to regain the title it lost last May to UP.

The Zavier Lucero-less UP squad could not overtake Ateneo in the final moments in front of 21,814 fans.

“A lot people doubted these guys. And there were times that it was kinda easy to doubt them,” said Baldwin.

Finals’ MVP Angelo Kouame finished his collegiate stint with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, averaging 17.66 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in the series.

Dave Ildefonso, one of two Ateneans to reach the Mythical Five after averaging 12.07 points and 8.29 rebounds per game in the elimination round, did a lot of work in the shaded lanes as well.

Now that his collegiate career in done, Ildefonso is planning to take his talents to the Korean Basketball League with Suwon KT SonicBoom.

Ildefonso becomes the second Blue Eagle to play in the KBL after SJ Belangel, who chose to forfeit his final season of eligibility to sign with the Daegu KOGAS Pegasus.

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