The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons will be a different team in the finals of the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Ateneo Blue Eagles’ coach Tab Baldwin expects this after they demolished the Adamson University Falcons, 81-60, in their Final Four showdown on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum to arrange a best-of-three title series with the Fighting Maroons.
“UP came out fighting today. They ran an entirely new offense. And that means it will be more difficult to prepare (against them),” said Baldwin after the second-seeded Maroons came off with a 69-61 triumph over the National University Bulldogs.
Baldwin is noting the possible tweaks in the Fighting Maroons’ game plan coming into Game 1, which will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Blue Eagles arranged a third best-of-three finals meeting with the UP Fighting Maroons in five years.
This time, the Maroons will be more challenging than they were last year.
“That’s why smart teams have tough teams. They try to give different looks,” added Baldwin, noting that the Maroons now have a deep guard lineup in Joel Cagulangan, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, Cyril Gonzales and James Spencer.
The Blue Eagles have found other means to adjust their roster, after veteran guard SJ Belangel decided to turn pro by joining Daegu KOGAS, instead of returning for this season.
So far, the presence of Forthsky Padrigao, Dave Ildefonso, BJ Andrade, Chris Koon, and Ange Kouame has kept the Blue Eagles a title contender this season.