For now, the Ateneo Blue Eagles take pride in not having lost back-to-back games in its last 72 encounters.
But the Eagles’ foe, the defending champion University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, don’t like a second straight loss either, and are not expected to give their quest for a back-to-back crown that easily in the 85th University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Coach Goldwin Monteverde said his wards vowed to bounce back in Game 3 of their best-of-three finals series on Monday.
“Knowing the team, hindi naman ito susuko nang ganu’n. Iyung pagdating ng Game 3, babangon ito sa Monday,” said Monteverde as he emerged from the locker room following a long meeting with his wars, who lost to Ateneo, 65-55, in Game 2 on Wednesday at the jampacked Araneta Coliseum.
In Game 3, Monteverde said the players will most likely overcome the struggles that they went through in Game 2.
One of them is Malick Diouf, who was crowned as the Most Valuable Player and fell into foul trouble early.
Diouf was nursing four fouls until the final buzzer and it affected his rhythm.
They also lost one of their key guys in Zavier Lucero, while they were down, 44-59, after he tried to attack the basket and hurt his right knee trying to get past a screen.
After the Blue Eagles held the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to their lowest output this season, Ateneo will try to do it again.
Statistically, the Blue Eagles allows teams to score an average of 65 points on offense, while UP lets opponents norm 68.41 points.