ON an equal footing.
That’s how coach Tab Baldwin of reigning three-time champion Ateneo described what could be the playing field in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament, saying it’s due to the training hiatus caused by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
“The leveling factor is almost everybody is on the same boat. Almost all the teams have been sitting and waiting for the opportunity to get back together to practice and train,” said Baldwin.
“I haven’t seen them (players) yet other than (on) video for six months. That’s an incredible sense of discomfort there. I’m sure that when we do assemble, we’ll look very much underdone, if I could say raw than rare,” he added.
The Blue Eagles soared to their third straight crown via a perfect 16-0 season in the last UAAP cage wars where they beat University of Santo Tomas in the finals.
Baldwin, 62, admitted his charges’ preparations for next season hit a snag due to the health perils and uncertainties posed by the lethal pulmonary disease caused by COVID-19.
“We’ll not be ready to play basketball games, and I don’t think even by the rumored start in February that we’ll be anywhere near as a basketball team where we should be but my concern is that we get these players back to the rhythm of their development as fast as possible and we make up for lost time as much as possible in terms of getting them to be basketball players, the introduction of systems,” he said.