MANILA, Philippines – A long rest may be a double-edged sword for the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles heading into the finals of the 2019 PBA D-League, which starts on Thursday.
This, according to SJ Belangel and Jason Credo as the Blue Eagles are in the midst of a one-week layoff ahead of Game 1 of the best-of-five title series.
Cignal-Ateneo swept Valencia-San Sebastian in the semifinals, while the other semis series between Centro Escolar University and St. Clare College Virtual Reality went the distance.
Credo and Belangel said Tuesday that their week-long break could work either way for their team.
“For us, advantage siguro namin yung nakapag-pahinga kami, but coming off a win in a do-or-die game, they have the momentum,” said Credo during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
“Iba ‘yung momentum coming off a win,” he added.
“Mahirap talunin ‘yung kagagaling lang ng panalo since ‘yung confidence level nila ay sobrang angat,” said Belangel, for his part.
The Blue Eagles are thus not taking any chances, and are preparing physically and mentally for their finals opponent.
“For us, we should not be complacent,” said Belangel. “‘Yan ang magiging mindset namin going to the championship.”
Cignal-Ateneo enters the finals with a nine-game winning streak, but they are aware that the championship series is another matter entirely.
“We still have to work hard. Hindi rin naman easy ‘yung way namin to the championship,” said Credo. “Sabi nga nila, bilog ‘yung bola, so anything can happen.”
“We still have to respect our opponent,” added Belangel.
Winning the PBA D-League title will be a boost to the Blue Eagles’ campaign heading to the UAAP Season 82 tournament, where they are gunning for a third straight men’s title.
For now, however, their focus is on the D-League.
“‘Yun ang goal namin, kasi for us, bakit ka pa sasali sa liga if you won’t aim for the championship. ‘Yun ang mentality namin,” said Credo.
“Every league na salihan namin, we will always try to do our best, and we will always try to win the championship,” he stressed.
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