The pressure to repeat as champions only serves as motivation for both Ateneo de Manila University and National University heading into their respective University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) championship battles.
Coaches Pat Aquino of the Lady Bulldogs and Sandy Arespacochaga of the Blue Eagles admitted pressure is part of being on top and overcoming it is a way to become a winner.
That’s exactly how they are looking to deal with as they wait for their respective finals opponents.
“There’s a lot of pressure, especially if you’re the defending champion. You’re competing against everybody. All teams want to dethrone you,” said Arespacochaga, the lead deputy of coach Tab Baldwin with defending men’s champion Ateneo.
“But it’s okay. We also had that feeling before.”
Aquino, for his part, stated that they would be ready as they shoot for their fifth straight women’s title.
“You just have to be ready,” he said. “We just have to practice well, talk to the kids and sacrifice, sacrifice a lot.”
Together with NU stalwart and national team player Jack Animam, Aquino and Arespacochaga shared their thoughts about the coming UAAP finals on Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Tapa King Restaurant at Farmers Plaza in Cubao.
Both teams are currently on a wait-and-see attitude with the remaining finals berth in each division still to be contested in a pair of playoffs on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.