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UP loss a lesson in composure for Ateneo leader Koon, says Baldwin

MANILA, Philippines -- Overexcitement may have played a part in Blue Eagle Chris Koon’s worst game in the UAAP Season 86 so far, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin said.

Ateneo, which was the only team thus far in the season to beat the UP Fighting Maroons, lost 65-60 against the team in the Battle of Katipunan Sunday night.

Koon ended the game 0-of-10 from the field, going scoreless in 31 minutes and 40 seconds of play.

He also had a crucial turnover late in the game.

With less than two minutes left and with Ateneo holding the momentum trailing by two, 57-59, Koon drove to the basket and kicked the ball out to no one.

On the other end, UP's Francis Lopez sank a high-arching hook shot that gave them the needed cushion, 61-57, with 1:24 left in the game.

Koon, who had been struggling the whole game, then missed a shot on the other end, setting the stage for a Harold Alarcon dagger.

Baldwin admitted that Koon “really did not make good decisions” toward the end.

“He was really probably overamped to play this game but you know, it’s something Chris will learn from. That composure from big games,” Baldwin told reporters.

“He’s played big games and big moments for us so far but I think today, the defense was very good for UP and I think he just forced it a little too much trying to make plays, especially when our offense kinda broke down,” the coach added.

Despite the scoreless outing, Koon had five rebounds, four assists, two steals and was just -3 for the game.

“He’s one of the guys we go to try and make plays. It wasn’t just… him trying to take over. It’s the time he puts in that position in bad possessions and he tries to make plays at the end of the possession,” Baldwin said.

“We gotta be better and he’ll be better.”

Nine games in, and Ateneo is trying to get a foothold in the Final Four. They are currently holding a 4-5 win-loss slate, good for fifth.

The Blue Eagles are tied with the Adamson Soaring Falcons.

Those five losses are the most by Ateneo in the Baldwin era.