La Salle edges Letran in Ayo’s first game vs Knights
De La Salle University kept its record clean, beating Letran, 78-70, in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup Sunday at San Juan Arena.
The Green Archers finished the group stages with a 7-0 record as their head coach Aldin Ayo faced his former team for the first time since leaving the Knights, a team he just led to an NCAA title.
Trailing 34-31 at the end of the first half, the Green Archers used a strong third quarter, outscoring the Knights, 29-15, to take a 60-49 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Ayo is not concerned with his team’s early success, dispelling any notion of peaking prematurely as the Archers prepare for the UAAP.
“Di ako naniniwala sa peak eh, kahit nung nasa Letran ako nung nag 7-0 kami nag-peak na raw tapos bababa, pero depende rin kasi kung paano mo i-motivate mga bata,” said Ayo.
Letran started the 91st Season of the NCAA with seven straight wins before a shock loss to Emilio Aguinaldo College, but the Knights recovered and eventually took their first NCAA title in 10 years after dethroning San Beda.
“I have to preach to the players every time na may laro na we have to exert more effort.”
The Green Archers put the effort, forcing the Knights to 34 turnovers while outrebounding them 47-37.
Jeron Teng led La Salle with 22 points while Ben Mbala had a 14-point, 18-rebound double-double.
Rey Nambatac, Jom Sollano, and Chris Balagasay each had 11 points to lead the Knights (2-5), who failed to make the quarterfinals. Felix Apreku collected eight points, 13 rebounds, two steals, and a block.
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