Green Archers not all Mbala, Teng
IT MAY have been all about Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng for the still-unbeaten La Salle, but coach Aldin Ayo also wants to highlight the efficiency of the rest of his crew.
“We make sure all of the 15 guys are ready,” said Ayo. “All of them should deliver, even the third group. If you’d see them in practice, they do everything.”
La Salle, now the only team with a perfect record at 4-0, showed the past week how it can roll past an opponent with ease and also weather a gutsy challenge by another in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Fueling the Green Archers’ streak were Cameroonian rookie Mbala (19.3 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks) and Teng (19 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals).
But the Archers’ supporting cast of Kib Montalbo, Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Abu Tratter and rookie Ricci Rivero also proved vital in their 38-point whipping of University of Santo Tomas, 100-62, and the come-from-behind 75-66 triumph over National University.
The twin wins helped the Archers to their best start since 2003, when they also kicked off the season at 4-0.
“The 15 guys here, they have equal opportunities,” said Ayo. “They compete during practice. Whoever can help during the game, he gets to play.”
Rivero, a former high school standout from La Salle Green Hills, feels grateful that he gets to show his wares right in his first year.
The 6-foot-1 Rivero delivered quality minutes during the Archers’ rally against the Bulldogs and showed flashy play, like his highlight reverse dunk, versus the Tigers.
“I guess it’s just my willingness to win,” said Rivero, “I know coach won’t use me to score because we already have a lot of scorers. So I have to step up on defense, and off the bench, I have to be ready.”
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.