La Salle: No plans of slowing down
FRESH from ripping a rising team, La Salle hopes to bring the same intensity even against a winless squad in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament today.
And La Salle coach Aldin Ayo’s plan is to treat University of the East as a team that plays better than its record so that his Green Archers won’t ease the pressure on the gas pedal and sustain their drive to stretch their perfect run to six.
“We’re not going to take them lightly,” Ayo said of the Warriors. “We know their capabilities. They gave us a hard time during the preseason—physically, mentally. We’re going to be ready for that.”
Before the 4 p.m. clash between two teams on opposite ends, Ateneo shoots for solo second versus University of the Philippines at 2 p.m. at Mall of Asia Arena.
Although Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala have fueled the Archers’ streak, Ayo thinks his team also owes a lot to the players backstopping their two stars.
“Those guys, they have the confidence,” Ayo said of his support crew, who again stepped up in the Archers’ 16-point beatdown of the Adamson Falcons, 91-75, last weekend.
While Mbala (21 points and 16 rebounds) and Teng (15 points) dropped their usual numbers, guards Kib Montalbo (12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals) and Aljun Melecio (13 points) helped the Archers keep the Falcons at bay.
“I’m very optimistic that as the season goes along, we’re progressing,” said Ayo. “Hopefully by the second round and semis, and hopefully when we make it to the championship, that’s where we’ll peak.”
As La Salle tries to keep its distance from the rest of the field, rival Ateneo targets a fourth triumph to break away from a four-way tie for second.
But it may be tough as the Blue Eagles take on a Maroons side very familiar with them.
“We were [under] them last year,” Ateneo mentor Sandy Arespacochaga said of new UP coach Bo Perasol and assistant Ricky Dandan, who mentored the Eagles for three seasons. “They know most of our players.”
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