Lack of chemistry not an excuse—Byrd
Getting his baptism of fire against no less than defending champion Ateneo, De La Salle active consultant Jermaine Byrd offered no excuses as the Green Archers’ succumbed to a 69-81 defeat to their bitter rivals Sunday in UAAP Season 82’s men’s basketball tournament.
Byrd refused to use the lack of chemistry as the main culprit for the defeat, saying that even with at least five new players in their squad, they should have come out stronger against an Ateneo team that also wasn’t at its best.
“It’s not an excuse, I mean the season is here now,” said Byrd, the former coach of the Qatar national team. “So, we understand what it was when we got the new guys. So, chemistry, you know, it’s part of it but we’re not going to use that as an excuse.”
Aside from Jamie Orme-Malonzo, who top-scored with 18 points, La Salle paraded Kurt Lojera and Tyrus Hill from Adamson, Jordan Bartlett from
National U, rookie Joel Cagulangan and Keys Meeker and James Pado, who both have US NCAA experience.
The Archers did hold the Eagles to 32 percent shooting, but they were left undone by Ateneo’s huge second period that turned out to be the cushion the defending champions needed to weather a late surge by the Archers.
“I thought we were not disciplined and you know they’re a championship ball club with a championship coach and they took advantage of that,” said the 39-year-old Byrd, whose team faces National U next on Wednesday.
“I think we have a lot of talent on this team. And it’s on myself and coach Gian (Nazario) to make it all work and you know I’m confident we can.”
Still, the Houston native feels grateful to have gotten a taste of the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry.
“It was amazing,” he said. “It was everything I thought it would be plus more. The atmosphere was great.”
Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas rookie Rhenz Abando earned the season’s first Chooks-to-Go Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award, after leading the Tigers to back-to-back wins to start the season.
The standout from La Union announced his arrival with a 22-point outburst in the victory over the Red Warriors, before following it up by contributing 12 points in an 85-69 rout of title contender University of the Philippines last Saturday.
“Rhenz is a breadwinner so he’s never lacking in motivation,” said UST coach Aldin Ayo. “He will always give his 100 percent, playing for his family and the UST community.”
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