UAAP: ‘All out’ effort helps La Salle finally end long skid vs rival
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle coach Derick Pumaren showed numbers 2017 and seven in their practice before their rivalry match against Ateneo in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament to remind the Green Archers when they last won over the Blue Eagles.
It had been five years and seven straight losses. Pumaren used those numbers as motivation and the Green Archers finally ended that long drought and dealt the Blue Eagles’ their first loss of the season, 83-78, on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum
The last time La Salle came away with the win in the highly-anticipated showdown was on November 29, 2017 in the UAAP Season 80 Finals Game 2, when Ben Mbala was still playing as well as Ricci Rivero.
“The other day in practice, I showed them the number 2017, and seven, that was the last time that La Salle won. We’ve lost to Ateneo seven straight times. It was an added motivation for the guys. Most of them are new so they should realize what’s in store, what’s at stake this time,” said the La Salle coach, who took over the coaching reins last season.
“They really went all out to get this victory. This hard-earned victory. Hats off to Ateneo, we know that it’s not an ordinary team, we know that they fought hard. In fact, we got killed on the offensive rebounds.. We have to correct that.”
Schonny Winston poured 25 points, six assists, and five rebounds but the La Salle coach credited his whole squad for stepping up, especially Raven Cortez and Earl Abadam, who contributed solid numbers off the bench.
“In order for us to win and beat Ateneo, it has to be an all-out team effort. When your number is called, you got to be ready and so, Raven stepped up when his number was called and stepped up to the challenge. He was able to show what he can do. Earl, solid in today’s game. He was able to do his thing, he didn’t panic. And he played like a veteran today. Hopefully, he can continue in the season, these guys will help us,” Pumaren said.
Although they got outrebounded, 63-41, and gave up 36 offensive boards, the Green Archers’ defense worked wonders as they held the Blue Eagles to 29-of-89 shooting and forced them to late game misses.
“That is one of the game plans that we did, defend the perimeter. I think they shot most of their three points in the first quarter but in the next three quarters, I think the boys really did a great job containing and defending the three-point shots,” Pumaren said. “I think they were able to make adjustments, the top pick and roll and tried to get Padrigao out of his comfort zone, I think we were able to do that.”
After his motivation worked for La Salle, Pumaren said they can’t waste this huge win in their bid to win a title this season, needing to translate their victory against University of the East (1-2) on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“This win means nothing if we don’t take care of business against UE. This win means nothing. We cannot be happy about this win, too happy about this win. I know that we’re too happy in eight games, finally, La Salle has won against Ateneo. But that was not the championship. That’s not why we’re here for,” he said. “The season is still too early. Nothing really to be celebrating about, focused, stay on track, and will be able to take care of business. We don’t underestimate them.”