La Salle stuck to its plan in Game 2 despite Francis Lopez status
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MANILA, Philippines—University of the Philippines rookie Francis Lopez was a game-time decision just hours before Game 2 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Finals on Sunday.
But even though there was a possibility that Lopez, one of the Fighting Maroons’ key cogs, wouldn’t play due to flu, La Salle didn’t let the uncertainty disrupt its game plan.
“We’ll focus on our game plan and pray… We don’t even know that there’s something like that, Francis Lopez not playing. Whether he plays or not, we’ll be ready to face them even if they’re incomplete or not because we have a game plan,” said Green Archers guard CJ Austria in Filipino before Game 2.
La Salle made the right decision with Lopez ending up playing and the Green Archers taking an 82-60 win to knot the best-of-three title series.
Austria was one of the players who gave La Salle a lift off the bench with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Austria said coach Topex Robinson was a big factor in the Archers’ bounce-back victory with his words of motivation prior to tip-off.
“He told us, ‘don’t mind the crowd because you know how they are, they’ll say a lot.’ Just stay focused on the game and whatever happens, stick together.”
UP coach Goldwin Monteverde lauded Lopez for playing despite not being 100 percent.
“He had the flu but you know, he decided to play. That means we also have a responsibility there. With us, we decide to play them if we know it’s for the best. We’d really go for it, but it just didn’t turn out our way,” said Monteverde.
It was quite obvious that Lopez was not in his usual element.
After a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double in Game 1, Lopez went 3-of-13 from the field for nine points. The Rookie of the Year did get 13 rebounds but committed three turnovers.