By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FINISHED their first-round campaign in Season 82 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines with a 3-4 record, the De La Salle Green Archers admitted things have not gone the way they were expecting it but are looking to do better come the second round of the tournament.
Defeated the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 92-77, on Sept. 28 to finish their opening-round bid on a high note, the Archers are using it as motivation to be steadier in winning moving forward.
“We were due to win. The way the team has been practicing, it showed in today’s game. We were just talking about it that when our team follows the game plan, the results will follow after that,” said La Salle coach Gian Nazario after their win.
La Salle had it rocky in the first round, not finding any consistency in winning, including losing back-to-back “winnable” games midway that prevented it from finishing with a winning record in the first half of the season.
It is a turn of events that is not lost to the team and something it hopes to address for the rest of the way.
“Well, it’s just the mindset. We have been hearing a lot of things about our team and our players were really affected. If we showed that we are affected with the things going outside, then we are not doing our jobs as coaches. We made sure that we are on the same page at all time, made sure to keep everybody in check individually, healthwise, mindset-wise,” said Mr. Nazario of how they are dealing with things within the team and how they hope to turn things around in the second round.
Against UST, Encho Serrano played big, scoring a career-high 29 points on solid 13-of-22 shooting.
Graduating player Aljun Melecio finished with 26 points with Jamie Malonzo adding 13 points and nine rebounds.
As a team, La Salle shot 51% from the field and had 19 assists in total in said game.
For the second round, Mr. Nazario said key for them is controlling what they can control.
“The schedule has been really tough for everyone. We just have to focus on ourselves. When we do that, good results follow. We are going to stick with what is working and that is how it’s going to be moving forward,” said the La Salle coach.
In seven games to date, one-and-done Malonzo is leading the way for the Archers with a double-double average of 14 points and 11.5 rebounds, followed by Justine Baltazar with 14 points and 10.7 rebounds.
Melecio has been good for 12.7 points and Andrei Caracut 12 per game.
La Salle begins its second-round campaign against the National University Bulldogs on Oct. 6.