A loss is supposed to be painful, right? I mean, we had some games this season that hurt us: the Suerte game winner in the UE match up, the Juan GDL shot in the UP game. Heck, even our win against NU in the first round was painful. But why does this loss, against no less than the Blue Eagles, seem to even uplift the spirits of the Lasallian community?
For one, this 2nd round encounter was completely different from the first round. The Green and White showed team chemistry through out the game, which was evidently lacking in the first encounter. We actually have more assists than the other team, even though the team from Katipunan is the gold standard of “team” concept in the UAAP.
Five players scored in double figures. Although field goal percentage wise some players were not too efficient, we can see that the distribution of the ball is even. All five players have top scored the team before, and against the outstanding defense of the the Blue Eagles, the Archers showed that any player put on the court can produce, which reflects the depth of our squad.
Ateneo did not pull away. The other team is known for blowing out opponents left and right, averaging a win margin of double digits in the tournament. But La Salle never let them blow the game wide open, hitting timely shots. If not for the questionable calls at the end game, that 8 point lead would even be less.
The Green and White out rebounded their opponent 52 to 48. Considering the tall order that is Ange Kouame, our team showed hustle,even our guards helped in crashing the boards ( Encho Serrano got 8).
Lastly, our defense held the fluid offense of Ateneo to 34.18%. Even though ours is not that far (34.67%), this shows that our defensive scheme, which varies per opponent, is proven effective. The coaching staff has made leaps of improvements from our first few games.
If the team remains consistent in the final games of the season, we are definitely looking at a final 4 seat. We trust in the system placed by our coaching staff, and we trust the dedication of our players who are donning our school colors.