MANILA, Philippines – La Salle may have scored a breakthrough win but the new-look squad has more work to do.
“One thing is to just settle down. Second is that we have to keep executing,” said head coach Gian Nazario after his Green Archers’ successful escape act against the National University Bulldogs last Wednesday, September 11 in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament.
The Archers held a 14-point lead in the 4th quarter, but quickly saw that erased as NU came storming back to take an 82-81 lead off the hot shooting of team captain Shaun Ildefonso.
However, new La Salle recuit Kurt Lojera broke free for a wide-open mid-range jumper in the waning seconds that eventually sealed the deal back to the green side, 83-82.
“[We need to learn] handling the pressure,” said Nazario. “We approach every game understanding the fact that we don’t have any import and that we have to double our efforts when it comes to rebounding. I was just looking at the stats. I’m glad we won in rebounding. It’s really one of our concerns as of this moment.”
Regardless of the rebounding issue, Nazario’s bigs came through as Season 81 Mythical Five member Justine Baltazar finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds while athletic freak Jamie Malonzo added 14 markers and 11 boards.
As for their composure, La Salle gets to put that to the test again as it battles the dangerous UE Red Warriors next on Saturday, September 14, at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Rappler.com
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