Von Pessumal with ‘mixed emotions’ after possibly last Ateneo-La Salle game
MANILA, Philippines – Unless Ateneo and La Salle meet in the finals of the UAAP Season 78 senior’s basketball tournament, the game between both teams on Sunday, November 8, marked the last time some of the current Blue Eagles and Green Archers will participate in the historic rivalry.
From the Blue Eagles’ side, graduating players Kiefer Ravena, Von Pessumal, and Ponzo Gotladera (a former Lasallian), plus departing team head coach Bo Perasol may have played their last Ateneo-La Salle game.
“Mixed emotions for me, I guess,” Pessumal said after leading his team in scoring in the win, their 9th of the season in 13 games. “I’ve been in the Ateneo my whole life, and this is actually [potentially] the last time that I face La Salle.
“Of course I’m happy for the win, but I’m sad I won’t be in this atmosphere again. Next time alumni nalang ako (I’ll be part of the alumni). I’m just going to ask tickets from the players.”
The victory not only avenged a first-round meltdown by Ateneo to La Salle but also kept them in the chase for a twice-to-beat seed as they aim to catch FEU (10-2) and UST (10-3).
“We know how big Ateneo-La Salle is, but this is just one win for us,” said Perasol. “Looking at that, what’s important right now is we’re giving ourselves a chance to catch up with the league leaders. It’s still in our hands…”
According to the player and his head coach, the win also came at a good time considering the off-court dilemma the Blue Eagles had to deal with this past week.
“I think this is a good way to cap our tumultuous week,” said Perasol, the third-year Ateneo head coach. “In fact, for me emotionally, it was anti-climatic because of what happened the past few days. It took a little bit emotionally from us, because we were spent the past few days.”
Pessumal echoed his coach’s sentiment:
“This victory means a lot for us, especially [for] our morale because, as you know, this past week we had a lot of bad press against us,” he said.
“The heat was kind of on us, but I just want to thank the alumni, the fans for keeping with us.”
For Ateneo to get a twice-to-beat edge, they will need to win their final game against UE on Saturday, November 14, and hope for FEU to lose to both NU and DLSU and/or UST to lose to Adamson.
La Salle, on the other hand, is at 5-7 and ranks below the current fourth seed NU, which is at 6-7. They can make the Final Four by hoping NU loses their last game against FEU and by winning their final two games against UP and FEU.
The Green Archers can also make the Final Four if NU loses to FEU and La Salle splits their remaining games, which would result to a playoff for the fourth seed.
“I think if ever given the chance, we’ll probably see each other again. I was talking to Jeron [Teng], he said we’re going to see each other again, so we’ll be ready for that challenge,” Blue Eagles scoring leader Kiefer Ravena was saying after the game.
He later added, in Filipino:
“There’s still a lot that can happen. We don’t know yet. NU and La Salle still have games, so I don’t want to say it’s the last while the season hasn't ended yet. I’m still not thinking if it’s bittersweet because there might still be one more in the future. We just need to be ready.” – Rappler.com