Now 'more composed,' Anton Asistio flying high for Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines – Against the UE Red Warriors on Saturday, September 24, Ateneo Blue Eagles guard Anton Asistio scored a career-high 21 points. That number more than tripled his total output during the first two seasons he had in the UAAP (6).
The Blue Eagles have had a few pleasant surprises 5 games into their campaign in UAAP Season 79. After beating the Red Warriors on Saturday, Ateneo now stands at 3-2 in the league standings, tied for second place behind La Salle (5-0) with the first round almost coming to an end.
And if not for a Dawn Ochea game winner last weekend, the Blue Eagles would be 4-1 right now, which is impressive considering the team lost 7 key rotation players due to academics over the summer, and then lost scorer Aaron Black (foot) to injury in the third game of the season.
“For us, hopefully in the greater scheme of things, this was a game where we grew up as individuals and as a team,” Ateneo head coach Sandy Arespacochaga said following the win over UE.
To a certain degree, the Blue Eagles have already grown up a ton this season, and fortunately so for Ateneo because it became a necessity once guys who were expected to contribute and play major pieces became unavailable.
Although that also paved the way for other players to step up and take the rope. Had Jerie Pingoy and Hubert Cani not been ruled ineligible and decided to transfer schools, Asistio may not be in possession of the starting spot and shot opportunities. What matters now is that he has, and he’s made the most out of it.
“I think I practiced my shooting the past few days, and yun nga (yeah), we were anticipating the kind of game that UE was going to play. Just preparation. My teammates also found for my open shots, so I give credit to them,” the 5-foot-10 guard said post-game.
“I’m not really thinking of my scoring. I’m just trying to be aggressive and trying to run the system, find the open guy. That’s it, basically,” he later told the media.
Asistio may not be aggressively looking for his own shot, but putting points on the board has become one of his jobs under Arespacochaga and consultant Tab Baldwin’s system. Even in the loss to Adamson, he finished with a team-high 12 points and took 13 attempts – a sign that his teammates trust and depend on him to let the ball fly.
Whenever Asistio fires a shot from downtown, the expectation among the crowd is that it’s going in. Against UE, where he attempted 8 shots from deep, 50% hit nothing but net.
“Anton has really worked hard on his game. Not only on his game… he bulked up,” said Arespacochaga. “He’s worked really hard. We’re not really surprised with Anton’s performance.”
That’s not a big revelation. After all, Asistio scored 45 points - including 17 in the fourth period - for Ateneo’s Team B in its title-clinching win against Arellano in the Division II final of the Fr. Martin Cup last November. That potential to be a deadly scorer is showing its form in the league where Asistio’s name is receiving more and more credit with each passing game as the Blue Eagles continue to make strides.
“Syempre, mas mataas yung (Of course, it a higher) level of competition. But I’m happy to be back to be able to help my team,” Asistio said about his call-up from Ateneo’s Team B and return to the UAAP seniors division.
“I’m more composed,” he answered about the difference from the Asistio now compared to before. “[I’m] not trying to look or force my shots. Just let the play run, and if I’m open, just take a shot.”
Take a shot is what he’s likely going to do more and more of moving forward. Given how hard he’s worked and how that’s translated to the basketball court, no one can blame him. – Rappler.com