La Salle coach: Archers wavered in offense, committed too many errors

MANILA, Philippines — La Salle coach Louie Gonzalez has expressed satisfaction over the Green Archers’ defensive effort but rued his wards’ sloppy decision-making on the offensive end in their 55-71 setback to rival Ateneo Eagles in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday.

“We defended them well. Wala naman akong masabi sa effort ng mga players ko sa defense pero the decision-making on the attack, doon kami nahirapan,” said Gonzalez.

The Archers outrebounded the Eagles, 54-43 overall and had the edge in offensive boards, 20-17.

However, they struggled offensively, finishing with just three assists, 11 less than the Eagles tally. They also committed 28 errors, which the Eagles translated into 28 points.

“In the game, you have to play selfish muna then become unselfish…sobrang kontra ‘yun sa pini-preach ko sa players ko that you have to, ‘yung mga touches, you have to share the ball,” said Gonzalez.

Senior guard Kib Montalbo tried to rally the Green Archers side, suiting up for the first time after missing two games due to a fractured left thumb.

“Originally, it’s four to six weeks (absence) but I just want to play. It’s my last year. I don’t want my thumb injury to determine my season. My parents didn’t agree with me playing, a lot didn’t agree but I said I’m going to take the risk. Especially having a young team. As you can see, nahirapan talaga but we’ll get there,” said Montalbo, who finished with four points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal against a turnover in almost 25 minutes on the floor.

Despite the setback, Gonzalez expressed belief this will only make his young team better moving forward.

“I give it to Ateneo. They really played well. They forced us to play ‘yung basketball na hindi pa, alam mo ‘yun eh, ‘yung isang young team, ayun ‘yung biggest learning for us. Na-force kami ng Ateneo doon,” said Gonzalez.

Montalbo shared the same sentiment.

“Ateneo is a strong team. I give credit to them. Nilagay nila kami sa position na we don’t want to. Credit to coach Tab (Baldwin) and Ateneo. We’ll improve next game,” said Montalbo.