Archers aim high vs Soaring Eagles

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Absent the first time around, La Salle coach Aldin Ayo feels a bit jumpy getting his first taste of the celebrated rivalry between the Green Archers and the Ateneo Blue Eagles today.

First-year DLSU mentor Ayo served his one-game suspension when his wards battled it out with the Eagles in the opening round of the UAAP LXXIX men’s basketball tournament last Oct. 2 and settled for a remote viewing of their emphatic 97-81 triumph in their quarters.

Now he’s all set to enjoy the green-versus-blue duel in full splendor in the 4 p.m. main fare at the Smart Araneta Coliseum which marks the resumption of games after a nine-day holiday break.

“Some of the guys are excited. Ako I’m nervous,” admitted Ayo, whose undefeated crew aims to move one win away from a sweep of the eliminations and an outright finals appearance.  

“Pero gustong-gusto ko ang kinakabahan (I actually like being nervous), it makes the best out of you, there’s no complacency and you’ll work really hard especially because it’s the first time,” he added.

The fancied Green Archers have played true to their pre-tournament billing, flexing their muscles even more in their last three games where their aggregate winning margin was a whopping 97 points.

Still, Ayo won’t in any way underestimate the third-running Eagles (6-4).

“We expect a different game (from the one-sided first round). Ateneo is a well-coached team and the players are embracing their system under coach Tab Baldwin. And whenever it’s La Salle-Ateneo, you take away the standings; the rivalry brings out the best game (in both teams),” he said.

The young Ateneans have held their own without a superstar leader in the mold of former King Eagle Kiefer Ravena, putting themselves into a good position to reach the Final Four.

“We’re maturing, we’re learning a few things. There are still some areas where we still have a lot of work to do. I think it’s important for us to stay humble and not get carried away with some of the limited success that we’ve had,” said Baldwin.

“We have some very good teams ahead of us. So if we drop our guard one little bit, we’re gonna get smacked around and it would be very foolish on our part,” he added.

In the 12 noon opener, NU (4-8) seeks to break out of a five-game slide and boost its semis drive against University of the East (2-9), the only team already out of the semis race so far.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with