Posted Aug 4th 2014
Rejuvenated La Salle faces unbeaten UE
By Anton Roxas Posted Jul 27th 2014
By Josiah Albelda
With their defense finally clicking, De La Salle University takes on another offensive juggernaut.
The defending champions clash with unbeaten University of the East in Sunday action of the 77th UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
In breaking into the win column after back-to-back defeats, Coach Juno Sauler commended the Green Archers' defense that held National University to a then season-low 55 points.
"We stepped up defensively," he said. "Against FEU and Ateneo, we were giving up 89 points. In the fourth quarter against FEU and Ateneo, we gave close to 30 points. Now, they scored just 12."
Doing it against the Red Warriros will be easier said than done, though, as La Salle will miss starting point guard Thomas Torres for the second straight game.
"We still have to find ways to execute things, especially with his injury," Sauler added. "Satisfied (with Kib Montalbo's performance). I knew that with Thomas out, we'd have to find someone to step up at the point."
With Torres out up to six weeks, sophomore Montalbo takes at the helm at one spot, and will definitely have his hands full against UE's 1-2 punch of lightning-quick Roi Sumang and three-point sniper Dan Alberto.
"Mabagal talaga kasi kami," admitted Sauler. "We just have to work on execution and the little things so we can take the quickness of other teams away."
Warriors coach Derrick Pumaren, meanwhile, believes that his team hasn't achieved anything yet, and will face their first real test when they battle the Archers.
"Sounds good that we have two wins," he said. "Nothing against UP and Adamson, but these teams are in the lower half. The big test will be on Sunday when we will be taking on the defending champions."
UE has been lethal on offense in their first two games — both wins — and averaged a league-leading 94.0 points before lowly defenses put up by the Fighting Maroons and the Soaring Falcons, respectively.