La Salle goes through hell before dream finals v Ateneo

It’s hell.

That’s literally the description of La Salle’s preparation for the upcoming UAAP season 79 men’s basketball Finals according to MVP frontrunner Ben Mbala.

“It’s hell. It’s hell during practice,” Mbala told FOX Sports during the do-or-die game between Ateneo and FEU last Wednesday. The Eagles won, 69-68, and forged the championship date against their waiting rivals.

“We’ve been conditioning and hard drills. We’ve been extendjng practice from three to four hours just to be prepared for the finals,” he said.

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo publicly expressed his disappointment over the Archers’ dismal performance in their Final Four win against the Adamson Falcons, but that was all behind now as the rookie UAAP coach used the long break to recalibrate his powerhouse team.

“Hard practice talaga yung first two practices namin. Ako naramdaman ko masuka-suka yung mga yan e,” Ayo said as the Archers had at least a week of preparation.

“Kaya sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘guys this championship, surrender niyo na sarili nyo sa gagawin natin, sakripisyon niyo na sarili niyo'”.

Mbala had no problem with the additional grind while adding that the Archers needed that to “get back on the same page.”

“We need that. We need to be focused and play together as team. We all have to be in sync,” he said.  “We have to go back to the basis of our ‘Mayhem Defense’.

“We started working on it. That’s one of the reasons why we’re in the finals,” Mbala added.

Ayo said they will mellow down on practice as they approach the Finals to prevent over-exhaustion in Game 1.

“Wedneday, Thursday, Friday recovery to ng mga bata. Ito yung pahinga na makakatulong.”

With two sleeps before the Finals, Mbala is optimistic there will be mayhem come the dream Ateneo-La Salle rematch in the championships.

“I’m confident about my team and my teammates and I’m sure we’re going to do great,” Mbala said. – By John Chester Fajardo

Follow this writer on Twitter: @Chester_Fajardo

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