Aljun Melecio was thankful that his floater that forced overtime with 13 seconds left in regulation against Adamson on Saturday went in.
“Wala. Swerte na pumasok o patay ako kay coach,” he joked when asked what went through his mind during the play.
But for head coach Louie Gonzales, it wasn’t just pure luck. It was one of many indications that their offense, which seemingly crumbled against longtime UAAP rivals Ateneo last week, is now up and running again.
“At least bumalik na ‘yung scoring namin, which is nawala noong Ateneo game. It’s big also because nag-produce ulit ‘yung ibang mga players, which is ayun talaga ‘yung hinihingi namin,” Gonzales said.
La Salle aptly took their loss against the Blue Eagles last week as an opportunity to address the glaring deficiencies in their system.
On Saturday, the results looked palpable.
Tipped against an Adamson squad that was raring to recover after a disappointing overtime loss to FEU last week, the Green Archers looked steadier on offense, especially in the clutch.
After Melecio’s bucket forced overtime, DLSU was able to hold their foes scoreless until the two-minute mark of that extra period while running amok with nine straight points.
They then made crucial defensive stops to weather a late Adamson comeback effort.
“Para sa akin, big loss ‘yung against Ateneo. Pero doon [namin] na-realize na dapat mag-stick sa system. Kasi kung ano mangyari, doon kami sanay. So noong sa Ateneo, nawala kami sa system. For me, blessing ‘yung natalo kami sa Ateneo kasi marami kami na-learn na lessons doon especially coming into this game,” Melecio said.
La Salle shot a modest 45.6 percent from the field against the Soaring Falcons, which was a far cry from the 29 percent figure they managed against Ateneo. They also handed out more dimes this time by recording 11 — a number that easily eclipsed the three-assist total they had against that loss.
There are still areas of concern that need polishing even after an impressive win against the erstwhile league leaders. The Green Archers only made three out of 15 attempts from downtown, grabbed only 39 rebounds against Adamson’s 55 and dished out only 11 assists.
Gonzales, however, is still pleased and commended his team for learning from that tough setback against Ateneo.
“I-cocommend ko muna ang aking coaching staff and ‘yung mga players ko kasi for the week, buong linggo, after that loss against Ateneo, talagang back to basics kami. Chineck out muna namin kung kamusta ‘yung sistema namin, then we made sure anong learning from the Ateneo game, ma-correct namin kasi it’s the end of the first round, we should be competing already,” he bared.
The team will enter the second round with renewed focus and after dealing with a malady of injuries and key setbacks in their first seven games, they know that everything can only get better from this point as they battle for a slot at the Final Four.
La Salle will take it one game at a time, though.
“After everything that’s happened to DLSU, nandun pa rin sa top 4,” Melecio said. “Every game, gusto ko lang mag-focus every game. Di ko iniisip ano yung mga mangyayari in the future.”