Powerhouse La Salle continues to assert its dominance in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament, winning its first five matches with an average margin of 17.2 points.
But have we seen the Green Archers at their full strength? First-year coach Aldin Ayo begged to differ.
“Nasa 70 to 75 percent pa lang kami,” he said, following La Salle’s equally dominant 91-75 victory over upstart Adamson on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While the Green Archers came up with another concrete proof why they’re considered as the unanimous favorites to win it all this year, Ayo admitted La Salle remains a work in progress.
“We started very low against FEU, nasa 15 percent lang kami nu,n,” he said, referring to their five-point win over the Tamaraws, the reigning titleholders, in the opener.
“Even against UST, hirap na hirap kami sa first half nu’n,” Ayo added, aware the Green Archers struggled to deal with the Growling Tigers in the early goings before pulling away for a 100-62 win in their encounter last Sept. 14.
While prized import Ben Mbala continues to live up his lofty billing by coming through with five double-double performances, ace wingman Jeron Teng has been displaying flashes of his usual brilliances and the other Green Archers have been providing ample support on both ends.
But Ayo admitted the Green Archers have yet to realize their full potential—an ominous warning for their future rivals. “Every game we’re improving. Buti nalang nairaraos namin ‘yung games,” he said.
If there’s a key aspect on La Salle’s game that left him impressed with their win over Adamson, Ayo said it’s the team’s execution on offense.
“We’re good on defense but on the past few games our offense was our setback. This game, we were able to execute,” he stressed, visibly pleased with how the Green Archers made better shot selection for a 47 percent shooting clip from the field underscored by 18 assists.
Still, Ayo is craving for more.
“I’m very optimistic kasi as the season goes along, nagpo-progress kami. Hopefully by the second round, semis or finals sana du’n na mag-peak,” he said.