LA Salle showed lapses even as it scored a big win in the D-League Aspirants’ Cup opening game against Letran, but coach Derrick Pumaren is confident they are on the right track.
"Right now, the D-League is part of the program going to the UAAP. I'm still trying to learn the players. We're still trying to implement changes dahil sometimes they still go back to their old habits nila, but we're getting there," said the veteran bench tactician, who led the Archers to UAAP titles in 1989 and 1990.
The issues showed in the Green Archers' 102-90 win over Wangs-Letran on Monday as they kept the window wide open after committing 35 fouls and awarding 48 free throws to the Knights.
"We've been making mistakes defensively. We're fouling a lot and that's what I’ve been trying to correct. Masyadong maraming fouls," he said.
"We just have to start playing defense and we have to stop fouling. We need to get over the hump to get sa rhythm namin."
"Every time they got back in the ballgame, we're able to hold the fort. That's what I've been preaching," he said. "When things aren't going right offensively, we just have to put our foot defensively."
He was happy to see the team's resolve in this opener as EcoOil-La Salle was able to weather Wangs-Letran's late rally where it saw its 19-point lead dwindle to six in the payoff period.
The former PBA coach, who was manager of the CEU Scorpions before taking the La Salle coaching position early this year, is also using the D-League stint to assemble the roster for the UAAP tournament.
"Ang adjustment right now is getting to know the players," said. "We're still trying to assess everybody on who will make it to the coming season."