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    Michael Phillips ready to take on La Salle lead role after Baltazar exit

    Jul 11, 2022
    Michael Phillips, La Salle
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    WITH Justine Baltazar gone, all eyes are on Michael Phillips as the Fil-Am forward looks to fill the enormous shoes his senior left in Taft.

    Yet this early, the La Salle Green Archers can smile knowing they will be alright.

    Phillips picked up where he left off last UAAP season and churned out 23 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists in his debut in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup as he led EcoOil-La Salle to a 112-82 blowout of Builders Warehouse-UST last Saturday.

    [See Phillips sparks La Salle rout of UST]

    It was a solid performance from the UAAP Season 84 Mythical Team member that no longer surprised coach Derick Pumaren.

    "The upside of Michael is very high," he said of the hardworking 6-foot-8 banger. "We’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg with Michael."

    "He'll continue to improve and the good thing is he really works. He puts time to improve his game and we're expecting a better and different Michael when the UAAP starts in October. We will still continue to work on it, and he still has to continue to put extra minutes and time for his game."

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      Phillips is just relentless in putting in the work. But he knows it's not always about him. What he's happier about was how the rest of the squad rallied behind him as the Green Archers drew solid games from his brother Ben, Penny Estacio, CJ Austria, and Joaqui Manuel.

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      "Masaya ako sa laro namin today, lalo na like coach said, we had a lot of guys who stepped up today," Phillips said. "For our first game, we played well and we played hard. There were some mistakes here and there, but I’m sure we know with coach and their system, we’ll be there to correct them."

      La Salle is using these games to further strengthen its core for the upcoming UAAP season - one where Phillips is expected to stand front and center for the Green Archers.

      "We'll just keep going and use these games to jell and get to know each other more as a team, and really establish our identity," he said. "I think this D-League will really prepare us and really be a challenge as we brace for our UAAP season."

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      PHOTO: PBA Images
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