DE La Salle coach Juno Sauler is still hopeful injured point guard Thomas Torres can come back late in Season 77 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament after suffering a fracture in his right foot.
But while waiting for his starting guard to get well, Sauler is confident his other players, primarily back-up guard Kib Montalbo, can pick up the cudgels for the cold-starting Green Archers.
Montalbo, a highly regarded prospect from Bacolod now in his second season with the Green Archers, has taken over the starting point guard spot and Sauler likes what he has seen so far.
“I knew that with Thomas out, we need to find someone who will step up. Kib took that challenge of playing the starting role and Almond (Vosotros) playing back-up. Okay si Kib today (last Wednesday),” Sauler said after the Green Archers' first win of the season against National University.
Before that, Montalbo had two points and four rebounds in 21 minutes of play against Ateneo.
Initially, Sauler indicated that Torres will be out for at least six weeks after sustaining the foot injury on Sunday in the match against the Blue Eagles. Torres showed up for the NU game in street clothes, wearing a foot brace and in crutches.
Still, Sauler is hopeful his top point guard will be able to come back in time to play in the second round of the eliminations.
“If the healing speeds up, maybe earlier. Pero hindi pa natin alam,” said Sauler. “Sana kahit last few games of the eliminations in the second round (makapaglaro).”
La Salle plays University of the East on Sunday.