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    Derick still likes La Salle's Final Four chances: 'It's not too late'

    Oct 27, 2022
    Derick Pumaren
    Derick Pumaren's Archers are in joint fourth with the Red Warriors and falcons.

    LA Salle coach Derick Pumaren isn't pressing the panic button even if the Green Archers performed below par through the first round of the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament.

    "We're still not out of it. There are still a lot of bright spots as far as the team is concerned," Pumaren told Spin.ph.

    See Winston top scorer; Kouame best rebounder, blocker in first round

    He said things must change soon or else, La Salle's struggles will continue. "We have to start playing well."

    The Green Archers hold a 3-4 win-loss record, in a three-way tie for fourth and way below the preseason expectations where they are projected to compete near the top of the standings.

    Pumaren pointed out that the games have been competitive, although the team's inability to really close out the games has been one of the sore points for the Archers this season.

    "We have to close out games. We're always put on situations where we can win the ball games but so far, we've struggled to do that," he said, with La Salle only losing by an average of 4.0 points in the games that it dropped this season.


      "I think ang problem namin right now, which is uncharacteristic for my team is that we're not playing defense at all. We lead the league in points but the sad news is we give up a lot of easy baskets, fastbreak points, and second chance points. These are all effort and hustle stats and these are the things we need to clean up sa second round."


      La Salle leads the league in scoring with 79.4 points per outing but they have given up 75.7 points to its foes, a second-worst mark in the league.

      The Green Archers are also dead-last in the league with 14.71 fastbreak points allowed, 17.57 second chance points allowed, and 49.29 rebounds allowed, as well as the second-worst in points in the paint allowed with 34.57 per contest.

      "We just have to hold teams down. It has to be our defense," he lamented.

      Pumaren also believes La Salle's 83-78 victory over Ateneo has gone a little bit to the players' heads which led to suffering back-to-back losses to end the first round.

      "I warned them na beating Ateneo is not the season," he recalled. "Instead of us being able to use and gain confidence we needed from that win, parang it was the opposite."

      Nonetheless, all is not lost for La Salle with Pumaren intending to whip his wards up to shape.

      Schonny Winston has been the scoring leader through the first round, Michael Phillips continued to be the rebounding demon in his second year, Evan Nelle has gotten himself back to his old deadly form, and Kevin Quiambao has been as good as advertised in his rookie season.

      With those accounted for, the veteran mentor still likes his team's chances of making it through to the semifinals.

      "It's still not too late. We need to play as a team and have that conscious effort to have that mentality," he said.

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      Derick Pumaren's Archers are in joint fourth with the Red Warriors and falcons.
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