ISAAC Go led a host of big men that made life hard for La Salle’s dominant center Ben Mbala in Saturday’s famous upset by Ateneo in the UAAP Season 79 basketball tournament.
Go played a big role for the Blue Eagles in defending Mbala, who was limited to 5-of-13 shooting from the field despite finishing with big numbers of 17 points and 15 rebounds.
As a team, La Salle bled for its points and converted only 23 of its 80 shots from the field as Ateneo ran away with a 83-71 victory to deal the Green Archers their first defeat of the season.
Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin lauded the effort of the bigs in doing the arduous task of containing Mbala.
“We felt that we need to match the physicality (of La Salle),” the former Gilas Pilipinas coach said. “And because we weren’t good at it, we were in foul trouble.
“But we kept coming and we kept competing and we fought very hard. I think we were a little fortunate that we can run three big guys out there. But that’s what it takes to defend Ben. You can’t do it with just one guy,” added Baldwin.
Go also played a crucial role on the offensive end, finishing with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds.
Go, however, played down his role in the win, giving the credit instead to the coaches who he said mapped out a good strategy against Mbala and the Green Archers.
“They provided a detailed scouting report. They proved the things that we have to do and we just have to study it,” said Go.
Go, however, said defending Mbala as well as another La Salle big man in Abu Tratter was a learning experience for him and the Blue Eagles moving forward.
“They are great players and that’s what players do. They find a way. I presented them with a match-up in the first half but in the second half, they adjusted. At the end of the day, I have to find a way to improve on that. At the end of the day, they are still a heck of a player,” said Go.