LA Salle coach Louie Gonzalez said the Green Archers’ inexperience showed in the loss to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, crumbling in the end of their UAAP Season 81 basketball opener on Sunday.
The Green Archers battled toe-to-toe against the Tamaraws, but it was FEU which made the big shots in crunch time to pull off a 68-61 win at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But Gonzalez was somehow pleased with how the young Green Archers kept it close against the Tamaraws squad loaded with veterans, and he expressed confidence they will quickly bounce back.
“I think very evident in this first game, it’s really a young team against a seasoned team,” said Gonzalez.
“Ako naman, I’m very optimistic na we are going to get better.”
Gonzalez, in his first season with La Salle after taking over from now-University of Santo Tomas head coach Aldin Ayo, said one of the aspects the Green Archers will need to work on is closing out games, and who to go to in those kinds of situations.
“We really have to work on closing out the games. We just have to identify kung kanino talaga dapat ‘yung bola. How are we going to start attacking and siguro konting adjustment pa. Napagod din ‘yung mga players ko sa huli. I’m optimistic with my team,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was also pleased to see the players share the load, with added he was pleased with the performances of players such as Santi Santillan, Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, and Justin Baltazar have been responsive in Gonzalez’s scheme of giving players equal opportunities for the team.
Santi Santillan had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Aljun Melecio chipped in 11 points. Andrei Caracut had nine points, and Justine Baltazar had eight points and nine boards.
“’Yung puso naman, nandoon talaga eh. Again, as long as nandiyan ‘yung heart, ‘yung effort, we will compete. ‘Yung decision making lang talaga. Before, kapag crunch time, alam mo na kung kanino ‘yung bola. These guys right now, they are all equal. That’s why I preach equal opportunity. If you always give players equal opportunity, later on, may magbu-bloom diyan. Then, they are going to figure out kung kanino talaga dapat naming ibigay ‘yung bola,” Gonzalez said.