NONE of coach Louie Gonzalez’s gambles paid off for La Salle, and it led to disastrous results in its 71-55 defeat to rival Ateneo in their first clash in UAAP Season 81 on Saturday.
“I give it to Ateneo. Talagang they really played well tonight and they forced me, forced us to play yung basketball na hindi pa alam ng players ko. As a young team, malaking learning yun sa amin,” he said.
The Green Archers came to the much-awaited clash well-scouted by the Blue Eagles, which led to Gonzalez abandoning his selfless approach just to find a spark.
Though the Taft-based side got the upper hand after the first 10 minutes, taking a slim 13-12 lead, the boys from Katipunan slowly figured them out, taking a 28-21 halftime lead that ballooned to 17, 50-33 after the third quarter.
Gonzalez admitted to veering away from the balanced system he preached, giving the keys to his young guys to make a decision -- a risk that backfired spectacularly for the green side.
“The decision-making on the attack, doon kami nahirapan especially with the game kanina. We had to play selfish muna, then become unselfish. Eh sobrang kontra yun dun sa pinepreach ko sa mga players ko na when you have the touches, you have to share the ball. Pero kanina, someone was needed to take over kasi everything is being covered eh. Lahat ng passing lanes, kumbaga matigas talaga yung depensa ng Ateneo sa lahat,” he said.
Lackluster could be one of the words that can describe how bad La Salle played in the tiff as it only made three assists against its 28 turnovers.
For Gonzalez, that’s where the Green Archers’ immaturity haunts them the most as the players struggled to make the necessary adjustments on the fly.
“Yung mga players ko, they’re trying to keep everyone involved na sometime, ititira na nila, ipapasa pa nila. Yun ang nag-cause ng malaking turnovers namin,” he said. “Wala naman akong masabi sa effort ng players ko, pero sa takbo ng laro kanina, yun ang mga bagay na kailangan naming matutunan.”
“All of my athletes right now, nakasandal sila sa sistema eh. Sa ganyang klaseng laro, you have to get away from the system first tapos tsaka ka babalik. Yun yung kailangan namin matutunan. Kumbaga, i-release muna namin yung pressure. Once na na-release na yung pressure, that’s when we get back to what we do best.”
As deflating as the 16-point defeat may have been, Gonzalez is looking at the bright side of things with La Salle now set to take a week-long break before its next game against Adamson on Saturday.
“Malaking bagay na we’re gonna play Adamson on a one-week rest. Sa ngayon, bigay ko muna sa kanila yung break para maka-recover physically and mentally yung mga players. Then come Saturday, it’s a must-win game for us para mas mag-improve kami sa standings. We have to finish the first round na at least, nandoon kami sa upper half nung standings.”