DEFENDING champion La Salle may be heavily favored to repeat its title run in UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament, but the Green Archers are staying grounded and focused on staying sharper each game.
While all the seven other teams pointed La Salle as the team to beat, Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo played down the talks on his team being the preseason favorites to win the crown.
Instead, he wants his wards to focus and treat each game as an opportunity to improve.
“Hindi ko iniisip kung Final Four o championship, basta manalo nang manalo. Hindi ko muna iniisip 'yung mga darating, one game at a time lang,” he said.
Although the Sorsogon native knows that a lot is expected from the reigning champs, the second year La Salle mentor is embracing the pressure.
“Hindi naman nawawala ang pressure eh, especially if you’re here in La Salle. The more you perform, the more na lumalakas ang pressure,” he said.
“Trabaho lang, ginagawa ko lang ang dapat kong gawin. ‘Yung mag ine-expect sa akin na task, ginagawa ko lang,” he added.
With former King Archers Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres out of the team, Ayo will pin his hopes on all of his 14 players.
Kib Montalbo will take charge as the team captain, while fourth year forward Prince Rivero will be the co-captain and Cameroonian center Ben Mbala is again expected to dominate the paint.
The 2-0 start of La Salle, all against contenders in Far Eastern University and National University, prove just how lethal the Archers are even without Mbala, who was playing for Cameroon at the time in the Fiba AfroBasket.
The Green Archers look to even be formidable with Mbala back, but for Ayo, their success hinges more on their preparation for each game. Here’s a glimpse of how they prepared for UAAP Season 80.