La Salle still far from top form says Louie Gonzales as Archers brace for tougher second round
Double-double machine Ben Mbala and the Archers look capable of completing an elims sweep, but La Salle coaches say it will be very difficult. Jaime Campos 

LA Salle is bracing for a tougher second half campaign even as coaches maintained the Archers have yet to hit top form in the UAAP Season 79 basketball tournament.

The Archers completed a seven-game first-round sweep but assistant coach Louie Gonzales said repeating it in the second round is not as easy as it looks, expecting the other teams to be much better.

“Nakalaban na namin lahat and the other teams, magkakaroon ng maraming adjustments. ‘Yung mga rookies makakakuha ng confidence, ’yung ibang teams, they will come together and lahat mag-iimprove,” said Gonzales.

[See Game full of Ben Mbala highlights as La Salle beats rival Ateneo black and blue]

The second round, according to La Salle, could be a different story.

Gonzales says the team remains at “70 to 75 percent” following the first round, echoing La Salle coach Aldin Ayo’s statement earlier in the first round.

“We can’t say right now na na-reach na namin ’yung gusto namin. Kasabay ng pag-improve namin is ’yung pag-improve ng kalaban. We have so much respect sa kalaban,” said Gonzalez.

[See As good as La Salle is now, Aldin Ayo rates team at '70, 75 percent']

Gonzalez said the sweep came as a surprise for the team, because they were not aiming for it.

“Never nag-cross sa mind namin ‘yung sweep. Tulad ng sinabi ni coach, hindi pa kami buo. Every game, alam naman natin na bago ang challenge. Maganda ‘yung nag-rerespond sila sa challenge,” said Gonzales.

He said among the aspects of the game the Green Archers are looking to improve on is taking care of the ball.

“Before entering this game (against Ateneo), kami ata ‘yung isa sa mga teams na marami mag-turnover. Though malakas kami mag-force ng turnover, on the other side, mataas ang turnovers namin,” said Gonzales said.

[See Steals, turnover points galore as La Salle's 'mayhem' basketball hardly misses beat in Ayo absence]

“We still want to work on it. Gusto pa namin alagaan pa ’yung bola,” Gonzales added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports