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    Championship feeling hardly lingers as Arnold Van Opstal shifts focus to Archers' UAAP title defense

    Jun 9, 2014

    JUST moments after La Salle's Filoil Premier Cup preseason title conquest, the championship feeling has already worn off for Arnold Van Opstal.

    “It’s great,” the Green Archers big man said when asked how it felt to regain the championship in the premier preseason tournament. “But I mean, right now, as we speak, I’m over with it.”

    Van Opstal scored nine points for La Salle in the title game against San Beda as he helped the Green Archers go on a run late on the way to a come-from-behind 71-66 victory over the Red Lions on Sunday.

    But as soon as the final buzzer sounded, the Fil-German's focus shifted almost immediately to the coming UAAP season and the defense of the title the Archers won in the finals opposite University of Santo Tomas.

    “My focus right now is the UAAP,' he said. "The win (against San Beda) was nice but it’s just a start.”

    La Salle’s starting center said the Green Archers still have lot of things to improve on even though they won against the reigning NCAA champions in the Filoil finale, specifically mentioning the second unit.

    “We are not yet there,” Van Opstal admitted. “I think we can compete but we are not in our peak. There is a lot more than we can do especially the second group. You see a lot from the first group. But I think we didn’t see more from the second group especially.”

    Saddled with foul trouble, Van Opstal saw limited minutes in the first three quarters of the title game before conspiring with Almond Vosotros and Jason Perkins in the final period to turn the match around.

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    “Unfortunate lang because he was called for early fouls so he had to sit on the bench. It would have been a great matchup if he played against (Ola) Adeogun,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler of his big man.

    “There are certain things that are expected of me,” Van Opstal said of his fourth quarter effort. “I’m prepared to do what it takes for the team. In the fourth, I really had to come out mentally strong especially being in foul trouble all game. I couldn't find my groove so I just want to make it a point to finish strong.”

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