DE La Salle is on a roll and will have the benefit of a long rest ahead of their second meeting with longtime rival Ateneo this season.
The Green Archers, currently on a three-game win streak that has put them within striking distance of the current UAAP tournament leaders, will be on a six-day break prior to their Saturday showdown against the five-time defending champions.
That should put the Green Archers in a good position to repeat their 82-73 win over Ateneo in their first meeting last July 7, which was also their first win over the Blue Eagles in six meetings.
“It’s been a while since we last played them,” said La Salle coach Juno Sauler, looking forward to another match-up with their longtime nemesis. “We still get to watch them in two games.”
La Salle goes into the marquee match-up in fine form, going on a mini-run capped by a 77-66 victory over league-leading Far Eastern University last August 18.
Sauler attributes the Archers’ rise in the standings to the chemistry the team appears to have finally developed under its rookie coach ,who took over La Salle just weeks before the start of Season 76.
The Archers are currently in third place with a 6-4 (win-loss) slate, just right behind leaders FEU (8-2) and National University (7-3).
The Eagles, however, are also on a roll, having won four straight games behind star Kiefer Ravena, who had sat out the team's first few games including the first showdown with the Archers.
Sauler is unfazed, admiring what he is seeing from his Archers.
“The team is just becoming stronger as a unit and believing in each other,” said the soft-spoken mentor.
Still, Sauler sees room for improvement for La Salle as tougher games loom.
“We just have to try to keep increasing our assists, decreasing our turnovers, shoot the ball better whether the two, three, or free throws. I know that there will be days where we will make shots and (days when) we won’t make them but we just have to keep improving on those aspects,” said Sauler.