DE La Salle University has yet to beat Far Eastern University after three meetings in Season 77 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
But that hardly bothers coach Juno Sauler as the Green Archers have a full week to prepare for their Final Four showdown with the twice-to-beat Tamaraws this Saturday.
La Salle blew a chance to emerge as the No. 2 seed - and gain the twice-to-beat edge that goes with it - after bowing to FEU, 65-60, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“No, it (FEU’s 3-0 head-to-head advantage this season) hasn’t entered our mind. That’s done with. What’s important is we focus on the next game,” Sauler said curtly after emerging from the La Salle dugout.
The soft-spoken coach isn’t pinning the blame on anyone, not even on star forward Jeron Teng, who, the night before, participated in the 'Naked Truth' Bench denim and underwear fashion show also at the MoA.
“No, not really,” said Sauler, when asked if Teng’s appearance in the fashion show affected his game.
The talented La Salle star was a non-factor in the team’s important playoff match, finishing with just eight points after struggling mightily against the Tamaraws’ daunting defense.
Teng shot just 2-of-11 overall, managed to grab eight rebounds, but committed five turnovers and eventually, fouled out late in the game.
Regardless, Sauler said the Archers have five full days to prepare mentally and strategically as they attempt to solve the FEU riddle next weekend and force a winner-take-all match for a Finals berth.
“Since it’s one week (break), we’ll take it slowly. We’ll watch tape and see what we need to adjust,” explained Sauler, who is looking to steer La Salle to a second straight league title.