LA Salle coach Juno Sauler rued the missed outside shots and free throws against a Far Eastern University squad that played with a lot of fire in the opening game of Season 77.
Coming into the tournament as favorites, the Green Archers failed to keep a 23-10 lead in the first quarter as a fourth-quarter run by FEU allowed the Tamaraws to take an 82-77 win.
Sauler said FEU came out firing, leading to a 7-of-18 shooting from behind the arc and 22-of-46 from two-point range. In contrast, La Salle shot just 7-of-24 clip from three-point range and 18-of-44 from the two-point area.
Among those hitting their shots for FEU in the end game were Mike Tolomia (23 points, 4-of-6 three-points), and Carl Cruz (11 points, 2-of-5 from three-point range).
“They shot very well,” said Sauler. “Cruz had big shots, Tolomia had big shots. Then we turned the ball over in the crucial minutes of the game. That made the difference.”
Worst, Sauler said their outside shooters couldn't make the shots when FEU was double-teaming Arnold Van Opstal in the low post.
“We had shots. We had open shots. It all boiled down to who made the shots,” said Sauler.
Sauler said the loss should be another lesson for the Archers.
“We just need to find ways to learn. I think it’s the first time our bigs were double-teamed that way. Lots of lessons to be learned,” said Sauler.
“A loss is not always good. But sometimes, a win is not good. What’s more important is whether you win or lose, it’s learning from the mistakes that you committed and see what you need to check,” said Sauler.