After a rather disappointing ending to their FilOil campaign last June, the Green Archers found some degree of redemption elsewhere. Well overseas to be exact.
With their preparation for the upcoming UAAP season on a much higher level, their performance in the BLIA cup in Taiwan sends a strong message to the rest of the playing field: They are ready to defend their title come September.
Regaining that solid defensive mentality and strong sense of cohesiveness, La Salle managed to sweep the week-long tournament against university teams from France, USA, China and the host country. Ben Mbala was once against a force in the paint as he stood tall against the much bigger and longer opposition. But perhaps the most noteworthy is the stellar play of sophomores Ricci Rivero and Aljun Melecio. These two showed flashes of how great they can be during their rookie year and are poised for a much bigger role next season.
To be honest, we were expecting La Salle to have a tough fight in the finals against the French team. But despite the disparity in height, the team simply showed that kind of grit-it-out defense and energy their opponent might have never experienced back home.
The Archers won the the title convincingly 93-74 with Mbala topscoring with 26 points followed by Melecio with 19.
We’re glad that the team is in full force once again. Kib Montalbo and Prince Rivero are back after being sidelined for the most part of the FilOil preseason. Kib’s leadership and tenacity in that tournament were sorely missed and the final result could have been in our favour had he played.
With a little over a month left before the UAAP season, the Green Archers still have the opportunity to work on whatever is still missing or needs improvement.
We got this! @kibmontalbo pic.twitter.com/IopaQRA44p
— GoArchers (@GoArchers) July 30, 2017