Damn! That was PAINFUL!

Oh, I’m speechless!!!! Exasperated!!!! Sad!!!!! Spent!!!!!

We controlled 99.8% of the game and we still lost. But hey. Congratulations to U.P. They showed the same grit and determination that we did, and got lucky in the end. They deserved the win.

Well an ugly monster showed up again in this game. Free throw shooting. If Malonzo made his, we would have won.

Those are the breaks. There is no blaming here. But no sugarcoating either. Practice the free throws. For years now, this has been an ugly La Salle trademark, and frankly speaking, it’s getting to be a little frustrating.

But, but, but, but,….. Overlook the short ended score and we now have a UAAP team. A team the learns. A team that executes. A team that competes. A team that believes. And more importantly, a team that role plays.

The coaching staff is beginning to figure out what tools and weapons we have. Players have different roles and are now accepting that they will be used in certain ways which they don’t necessarily like.

Encho Serrano is a scorer. A slasher. A high flier. But if you notice, for two straight games, he has been a stopper. He plays defense with his feet and can recover on the floor or upstairs to bother the offense.

We now have three, count them, three garbagemen. Tito, Vic and Joey. Moe, Larry, and Curly? Kidding.

We have groundhog Ralph Cu, aerial rebounding demon Brandon Bates, and their supervisor Joaqui Manuel. That trio allows us to really compete for every loose ball, every 50-50 ball, and with very good success now.

Of course our main men are still Balti Baltazar, Andrei Caracut, Jamie Malonzo and Aljun Melecio. And they showed up didn’t they?

What I particularly liked in this game is the use of our two stabilizer point guards. Kurt Lojera and Jordan Bartlett.

The emergence of Bartlett in particular made me happy, because this is attributed to our newly established mindset. Playing tough defense. And boy is he tough and pesky.

All we have to do at this point, is really to pay attention to detail. The little things. The small stuff. What do I mean?

For instance, I know it’s exciting and we have a human highlight film in Jamie Orme Malonzo. But if you have a three on one fast break, make it basic. A well known troll pointed it out in this game, but he was actually right. PLAY THE PERCENTAGES. Sure ball.

When we rebound, get the ball with two hands. Several times, tapping the ball results into 50-50 situations while a two handed rebound secures the ball 100%. Bates does it with authority and even without looking at the stats, he is probably the highest rebounder of the game.

When we lay up, cradle the ball on the approach and lay up with two hands. Kobe Paras did that against Malonzo. Jeron Teng told us that his dad taught him the same thing. And boy was he an advocate of the and one, wasn’t he? Wasn’t the Kobe lay up an and one?

And…did I mention free throws???? I think I did. Hahahaha. Kulit.

See guys? I am now mentioning only tweaks. Adjustments. Suggestions. Details. Meaning that the basic foundations and team phililosophies are now in place. And the player’s roles are now defined and accepted.

Because of this, we now have a deep ten, count them, ten man rotation. We lost partly because that rotation was disrupted by the foul trouble of Justin Baltazar in this game. The effect was we couldn’t protect a bigger lead with his overall game out of the game. That was when U.P. struck.

But our last two games sent a message to the rest of the teams . We are coming for you. We are no longer disorganized. We now believe. We are back.

Of course we are. We are the De La Salle Green Archers!!!! Emphasis on the De for Defense!!! Watch out!!!!