Coach Dindo – “Aggressiveness made the difference”

“Now, where was this team last Thursday?”

This was what I was thinking as I witness how the Green Archers displayed its mastery over last season’s runner up, the UE Red Warriors, in their game last Sunday at the Philsports Arena, just three days after being upset big time by the NU Bulldogs.

So, when Coach Dindo Pumaren took the centerstage in the post-game interviews, all the reporters had one question to ask–

“What was the difference of this UE game with the NU game?”

Coach Dindo answered simply “Aggressiveness.”

This was echoed by DLSU’s highest scorer that game, Maui Villanueva.

“Kulang talaga kami sa aggressiveness kaya kami natalo sa NU,” said the three-year veteran. “Maganda defense namin and naging aggressive kami ngayon. Sinunod lang namin yung Lasalle system, nag-execute kami ngayon. Yun ang big difference ng game na ito,” Villanueva added.

What is “aggressiveness” ? It is outrebounding the opponent (50-33), out-assisting (18-7), out-blocking (6-1) (Well, this one is through the lone effort of rookie Papot Paredes), outrunning (18-6 fastbreak points), and out-hustling (23-13 turnover points and 18-2 2nd chance points) the opponent.

I guess the UE game completely puts into oblivion that stinging loss to NU, especially since the Green Archers also lost to the Bulldogs in their final game last season, which could have been their backdoor entry into the Final Four.

Coach Dindo thinks so. “Tapos na yung game against NU, we lost. No excuses. We have to focus one game at a time. Today we played good against UE. We’ll think about Ateneo on Tuesday.”

Well, hopefully going into the big game against the defending champions this Saturday, the Green Archers will still display that same kind of aggressiveness. It was such a beauty seeing the Archers running, passing and scoring. Wasn’t it a delight to see a big man (6’5 Papot Paredes) steal the ball from midcourt and pass to fellow big man (Yutien Andrada) for an easy goal underneath? Or Ferdinand converting on those short distance jumpers?

They have to sustain it…the aggressiveness, according to Coach Dindo. Now, that is a concern—the Green Archers’ focus and mental toughness. After that 18-point opening day blowout of UP, the Green Archers lost. Now, they bounced back with another big win. So, what should we expect?

Maui offers a clue. “Wag lang kami magrerelax. Nagkaroon kami ng good game against UP. After that nagrelax kami against NU. Yun yung niremind sa amin ni coach na magenjoy kami pero after this day work ulit kami. Magandang baon for next Saturday’s game.”

Will the Green Archers take us on a roller coaster ride or on a take off to greater heights? Br. Bernie already gave a forecast on Umagang Kay Ganda…“La Salle will be in the Final Four”. Everyone else is praying “magdilang anghel sana si Brother.