THE stunning loss to bitter rival Ateneo was not the end of the world for La Salle.
For coach Aldin Ayo, he wants his troops to regroup at the task at hand on why he was handpicked by the Green Archers in the off-season to reclaim their lost glory.
“Ako, pinapunta ako rito para sa championship, hindi kung ano-anong mga ibang achievements. I just want to win the championship,” said Ayo.
Capping its elimination round campaign against defending champion Far Eastern University, there’s nothing at stake for La Salle as it is already assured of the No. 1 seed and the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
But what Ayo wants to see in their 4 p.m. clash with the Tamaraws is for the Archers to rediscover the system that gave them 12 straight victories before losing a 71-83 decision to the Blue Eagles last Saturday.
“Sarili muna namin yung aayusin namin. Decision-making. Every time we play defense, it’s all about making the right decisions. On offense, it’s all about playing for each other, playing as a team,” said Ayo.
“Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, before everything else, they have to overcome themselves. Yung sarili mo muna, then pag-ready ka na sa sarili mo, lift your teammates, then kalaban na. So maglilinis muna kami ng bakuran,” he added.
Now tied in Ateneo in second place at 8-4, FEU is wary on La Salle’s capability of bouncing back from that shock defeat the last time out.
“Kahit kami, we’re loose. Excited ako makaharap si coach Nash (Racela),” said Ayo.
The Tamaraws are mired on a two-game losing skid, and with the Eagles’ on the roll, the Morayta-based cagers’ bid for the remaining twice-to-beat slot in the semifinals is now in great peril.
“There’s an end to a streak. We will look to end that one,” said Racela.
Aside from Ateneo, there’s fourth-running Adamson (7-5) which is also has a shot for the twice-to-beat bonus, but FEU is simply thinking of getting the winning feeling back.
“Well right now we’re not looking at scenarios. We just want to focus on the next game because it all depends on that. I think the value of the last game will depend on the next game. So doon muna kami sa susunod,” said Racela.
While the Tamaraws are searching for clues about that slump, things are looking bright for the upstart Eagles.
Now the hottest team with four consecutive wins, Ateneo is tipped to prevail in the 2 p.m. match against also-ran University of Santo Tomas as it tries to keep bolster its bid for the second semis incentive.
“They have been improving. It is a very nice feeling this growth process,” said coach Sandy Arespacochaga, moments after the Eagles toppled the Tamaraws, 74-59, last Sunday.
The Growling Tigers, with a 3-10 record, are simply eyeing to end a forgettable campaign under first-year coach Boy Sablan on a high note.