Ayo: Semis rematch a dogfight

Ayo: Semis rematch a dogfight
Defending champions De La Salle Green Archers coach Aldin Ayo is very much satisfied that his team is peaking at the right time.

De La Salle Green Archers head coach Aldin Ayo expects a dogfight with the third-seeded Adamson Soaring Falcons, who are out to seek revenge over last year’s semifinals loss in which De La Salle barely escaped.

Ayo pointed out the previous game against Adamson where their second-round tussle was decided in its final minutes, which was won by the Archers, 80-74. 

The former Letran Knights tactician expects a hard battle against former De La Salle head coach Franz Pumaren’s squad.

"Our last game in the second round was close, it was decided less than a minute or two minutes? They were up noong end game, but we were able to get the win, so for sure it will be difficult for us. We're going to prepare against them,” Ayo said after the game.

Although they would still have enjoyed a twice-to-beat advantage in a hypothetical Final Four match against the winner of an Adamson-FEU tussle, the very essence of the most famous collegiate rivalry in the country was enough to inspire them to victory, ending Ateneo’s 13-game winning streak in a 79-76 thriller. 

“But since [the game is between] La Salle and Ateneo, we're not going to back down, we're not going to hold back. We're just going to compete.”

UAAP MVP Ben Mbala seconded his coach, and added that they will not back down from any physical play against any opponent.

“We just wanted to win. We didn't quit. Coach told us, never give up. We kept pushing and we just gave our everything and we left the rest to God, and it was able to help us win the game,” Mbala told reporters in a post-game interview.

The 6-foot-7 slotman also mentioned that the team needs to play as hard as ever, and may even seek divine intervention to help them book a Finals berth against either Ateneo or FEU.

The Final Four match between De La Salle and Adamson will be on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Araneta Coliseum.

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