La Salle finishes fourth in South Korean tournament

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 13, 2018 05:46 PM
La Salle finishes fourth in South Korean tournament
Aljun Melecio and the rest of La Salle got much-needed experience against the best South Korea has to offer

While De La Salle University fell short of a podium finish in the 2018 Asia Pacific University Challenge, the experience they earned there will still go a long way as they commence a new era.

The Green Archers fell to host Yonsei University, 80-92, last Saturday to wind up their campaign with a 2-3 record.

That standing was only good for fourth-place in the invitational.

Still, the Taft-based team welcomes the promising showings from the likes of scoring dynamo Aljun Melecio, hardworking forward Santi Santillan, and super rookie Encho Serrano. “Malaking tulong ‘to sa amin cause, first of all, we all know na yung team na ‘to is rebuilding so kailangang mabuo namin yung confidence namin sa isa’t-isa,” Melecio shared.

He then continued, “Both on and off the court, yun yung nagawa namin.”

In particular, Serrano, playing for the first time in green and white, showed several flashes of why he was once considered the top high school player in the country. “Masarap at masaya na makapaglaro na finally sa La Salle. Sobrang thankful ko rin kasi big experience para sa aking makalaro at makalaban yung mga team sa ibang bansa,” he said.

A fully healthy team captain Kib Montalbo, who sat out much of the 2018 Filoil Preseason due to injury, was also a welcome sight. “Man’s greatest victory is to conquer himself. We learned a lot about mental toughness there,” he remarked.

Now, La Salle will bring that experience to the looming UAAP Season 81.

The Green Archers opened the tournament with back-to-back wins against Japan and Chinese Taipei before falling to UC Irvine, Russia-select, and Yonsei.

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