UAAP: Ateneo happy with defensive masterpiece against La Salle

Philip Matel on Oct 06, 2018 07:45 PM
Ateneo happy with defensive masterpiece against La Salle
Star forward Thirdy Ravena knew that the Green Archers were not a team to be messed with especially in a rival game

The Ateneo Blue Eagles were pretty much satisfied with the way they took the victory against bitter rivals De La Salle Green Archers in their first face-off of the UAAP Season 81 basketball wars at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday evening.

Ateneo used their top-notch defense to shut down their opponents throughout the game, holding them to a paltry 29-percent field goal percentage, just allowing DLSU three makes from downtown compared to 29 attempts. They also forced La Salle to 28 turnovers, which led to 29 points.

La Salle was also not able to take advantage of Ateneo's 15 giveaways, only drawing two points from that area. 

The Blue Eagles also did not let team captain Kib Montalbo enjoy a spirited comeback, as the skipper was held to four points on a 29-percent shooting clip.

"We’re very happy, especially on the defensive end. How we played defense, how we forced turnovers," Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga said in the post-game presser. 

Coach Tab Baldwin also directed his players to prevent La Salle, the top offensive rebounding team in the league to net second-chance opportunities. 

What was a 13-7 advantage on the offensive boards for DLSU turned to just a three-board advantage for the green shirts as time expired.

Star forward Thirdy Ravena knew that the Green Archers were not a team to be messed with especially in a rival game, thus they kept on pressing hard on the defensive side and resorted to duty fouls in an attempt to prevent the easy two.

For rookie center Angelo Kouame, who led Ateneo with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocked shots, experiencing the Ateneo-La Salle game for the first time was a great avenue to release his energy for the boys from Katipunan.

"Like coach Tab said, just bring the energy as a team and when you get to the court, just play and enjoy the game. That’s what me and my teammates tried to do. We wanted to play collectively as a team," the Ivorian center shared.

Under directives from the coaching staff, Kouame did not mind the raucous green-clad crowd, and zeroed in on everything he had in sight.

Even though the game is circled in the calendar for both schools, Ravena added that the game should just be treated the same way they would face other squads. 

"We prepared for it the same way, we practiced for it the same way. Kapag mas inisip namin na La Salle siya, binibigyan namin ng pressure sarili namin. Just take it as a regular game, and ‘yung approach namin every game is like our championship game," said Ravena, who posted nine points, four rebounds, and six assists, three more dimes than the whole La Salle squad.



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