De La Salle University head coach Aldin Ayo anticipates a tough battle as his wards face archrivals Ateneo de Manila University in the semifinals of the FilOil Flying V Pre-season Premier Cup on Friday.
The Green Archers managed to extend their unbeaten run in the pre-season tournament to eight wins and setup a semifinals match against their University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) rivals.
In their first meeting during the elimination round, it was La Salle who came out with a convincing 98-66 victory over the Blue Eagles.
In their rout of Ateneo, rookie Ben Mbala led the Archers with 28 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks while veteran forward Jeron Teng had 24 markers, four boards and four assists.
The Ateneans sank only 39 percent of their shots compared to La Salle’s 43 percent.
“Well, it will be a different game compared to our last meeting. For sure, they will adjust because they have great coaches. I know they make adjustments to make their team better,” Ayo said in Filipino.
During their last outing, the Green Archers trounced UAAP champions Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 91-71, through the combined 60-point performance of Teng and Mbala.
Ayo added that they would also be making adjustments in preparation against Ateneo that posted a 68-59 win over the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas to secure a ticket to the semis.
“For our part, we will also adjust because that is how basketball works. It’s a game of adjustments,” he said.
The semifinals meeting between the Green Archers and the Blue Eagles was set at 4 p.m. on Friday at the San Juan Arena.
Jaelle Nevin Reyes