The story behind La Salle's winning streak
MANILA – After a roller coaster ride in the first phase of the eliminations, the De La Salle Green Archers got their act together for a sizzling nine-win streak that brought them to their first UAAP men’s basketball finals in six seasons.
Coach Juno Sauler credited their success to the team’s continuous drive to improve.
“That's what we talked about, even with what we've been going through in every game,” said Sauler following their 71-68 come-from-behind win against Far Eastern University (FEU) in the semis.
The Archers tallied a dismal 3-4 record in the first round, but were able to sweep all seven games in the second phase.
La Salle then defeated FEU in their playoff match for second seeding in the Final Four.
After falling behind in the first half of their semifinal match against the Tamaraws, the Archers closed out the Morayta-based dribblers in the next two quarters to clinch their first Finals berth since Season 71.
“Even during that streak and until now, our main focus is to go to practice and be mentally prepared day in and day out. [We] work on what we need to improve. Wherever it takes us, then we'll take it,” said Sauler, who was belatedly appointed as La Salle coach shortly before the Season 76.
LA Revilla, who played a key role in La Salle’s last two wins against FEU, said mental focus played a big part in their victories over the Tamaraws.
The 5’7” playmaker had a season-high 20 points, including a dagger triple with 55 seconds left, in their playoff with FEU last Saturday.
Revilla also played a crucial part during the Archers' semifinal victory over the Tamaraws, where he had 15 points to go with his 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
“I think it's just a matter of putting my mind into the game. I guess I know how important these games are and we don't want to take this for granted,” he said, referring to their twice-to-beat edge over the Tams.
After their grueling trip to the finals, Sauler said they now look forward to facing whoever wins between fellow semifinalists National University (NU) and University of Sto. Tomas (UST).
The Bulldogs and the Tigers will be squaring off on Saturday to determine who gets the right to play against the Archers in the Finals.
“Both teams (UST and NU) are tough,” said Sauler. “It will be an exciting game, their knockout. We just have to prepare for whoever wins.”
Revilla said they worked hard to reach the Finals so they will be giving their best once they meet their foes.
“We're here already so bigay todo na,” said a beaming Revilla.