As usual, the game between the longtime rivals was highly intense.
The De La Salle Green Archers were looking to protect their chance to go number one in the standings. The Ateneo Blue Eagles were out to secure a slot in the Final Four of UAAP Season 86.
Showing tremendous poise, it was La Salle who succeeded. With the gutsy 72-69 win on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the Green Archers also avenged their first-round loss against the Blue Eagles and stayed undefeated in the second round.
So, how did Topex Robinson’s wards pull it off? After the huge win, the well-spoken tactician pointed out the mindset of the team, which finished the elimination round with an impressive 11-3 record, going into the crucial matchup.
“One of the things we discussed coming into this game is to always be in the moment,” Robinson said. “Because we don’t want to let this moment slip by just because of the pressure of facing Ateneo, the only team we haven’t beaten in this tournament.”
“(Ito) ‘yung moment na 15 years from now, you’re going to talk about this. And ayaw ko lang na hindi nila maalala (‘to) because of all the pressure happening,” he reiterated.
The stakes were high indeed. Thankfully for the Animo community, the Green Archers were able to stay even-keeled amid the pressure-packed atmosphere. With that, Robinson can’t say enough of how proud he was of his players’ efforts.
“I just love the way these guys were composed. You see them smiling pa rin, trying to remind me that this is just a game, no more than meets the eye,” the former PBA player said.
“I was also soaking in the moment. Just being there, fighting with these young guys, ‘yun ‘yung mas lesson sa amin—make sure na hindi lalagpas (‘yung moment) na hindi kami natuto or nag-enjoy,” he added.
Expect the Green Archers, who secured a twice-to-beat incentive, to keep on seizing the moment in the Final Four, as they look to win their first title since 2016.(PM)