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Different looks suit La Salle, says Ayo

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo said his team must make rival teams second-guess as they look to continue their impressive start in the UAAP basketball tournament.

The Green Archers displayed their best performance of the season last Wednesday when they crushed the hapless University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 100-62, in the most lopsided victory of the competition.

The brutal beatdown saw La Salle forcing UST into 40 turnovers while getting significant contributions from almost every player to post its third win in as many games.

“For us kasi, as much as possible we want to be unpredictable. I want opposing teams to keep on guessing,” said Ayo.

The victory came ahead of Sunday’s big encounter with the National University Bulldogs, who also won their first two games and have beaten the Green Archers in a preseason clash last month.

Ayo and NU counterpart Eric Altamirano have downplayed the result of that match and even the notion of their game being a finals preview, but there’s no question that La Salle will once again carry the label as the favorite in the upcoming contest.

Acting like a perfectionist, Ayo once again stressed that the Green Archers are still far from the team he had envisioned since his stunning arrival at the green side following his Cinderella run as coach of last year’s NCAA champion Letran Knights.

“Dami pang lapses,” said Ayo, noting on the first half that saw La Salle clinging to a small lead before going on a huge third quarter run that put the fight out of UST.

“Both ends of the floor madami pang lapses. Siguro game changer sa laro is how we started in the third quarter. If we can sustain that and play like that for the rest of our games, magiging maganda ang resulta para sa amin.”

Ayo’s focus on being unpredictable was shown by the quiet-yet-effective showing of rookie center Justine Baltazar.

The former National University Bullpup played just 12 minutes and scored just two points. But he produced eight rebounds and blocked five shots, earning him the unlikely nod as Player of the Game by television carrier ABS-CBN Sports.

Ayo immediately paid tribute the 6-foot-8, 19-year-old Baltazar’s effort during games and in practices.