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Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala vowed to not rest on their laurels even after La Salle earned a passing grade from coach Aldin Ayo in Saturday’s 67-65 win over Ateneo in Game 1 of the best-of-three series for the UAAP basketball championship.
Ayo praised his players for their desire in performing well in the series opener, but Teng and Mbala believe that there are still lapses that need to be fixed ahead of tomorrow’s possible clincher at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I told the team that we have to play better, better than this game,” said Teng, whose go-ahead layup and block on Aaron Black in the dying seconds sealed La Salle’s victory.
“Parang kinabahan kami, so next game we have to play better para di kabahan mga nanonood sa amin,” added Teng.
“I think Jeron is right, we started strong but we have to sustain it. That is something we have to rectify for Game 2,” said Mbala. “We have to sustain the same intensity from the beginning till the very end and we have to execute no matter what type of defense Ateneo gives to us.”
Mbala, set to claim the Most Valuable Player award before tomorrow’s game, made an own critique of his performance.
While he finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, the Cameroonian shot just 4-of-13 from the field while turning the ball over five times against the relentless Ateneo defense.
One of the things he would like to do for the next game is to share the ball quickly while resorting back to his old habit of going for high-percentage baskets like he did in the early part of the season.
“I had five turnovers and I think its due to their double-teaming me at the post, so I think I should be able to make adjustments by kicking the ball out early when they triple team or double-teaming me,” he said.