De La Salle University basically got manhandled in Game One of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Finals by University of the Philippines.
They got out-rebounded, out-hustled, and even out-witted by the Fighting Maroons en route to the most lopsided Finals game in the Final Four era.
To match UP’s physicality, La Salle had to simulate Game One.
Yes, they had to play hard-nosed D against one another.
And tempers flared during those three days, bared second-year Green Archer Joshua David.
“Siguro yung first game, feel ko hindi yun yung laro namin eh pero yung past few days na bago yung game na to, sobrang hirap talaga kami sa training,” said the former La Salle Green Hills standout.
“Kung ano ginawa ng UP, yun yung ginawa namin sa training. Kumbaga, pinaghirapan namin sa training. Sobrang nag-aaway-away nga kami para lang lumaban sa training talaga.”
All the flare-ups proved to be worth it for the Green Archers.
La Salle gave UP a dose of its own medicine, out-rebounding, out-hustling, and yes, out-witting the Fighting Maroons en route to an 82-60 win and forcing a winner-take-all match.
David, a La Salle lifer, had a hand in the beatdown, scoring 12 points behind four triples and being a plus-19 on the floor.
Along with Francis Escandor and CJ Austria, they torched UP all game long.
“Pinaghirapan din namin pero malaking factor yung sinabihan kami ni Coach Topex (Robinson) na kung open ka, itira mo at shoot with confidence. As a player, sobrang malaking boost yun kasi sabihan ka ng coach na may green light na basta open, tira mo lang,” he said.
Figuring in a Game Three is not new for David. He featured twice back in his NCAA Juniors days, winning the championship in 2017 and losing the next one after.
It remains to be seen how this one will pan out for him as it promises to be an intense affair. Nevertheless, he will work doubly hard to help La Salle cross the finish line first.
“Yung pressure siguro ng sobrang daming tao tsaka yung kahit papano, sabi nga namin nila Evan (Nelle), nila KQ (Kevin Quiambao) na wag kami ma-pressure kasi kami yung nasa loob eh,” the 6-foot-1 guard said.
“Kailangan namin mag step-up at sundin ang mga pinapagawa ng coaches, gawin lang namin, at wag kami ma-pressure.”