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Villanueva proud of overachieving Lady Archers, confident for brighter future

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In the De La Salle University dugout after a heart-breaking 62-50 loss to Ateneo de Manila University in a win-or-go-home match, the Lady Archers’ head coach Cholo Villanueva’s only reminder to his dejected crew was to remember how it felt after the final buzzer.

“Remember this feeling that we had when the final buzzer sounded. I don’t want to feel this same feeling ever again. And it is everything we can do together to not experience this feeling again,” Villanueva said, relaying what he told his team after the semi-finals.

The Lady Archers were on the brink of making it to the championship round. On paper, they were also the more favored group, as they had finished second in the elimination round with a 12-2 slate, losing only to National University twice.

But inexperience got in the way as La Salle played poorly in both matches against Ateneo. Too eager to finish the duel, the Lady Archers forgot to go back to their game plan and execute it.

“We became overcompetitive, and too eager. It was very uncharacteristic. We thrive on ball movement,” Villanueva said.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Villanueva proud of overachieving Lady Archers, confident for brighter future
“This year our only enemy was inexperience. The chemistry is there, the hardwork is there, the sacrifices they made. But experience is indeed the best teacher. I had an inclination coming into the Final Four that lack of experience might spell the difference for us.”

But overall, Villanueva praised his squad for a great run, even after losing key players like Miller Ong and Trisha Piatos.

“On my first year, honestly I think we overachieved. From last year, we had six key veterans go out. The top point guard gone, the top scorer gone, the top center gone. We had different starters since our last (batch) graduated,” Villanueva shared.

The mentor added that with a young core mostly composed of second and third year players, the Lady Archers can use the entire season as an opportunity to learn and grow as a team.

“I am confident for our future, for the players coming back. This is just one step or building to where we want to go in the future. I am very proud of this team.”

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