UAAP Finals: DLSU came alive when captain Kib stood up to Thirdy

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Captain Kib Montalbo set the tone in DLSU’s big-time comeback agains archrival Ateneo

De La Salle University was at the wrong end of Ateneo de Manila University’s strong start in Game 2 of the Finals of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

The Blue Eagles went online right from tip-off and dug a hole as deep as 21 points, 49-28, for the Green Archers in the second quarter. “Kanina, mapapaisip ka na lang talaga na grabe, pasok lahat ha. I just told my teammates to stick to the system ni coach Aldin,” team captain Kib Montalbo said.

Indeed, the defending champions, showed heart and clawed their way, little by little, back into the contest.

With a 14-2 run to end the first half, they decreased their deficit to only 42-51 at halftime.

And right before the two teams headed back to their locker rooms, the Taft-based squad’s skipper proved that they weren’t going away just yet.

Going into a defensive stance as Ateneo was inbounding the ball, Montalbo stood as an impediment to Thirdy Ravena.

And even though the muscular Ravena bumped into him not once, but twice, five-foot-nine Montalbo stood his ground. Talking about their interaction post-game, he said, “As captain of this team, it all starts with me. If I play tough, they’re gonna play tough. There was no foul; I was just standing there.”

He then continued, “It’s just basketball and we needed that, we needed to wake up. Inch by inch, possession by possession, we were going to get back into the game.”

That, DLSU did and battled back from a 21-point deficit to come away with a 92-83 win.

In the end, Montalbo was nothing but glad that he and DLSU brought the fight just in the nick of time. “We worked for 10 to 11 months for this tapos itatapon lang namin? No way,” he said.

He then continued, “We’ll fight to the end.”

Game Three of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals will air on December 3, Sunday LIVE at 3:30 pm on ABS-CBN Channel 2, S+A, S+A HD and via livestream.

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