To not give up and stick to the system, these were the words of La Salle Green Archers team captain Kib Montalbo to his teammates after the first-half explosion by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in Game 2 of the UAAP men’s basketball finals at Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
Down by as many as 21 points in the first half, Montalbo reminded his squad of a similar situation in the 2013 finals against University of Santo Tomas, where La Salle was down 1-0 in the series, a memory Montalbo used to light a fire in his team.
“What I wanted them to do was to believe and want it more. I don’t know, hopefully pumasok iyon sa isip nila that’s why we got this win,” said Montalbo.
“I just told them to never give up. Whatever the circumstances na bibigay sa atin, down 20, down 30, just stick it out as a team.”
The Green Archers recovered from a lackluster first-quarter performance and went on to win Game 2, 92-83 and force a winner-take-all on Sunday.
Montalbo didn’t shy away from his responsibility as the team leader, especially in the crucial stretch of the season.
“As a captain of this team it all starts with me. If I play tough, they’re gonna play tough. We’re down by 20, inch by inch, possession by possession, we’re gonna get there,” he said.
The graduating Green Archer said his team will not give up its crown easily.
“We’ll just prepare. Practice (Thursday), recover our bodies and back to work. We’re gonna give it all this Sunday. It’s the last game. For sure they’re (Ateneo) gonna give it their all. It’s gonna be one hell of a match,” said Montalbo, who tallied nine points, five assists and three steals in Game 2.
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