Tierra admits Mbala still poses match-up problem

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

Despite San Beda's 88-81 win over La Salle in Game 1 of the PCCL Finals, interim coach Adonis Tierra told sportswriters after the game that La Salle's new big man Ben Mbala still dominated the game against Ola Adeogun and Pierre Tankoua, especially when both San Beda's bigs got into foul trouble in the third quarter.

"Nagkaproblema kami when Ola and Tankoua got four fouls. I told them, 'No choice na tayo. We have to play 2-3 zone. Ang importante lang dito yung rebounds,'" said Tierra.

But while Tankoua fouled out early into the fourth, Adeogun kept himself from a fifth foul and even sealed the Red Lions' win with nine points in the last 2:41 of the game.

"Talagang medyo Mbala ang lamang, but in the last two minutes, medyo OK na si Ola," Tierra added, even quoting Adeogun telling him during the practice that he will bounce back against Mbala.

Tierra lauded Adeogun and Tankoua for their performance against Mbala at the post.

He said, "Without Ola and Tankoua, yung mga local ko, pag wala, patay kami."

Former San Beda coach and current NLEX mentor Boyet Fernandez also watched the game from the stands, and he had a word to say to his former players before the game.

"Coach Boyet told the team, 'This is the time. Hawak niyo na yung championship. Huwag niyo nang pakawalan,'" quoted Tierra of what Fernandez, who steered San Beda to its fifth straight NCAA title before returning to NLEX for its PBA debut, said.