Sauler sets sights on La Salle's last two games as season now on the line

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--La Salle scorched for 23 points in the first quarter of its Sunday night game against Ateneo but could only come up with a combined 21 in the next two quarters and eventually lost steam in the end.

The loss plus NU's win over UP earlier Sunday pulled La Salle down to fifth place with three playdates remaining in the elimination round.

Despite the results, Coach Juno Sauler remains optimistic that the Green Archers, who have now lost three straight matches, will steal the Final Four spot away from the Bulldogs.

"It's not [about] the losing streak. It's about really looking forward to our last two games in the eliminations.... The boys are out there fighting. No one's giving up. We're looking forward to the challenges in the next two games," Sauler told some sportswriters after the game.

However, La Salle's road to staying alive may not be that easy as the squad faces UP, a 71-66 winner in their first round meeting, on Wednesday and league leader FEU exactly a week after that.

NU, on the other hand, has FEU as its remaining assignment on Saturday.

Although its chances are slim, UE also has a chance at making the semifinals, but the team must beat Ateneo on Saturday and UP on Nov. 18 and hope that NU loses to FEU and La Salle splits or loses both its last two games to get a playoff for the last Final Four seat.

The Archers, however, could enter their Wednesday game against the Fighting Maroons with a not 100 percent Josh Torralba, who Sauler said injured his hamstring. Torralba still walked gingerly when he exited their dugout.

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