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SMB, CSB's Cinderella run motivates La Salle-Zobel's Aldeguer ahead of junior basketball finals

By Dugout Philippines

SAN JUAN, MM--Ranged against undefeated National University in the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball Finals, De La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer knows what miracles do happen.

“It’s gonna be a David and Goliath situation,” said Aldeguer. “But you know what, with the heart they displayed (against the Blue Eaglets), who knows? Anything is possible. Bilog ang bola.”

Aldeguer cited two improbable situations in college women’s volleyball, where UAAP’s Ateneo and NCAA’s College of Saint Benilde overcame thrice-to-beat advantages to win the title, as well as in PBA’s San Miguel Beer where it became the first team to capture the championship after going 0-3 down.

He believes that the Junior Archers can do it as they take on the thrice-to-beat Bullpups in the championship opener at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Arena. 

The rest of the Finals series will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

Only one school in the league’s high school sports have overturned the tremendous thrice-to-beat disadvantage to claim the crown – University of the East’s juniors table tennis squad, which defeated NU two years ago.

De La Salle-Zobel clinched the remaining slot in the title round after dethroning Ateneo, 75-67, in the second step-ladder last Monday.

The Junior Archers are in a herculean task to neutralize the Bullpups’ slotman Justine Baltazar, who tallied 11 double-doubles in the elimination round, as well as Rhayyan Amsali.

Baltazar is averaging 13.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this season, while Amsali had a 8.4-point and 4.4-rebound clip in the elims.

“We have to find ways to limit their bigs,” said Aldeguer.

Of course, there’s NU spitfire John Lloyd Clemente who is the league’s third leading scorer with 16.4 points per game.

Aljun Melecio, who will be named the season MVP, will lead the way for De La Salle-Zobel, which is seeking its first title since 2007.

Melecio averaged 22.7 points in the eliminations which includes a couple of 40-plus point games, as he will be the Bullpups’ main concern.

NU is eyeing to regain the title it won two years ago.

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