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La Salle seniors Montalbo, Santillan brush off season opening loss


De La Salle University seniors Kib Montalbo and Santi Santillan were quick to calm their team down after absorbing a Season 81 opening loss from Far Eastern University (FEU), Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
This is the first time in three years that the Green Archers bowed to the Tamaraws, but both veterans did not put too much premium in that. Instead, they took it lightly and set their eyes on the next game.
"Siyempre after every loss, kinda frustrated. But I'm the leader of this team, I told them that it is just one game. First game, heads up everyone, and bawi sa next game," said team captain Montalbo after playing his last season opener as a student-athlete.
"One game at a time. 0-1 now, bounce back next game. We're looking at Adamson next game," added Montalbo, who finished the game with five points, five rebounds, and six assists.
"Marami kaming natutunan this game. First game. Marami pa kaming malalaro," said fifth-year Santillan.
The big man reflected on the last three minutes of the match. The game which was initially neck-and-neck made a turn when Tamaraw Tolentino drilled a triple, followed by buckets from Jasper Parker and Hubert Cani.
From then on, the Green Archers struggled to make shots and time was not on their side.
"Maraming naco-contribute 'yung FEU, [pero] kami di na naka-contribute sa last," explained Santillan whose double-double performance of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists went down the drain.
Since Ben Mbala has moved on from his days in Taft, Santillan is now the main man in the paint for La Salle, and he takes it upon him to lead the younger centers in the team.
"Kung ano pang mga kulang sa akin, kung wala si Ben Mbala, marami pa akong matutunan. Marami pa akong [mabibigay] as last year ko na rin din. Maraming mga rookie namin ngayon, ile-lead ko pa sila. Tsaka 'yung mga nage-expect para sa akin, gagawin ko naman lahat ng makakaya ko," he assured.

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