UAAP: Mike Phillips, La Salle stay focused on goal amid hot streak
MANILA, Philippines —With La Salle officially back in the Final Four, Mike Phillips and the Green Archers are not losing sight of the bigger goal in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
La Salle exacted revenge on Adamson, the same team that beat them to a Final Four slot last season, and booked a semifinal ticket in the process on Wednesday.
“It’s just the beginning. You know, we don’t want to get too high on this. And like coach said, I just want to give all glory to God,” said Phillips.
Phillips, who has been instrumental in La Salle’s domination as of late, said the Greencers to be more consistent as they play their final three games in the elimination round where they are looking to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage.
“I want the team to be more consistent. We have this mix with veteran guys with rookie guys,” he said. “That’s why we really didn’t want to overlook any games because they really prepare us for that adversity we’re going to face in the playoffs, in the Final Four. So I think this [game against Adamson] is another learning experience for us. Really helped us bond as coach said, and so just something that you know, that’ll help us prepare us as well right down the road.”
While beating the Falcons as the race to the Final Four gets heated could’ve been seen as something personal for last year’s holdovers, Phillips said it revenge was the last thing on their minds and that’s all thanks to coach Topex Robinson.
“For me, if you would have asked that question a couple of years ago, or before coach Topex, I would have said it was personal. I would have said it was something like an act of revenge,” said Phillips, who stepped up with eight points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals against Adamson.
“But something I learned from coach Topex, and then the coaching staff, this year’s that kind of gets to your head, you know, then you really think it becomes personal, then you worry too much about the other team,” he added.
Phillips, a mythical member of Season 84 when La Salle last played in the Final Four, said their new coach has been helping them to stay in the game, and that has certainly shown results.
The Green Archers are among the hottest team in the league with an 8-3 record fueled by a five-game winning streak. They sit behind league leaders University of the Philippines and National University, who are tied at 10-2.
“We have to be prepared, but focus on ourselves. And so, yes, they did not knock us out of the playoffs, but for this game. It was just another game today, we prepared just like any other game, and to really come out there and play our best and so I just gave us a tough fight. And so we’re just happy to move on to the next game with the win,” he said.
La Salle eyes its sixth straight win against the University of the East on Sunday at the Big Dome before facing Far Eastern University on Wednesday next week at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Green Archers will wrap up their elimination round with a rivalry match against the Ateneo Blue Eagles on November 18 at Araneta Coliseum.