De La Salle Green Archers Season 80 preview
The reigning, defending, undisputed UAAP Champions De La Salle University Green Archers are aiming for a back-to-back this season, and just like last season, La Salle are once again the heavy favorites to win it all. DLSU flat out dominated Season 79 of the UAAP Men’s basketball, starting the season on fire with 12 straight wins, a lot of those wins in double-digits. Ateneo then defeated La Salle in their second round matchup to avoid the sweep. But La Salle quickly bounced back, defeating FEU in the final game of the elimination round to end the regular season with a 13-1 record, and the top seed in the Final Four. In the Final Four, La Salle defeated Adamson in a close game to set up a finals clash with rivals Ateneo. La Salle won game one of the finals thanks to a Jeron Teng game-winner. Jeron saved his best for last during Game 2, exploding for 28 points to give the Archers the championship. Jeron Teng was named Finals MVP and he also made it to the Mythical 5. Season MVP Ben Mbala dominated the league, as he recorded a” double-double” in EVERY game of last season. Overall, La Salle was a dominant 16-1 for Season 79.
La Salle was inconsistent during the FIL-OIL tournament. DLSU lost its opening game against JRU in an upset. La Salle also lost to San Beda and to rivals Ateneo during the elimination round. Fortunately for La Salle, Ateneo lost their last few games, enabling the Archers to make it to the playoffs. La Salle made it all the way to the finals against San Beda but unfortunately; former Green Archer Robert Bollick made the game-winning shot to bring the summer league title to Mendiola.
But La Salle bounced back the BLIA Cup in Taiwan. La Salle swept the tournament, beating a French Team in the finals. La Salle also defeated an American squad during the elimination round. Ben Mbala was named tournament MVP while Ricci Rivero shined as the top local for the green and white.
Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres, Jason Perkins, Julian Sargent, Mark Dyke
After spending a year in the La Salle bench, Dyke decided to transfer to FEU. A lot of former DLSU benchwarmers found success when they transferred to different programs. Terrence Mustre is part of the rotation of a very strong Adamson Program. Matt Salem is one of the key players of NU. And Robert Bollick is now the Lion King of the very dominant San Beda program. We thank Dyke for his services and we wish him luck.
Jason Perkins was one of the star players of La Salle during our 2013 championship run. However, he never truly shined under the Mayhem system. He played well in the PBA D-League and given his skill set, he has the potential to be a good PBA player if given the proper opportunity. Julian Sargent was one of the better defenders of La Salle last season, but his minutes were inconsistent as well. Thomas Torres was the starting point guard of La Salle during the last few seasons. All three of these players contributed to our championship, but there are other players who can fill their void. However, there is one player whose void would certainly be felt.
Jeron Teng accomplished so much during his 5-year UAAP career. He led La Salle back to the Final Four during his Frosh year, winning the Rookie of the Year award along the way. During his sophomore year, he led us to the championship in a dramatic match up against his brother. The team had its ups and downs during his junior and senior years but he maintained his strong individual showing. And he ended his college career in perfect fashion, by beating Ateneo for the championship. He has 2 Finals MVP and 4 Mythical 5 awards during his illustrious career. Some say the Archers needs to fill his void by committee. Lets hope they step up, especially Ricci Rivero and Aljun Melecio.
Additions: Santi Santillan, Gabe Capacio, Ramil Tero, Josh Gonzales
Unlike the previous seasons, La Salle has no “blue-chip” recruit fresh out of high school for this season. Most of the rookies of the Archers for this season are mostly transferees, players who already played for our Team B and some has experience playing college ball in other leagues. Some of these guys are expected to be part of the rotation, thus, it is expected that they contribute immediately.
Gabe Capacio is the son of one of our current assistant coaches, Glenn Capacio. He is a former Ateneo Blue Eaglet. He took the opposite route of his older brother Gwynne, who starred for the De La Salle Zobel Junior Archers before playing for the Ateneo Blue Eagles for college. Josh Gonzales is a former Letran Squire who also played for the UE Red Warriors. Santi Santillian is a forward who played for CESAFI powerhouse; University of Visayas while combo guard Ramil Tero played for NAASCU powerhouse Saint Claire.
Ben Mbala, Aljun Melecio, Joshua Caracut, Prince Rivero, Ricci Rivero, Abu Tratter, Brent Paraiso, Jollo Go, Justine Baltazar, Kib Montalbo
A lot of the key players of last year’s championship season are still with the Green Archers this season, and they are ready to defend the crown. Big guys such as Abu Tratter and Justine Baltazar will be called upon to defend the paint. Role players such as Jollo Go and Brent Paraiso provided quality minutes last season. Hopefully, they can contribute more this season. Season 78 Rookie of the Year Joshua Caracut is one of the best three-point shooters of the team and is expected to be an integral part of the rotation.
Season 79 Rookie of the Year Aljun Melecio is perhaps the best three-point shooter of the team, and for this season, he is expected to be one of the top local scorers for La Salle. Prince Rivero was in and out of the Mayhem rotation during last season and even in the pre-season tournaments. Prince is a talented player and he is ready to contribute whatever is needed, whenever his number is called. Many are expecting Ricci Rivero to be the top local of La Salle for this season. Ricci had a strong showing during the pre-season leagues. With Thomas Torres gone, Kib Montalbo is now expected to be the top point guard of La Salle. He is the initiator of the Mayhem system; his leadership and defense are very integral to the success of the team.Season 79 Ben Mbala is once again the heavy favorite to repeat as the Season MVP. Mbala flat put dominated Season 79, and with another impressive showing during the pre-season, he is once again expected to dominate this year.
Final Four: La Salle, Adamson, Ateneo, FEU
Finals: La Salle over Adamson
I predict around a 12-2 record for La Salle this season. Because of his National team duties with Cameroon, Mbala will miss this first game of the season vs FEU, and he might miss the second game of the season, against NU. A split while Big Ben is in the FIBA Africa tournament is a huge possibility. There are possible losses to fellow contenders down the road, such as Adamson and Ateneo. La Salle needs to continue to sharpen the Mayhem system for this season.
The Green Archers are the heavy favorites to win it all this season. But remember, La Salle was also favored to go back-to-back in 2014, but we all know how that one turned out. The Archers needs to be focused on the task at hand. The initial goal should be having a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, then take it from there.
ANIMO LA SALLE!