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Pre-Game: De La Salle University Green Archers versus Adamson Soaring Falcons

Pre-Game: De La Salle University Green Archers versus Adamson Soaring Falcons

It’s a rematch of last year’s Final Four matchup as the defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers takes on the dangerous Adamson Soaring Falcons. The Green Archers defeated the Soaring Falcons thrice last season. La Salle dominated the first round match up. Adamson was able to keep their second round match up close before La Salle pulled away. And during the Final Four, Adamson almost pulled off an upset, before Jeron Teng took over during crunch time to eliminate Adamson in just one game.

The Archers are still undefeated, with solid wins against Final Four contenders FEU and NU. What’s more impressive about those wins was that the Archers won without the reigning MVP Ben Mbala because of his national team duties. Mbala will be making his season debut this Wednesday and that is bad news for the entire UAAP. Adamson has been inconsistent so far this season. Without Papi Sarr, Ateneo dominated Adamson during the opening weekend. Adamson bounced back during their second game with a closer-than-expected win against UST.

La Salle has been averaging a whooping 105 points per game so far during this young season. It’s going to be interesting to see if Adamson would try to slow the pace down against the high-scoring Archers, or if their athletic players would try to run-and-gun and try to flat out out-score the Archers. La Salle had some problems against the press of NU last Saturday. With that said, La Salle needs to prepare for the dreaded Pumaren press of the Falcons.

Three-point shooting has been the name of the game for the Archers so far this season. Aljun Melecio has been waxing hot all season long. Ricci Rivero hit some threes during their last game and Jollo Go had a career game raining threes during the NU game. Mbala has improved his three-point shooting during the FIBA-Africa and he might just use his new weapon in the UAAP. With Mbala back, he will command double or even triple teams down low and that will open up the shooters of the Archers.

The Adamson coaching staff, AKA La Salle legends, has not defeated their Alma Matter since they took over the other blue and white school. Coach Franz Pumaren and his assistant coaches, King Archers Ren Ren Ritualo and Don Allado, would love to give La Salle their first loss of the season. Before the season, Adamson was considered as a Finals contender but now, some are saying a Final Four slot is not even a lock, so Adamson needs a big game against La Salle to prove to the entire UAAP community that they are still one of the favorites for this season.

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La Salle outlasts NU, 115-109 in a thrilling shootout to go up to 2-0!

La Salle outlasts NU, 115-109 in a thrilling shootout to go up to 2-0!

In one of the most exciting UAAP games in recent memory, the De La Salle University Green Archers defeated the National University Bulldogs, 115-109 in high-scoring, high-octane shootout that left the entire UAAP community in awe.

It was a see saw battle all throughout the game. La Salle led by as many as 10 points during the second quarter but NU quickly recovered. The it was the Bulldogs turn to grab a double-digit during the 3rd quarter, as they went up by as many as 11 points during the third quarter, but La Salle rallied back. During the dying seconds of the game and with La Salle clinging on to just a 3-point lead, Ricci Rivero drove hard to the basket and found his brother Prince down low, and the older Rivero made the eventual game-sealing basket.

After a poor opening weekend, Ricci stepped up and exploded with 21 big points, in a wide-array of fancy layups, three-point shots and clutch baskets. Opening game hero Aljun Melcio continued his hot shooting ways, dropping 20 points including 5 triples. Jollo Go exploded for 19 points in just 13 minutes, shooting a red-hot 5/8 from downtown. Rookie Leonard Santillian had a monster game of 13 points and 16 rebounds. Abu Tratter chipped in 11 points, and he did not miss a shot at all, going 4/4 from the field and 3/3 from the line. Prince Rivero scored 10 points, including the eventual game-sealing basket from an assist from his younger brother. The brothers then shared a hug after that basket, another feel good moment in a league full of dramatic moments.

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De La Salle Green Archers Season 80 preview

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.

Subtractions:

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.

Holdovers:

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.

Prediction:

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!

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DLSU, DLSU Green Archers, Jeron Teng, La Salle

MAYHEM! La Salle dominates Ateneo, 97-81 to sweep the 1st round!

MAYHEM! La Salle dominates Ateneo, 97-81 to sweep the 1st round

COMPLETE AND TOTAL DOMINATION!

After a close first quarter, La Salle took control of the second quarter and never looked back, as the De La Salle Green Archers dominated the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles, 97-81 in front of a mammoth 16,000 strong-crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena yesterday.

The game started close, as the first quarter ended at 20 all. The Eagles even took a 26-20 lead during the early parts of the second quarter. But then, Mayhem took over! La Salle unleashed a 21-3 run and with that, the game was pretty much over by halftime. And it was more of the same during the second half, as La Salle led by as much as 27 points. DLSU was never really threatened during the second half.

Big Ben Mbala played perhaps his best game of the season so far, as he finished with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 steals. He had a couple of highlight-worthy dunks, including an alley-oop play from Thomas Torres; that led the green side of MOA to go absolutely insane! With the absence of top local Jeron Teng due to an injury, the other players stepped up. Andrei Caracut once again had a good game, as he finished with 14 points. Abu Tratter added 10 points while Thomas Torres, Ricci Rivero and Kib Montalbo also chipped in 8 points a-piece.

The Archers had 16 steals compared to only 4 steals of Ateneo. La Salle had 21 fast break points compared to only 2 of the Blue Eagles. La Salle pretty much dominated just about every statistical category for this game. No Ayo, No Jeron, No Problem!

La Salle swept the first round of the elimination round for the first time since 2002. But it should be noted that La Salle went 13-0 that season, before losing the final game of elimination round game against Ateneo. Ateneo eventually won the finals in 3 games against La Salle. So the lesson here is nothing is cast in stone. The Golden State Warriors had the greatest regular season record in NBA history with 73-9, but lost in the finals. Nothing is for sure. Yes, we are the heavy favorites, but it doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. The level of Mayhem should be intensified in the second round all the way to the finals! ANIMO LA SALLE!

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WWE

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Recap

 

WWE Cruiserweight Classic Recap

I have been watching the WWE Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE Network since its first week. It is one of those shows that really got my attention, from the opening match all the way to the finale. All, and I mean all, of the matches were good, and a lot of them were great as well. To watch every single match of the tournament, to be emotionally invested with guys who doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of the typical WWE Main Event level talent, is something only die-hard fans could understand.

To see veterans like The Brian Kendrick and Tajiri get back to the limelight. HHH basically giving a contract to Cedric Alexander after an amazing, the exploits of Jack Gallagher, Gran Metalik’s surprise run to the finals and many more!

Everybody thought that it would be Kota Ibushi vs Zack Sabre Jr in the finals, with Kota winning at all. But the WWE threw a curveball; perhaps because Kota and Zack didn’t sign with the company and eventually, the tournament was for the belt. My mind said Kota over Zack in the finals, but my heart said TJ Perkins. And damn, even though it caused me so much pain in the past, I decided to follow my heart once again, and this time, it was the right decision.

Congratulations TJ Perkins! The winner of the 1st WWE Cruiserweight Classic! The New WWE Cruiserweight champion of the World! And what a speech by him afterwards, where he shared his trials, how he overcame it, and how he shared his success to everyone in the CWC, how he shared it to the other 31 competitors, truly, a champion we can all be proud of! And I love what HHH said to him during the Championship photo shoot. HHH jokingly asked him if he has plans during Monday Nights. Perkins said, no, wrestling is my life. What a great answer by the face of the Cruiserweight Division of the New Era. Laban Pilpinas! Puso!

 

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DLSU, DLSU Green Archers, Jeron Teng, La Salle

My DLSU-UST post-game article for Sports Gateway PH

Mayhem! La Salle dominates UST, 100-62 to go up to 3-0.

La Salle just showed the entire league what Mayhem Basketball is all about, as the De La Salle Green Archers just flat out dominated the UST Growling Tigers, 100-62. It was a close game for most of the first half, until La Salle used a late 2nd quarter run to grab a 44-35 lead to end the first half. But it was all over during the third quarter, as the Archers outscored the Tigers, 29-14 during the third period. La Salle showed no mercy during the fourth quarter, as they showed the killer instinct that is expected from the heavy favorites of this UAAP tournament.

Ben Mbala once again led the way for the Archers, as he scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Other double-digit scorers for the Archers are Jeron Teng with 13, Thomas Torres with 11 and Abu Tratter with 10. The rookies also had their time to shine during this game. Ricci Rivero threw down a phenomenal reverse dunk during garbage time, much to the delight of the Green and White crowd. While Justine Baltazar played quality minutes, as he had 5 blocks in just 12 minutes. Renzo Subido once again top scored for the Tigers, as he scored 18 points. Jamil Sheriff chipped in 11 points, but the rest of the Tigers struggled during this game. The Mayhem defense of the Archers also forced UST to 40 turnovers. La Salle goes up to 3-0 while UST falls to 1-2.

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DLSU, DLSU Green Archers, Jeron Teng, La Salle

Preview: DLSU vs UST

Preview: De La Salle Green Archers vs UST Growling Tigers

La Salle tries to go up to 3-0 as the DLSU Green Archers takes on the dangerous UST Growling Tigers. DLSU has been impressive so far, winning a close game against an always-competitive FEU Tamaraws during its opening game; then La Salle dominated UP over the weekend. After losing to Ateneo during the opening weekend, UST bounced back with a close win against the UE Red Warriors. It was the breakout game for former DLSZ Junior Archer Renzo Subido.

UST swept the season series against La Salle last year. The Archers just had no answer for the eventual runner-ups last season. But this year is a different story. No more Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag and (finally!!!!) Karim Abdul for the black and gold. Hopefully, La Salle can turn the tables against UST for this season.

We have two superstars for this season, and they have been playing like superstars so far. Jeron had 28 big points during the opener, including a couple of clutch baskets to seal the deal for the Green and White. Mbala had 23 huge rebounds and 4 blocks during debut, but he “only” had 13 points. So during the game against UP, it was Mbala’s turn to show his offensive prowess. Mbala scored 30 points against UP, and he grabbed 14 rebounds and had 2 blocks as well. Jeron “only” had 12 points against UP. So expect Mbala and Jeron to combine for around 40 points per game for this season. They might take turns in having a huge scoring game, but it would be great to see them both having a huge scoring game on the same game. With no more Abdul manning the paint for Team Espana, Mbala just might have field day once again. Expect the Archers to feed the kid from Cameroon down low, and we might get a couple of “YouTube worthy” plays as well.

Despite the early season success so far, the La Salle fans are not yet satisfied. Many expected a blowout against FEU and even though La Salle won over UP by 18 points, Mbala had to play during the latter part of the 4th to seal the win, as UP trimmed the lead to low-double digits during the middle to latter part of the fourth quarter. La Salle needs a big win against UST to give the fans some assurance that this team has the killer instinct that is needed to win the championship. Every team will try their very best against La Salle, and the Archers needs to play their best in every single game, in every single possession, to show the league that it means business.

La Salle and UST had countless classics over the years. The older fans can never forget the bridesmaid years during the early to mid 90’s, when UST dominated the league, beating La Salle in several championship battles. There was the unforgettable Dino Aldeguer 3 back in 1999 during the 2nd of the eventual 4-peat of the Archers. Joseph Yeo had his breakout game against UST during 2002 in Rizal, hitting a huge 3 to force overtime and eventually retain the then perfect record. There was the Maui Villanueva tip-in back in 2008. And of course, there was the battle of the Teng brothers from 2012-2013. There was electricity in the air during their first ever UAAP meeting back in 2012, which Jeric won, and during the second round, Jeron hit a game winning shot. And of course, there was the classic 3-game finals series back in 2013, when Jeron led us to the championship. Will we see another #DLSUST classic this Wednesday? The thing is, Lasallians wants a blowout this time around! Let’s show them what Mayhem basketball is all about! Animo La Salle!

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