DLSU Green Archers


The trio of Ben Mbala, Abu Tratter and Jeron Teng controlled the pace of the game from start to finish as the De La Salle Green Archers dominated the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles, 98-66 in the Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-season tournament. With the win, they moved up to 5-0 in the pre-season standings.

La Salle started strong during the first quarter, as Ben Mbala imposed his will underneath. His effort helped the Archers end the first quarter with a 22-14 lead. With Los Angeles Lakers Fil-Am player Jordan Clarkson watching from the sidelines, La Salle blew the game wide open during the second quarter. The smaller Eagles were simply outclassed as Mbala continued to dominate, while Jeron Teng, Kib Montalbo and Abu Tratter all played well during the first half. The first half ended with the Archers in full control, 51-35.

The Green Archers extended their advantage during the third quarter, as the Eagles had a hard time figuring out how to stop the offense of the Archers, and the full-court press of the Green and White squad. The Archers had already blown the game wide open after three quarters as they enjoyed a huge 82-55 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Despite this, La Salle showed no signs of any let-up during the fourth quarter, as key contributors such as Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng still played heavy minutes during the fourth quarter despite the huge lead. Teng scored several baskets during garbage time to further balloon the lead, much to the delight of the pre-dominantly green crowd.

Ben Mbala had another monster game as the Cameroonian dominated both offensively and defensively. Big Ben scored 28 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and had 3 blocks to anchor the La Salle defense. He also scored on a couple of highlight dunks and had a couple of impressive blocks, as the smaller Eagles were simply no match for La Salle’s star big man.

King Archer Jeron Teng produced his usual output as he scored 24 points. The Archers also shot a very impressive 23/26 from the foul line as Mbala made 12/13 of his free throws.

The next game of the Archers for this tournament is against the Lyceum Pirates this Thursday at 3pm.

DLSU Green Archers

La Salle dominates UE, 97-75 to go up to 2-0, my article for www.rektikano.net

La Salle dominates UE, 97-75 to go up to 2-0.

The De La Salle Green Archers totally outclassed the University of the East Red Warriors, 97-75 behind Ben Mbala’s monster game of 24 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks to remain undefeated in two games in the FIL-OIL Flying V Pre-Season Premier Cup.

La Salle controlled the game from start to finish. Mbala started strong and had ample help from the rest of his teammates. The first quarter ended, 25-18 in favor of the Archers, and it was more of the same for the Archers during the second quarter, as the green and white to continued to control the early going. Jeron Teng started to heat up during the second period and the first half ended with La Salle in full control, 49-36.

The green and white continued its dominance during the third quarter, as Mbala and Teng continued to dominate. The third quarter ended, 73-62 in favor of DLSU, and La Salle completely pulled away during the fourth quarter. UE never knew what hit them as La Salle completed the rout, 97-75.
The next game of the Archers for this tournament is against the Mapua Cardinals this May 19, Thursday at 5pm.

DLSU Green Archers

My DLSU-UP post-game for www.rektikano.net

Finally! DLSU ends a 3-game losing streak, beats UP 72-68 to stay alive.

It was the second to the last game of the elimination round. A must-win. Against UP. To keep our Final Four dreams alive. Can this season get any more emotional for the La Salle community?

La Salle kept its Final Four dreams alive as the De La Salle Green Archers defeated the UP Fighting Maroons 72-68. The game was effectively a measure of payback for the first round loss, where UP defeated DLSU in what was considered as a monumental upset during that time. During the game, the sportscasters mentioned that the last time UP swept DLSU during the elimination round of the UAAP was way back in 1986, the year UP won the UAAP championship. After that upset, UP led the league with a 2-0 record, but from that point on, spun out of contention and was battling with Adamson to stay out of the cellar. Fortunately, La Salle was able to exact revenge for their disappointing loss to the Maroons.

La Salle started the first quarter strong, thanks to the hot hands of Jeron Teng, Prince Rivero and Joshua Torralba. The Archers led by as many as 15 points during the first quarter, as the quarter ended with a 19-6 lead for the green and white. Unfortunately for the Archers, it was a tale of two quarters during the first half. UP made a furious rally during the second quarter, uncorking a 13-3 run to threaten at the half ended with the Archers clinging on a slim 27-26 lead.

UP even managed to grab the lead during the third period, and we were treated to a gritty third quarter by both teams. Bridging the second and third quarters, UP made a 20-4 run, reminiscent of what our opponents have successfully done against this team.

Then UP’s momentum was momentarily interrupted due to a clarification by our coaches regarding uniform issues by some UP players, who apparently wore the wrong set of shorts. The respite allowed the Archers to mount a 17-9 counter-run to regain the lead, but UP answered with a run of its own to wrest the lead at the end of the third quarter, 60-56.

La Salle took control of the last quarter, thanks to the efforts of Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres and Prince Rivero with a seemingly commanding 9-point lead, 69-60 with less than 4 minutes to go in the ball game. But UP would fight back to cut the lead to just 3 points, 69-66 with 32 seconds left. Fortunately for La Salle, UP lapsed in errors down the stretch, and Jeron Teng was able to seal the deal with some clutch free throws to keep the Final Four dream of the Archers alive.

Prince Rivero had monster double-double game as he scored 18 points and grabbed 16 huge rebounds. Jeron Teng was in his usual scorer mode, as he dropped 20 points. And even though he struggled with his shooting, Thomas Torres had a double-double game of his own, 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Next stop for La Salle is a date with last year’s Final Four tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws this Wednesday at the Smart- Araneta Coliseum. FEU clobbered the Archers 93-75 in their first round meeting, and has been dominating the league so far. It will be a tough matchup against the veteran Tamaraw team. Depending on the remaining games of NU and UE, that game might either be a do-or-die game for a playoff for the last Final Four slot, or a win might give us an outright Final Four slot. Either way, it is a very big game to say the least, and the Archers should be prepared to fight for the last Final Four slot.

DLSU Green Archers

My La Salle-UP Pre-game for www.rektikano.net

Preview: DLSU Green Archers vs UP Fighting Maroons: Can the Archers salvage the season? Or is this the end of the road?

Twelve games gone. It is our second to the last game of the elimination round, and to keep our Final Four dreams alive we need to beat UP. How alarming is that?

It is alarming.

The Archers will try to extend their season, as they take on the UP Fighting Maroons this Wednesday at the Smart- Araneta Coliseum. During the first round, UP scored an upset over DLSU, 71-66 after taking control for the majority of that game. La Salle tried to rally towards the end, but Jeron Teng fouled out as the Maroons picked up what was considered a huge upset at that time. The Maroons had improbably led the league with a 2-0 record, but today have already been eliminated from contention with a 3-9 record. However, underestimating them once more would be a huge mistake, since they have nothing to lose, and an opponent with nothing to lose is always a dangerous one.

Here are the keys to the game.

No Third Quarter collapse please!

La Salle played horribly during the third quarter in some of the games this season. There was that infamous 20-0 blast of FEU to end the third period during the first round. The same thing happened during the third quarter during the first and second round games against UST, in which UST controlled the second half after La Salle had dominated the first half of both games. And last Sunday against Ateneo, the Blue Eagles outscored the Green Archers, 23-9 during that period. It seems that the coaching staff doesn’t know how to make the necessary adjustments during the halftime break, as evident by the lackluster third quarter of the Archers during those games. If UP explodes during the third quarter this Wednesday, they can gain the momentum, and that could led to a disastrous fourth quarter for the Archers.

Free Throws

This has been La Salle’s Achilles heel for the longest time. And our old weakness showed up once again during that big rivalry game over the weekend. La Salle shot a horrible 12/24 from the foul line last Sunday. DLSU missed a couple of free throws down the stretch to end whatever rally the Archers were trying to make during the last few minutes of the game. Good free throw shooting might just be the difference between a Final Four berth, and an unexpected early vacation.

Veteran leadership is needed

Much has been said about the veterans of La Salle this season, and not all of it is complimentary. Thomas Torres has been having a terrible season so far. His shooting percentages are horrendous, especially from the three-point region. His assist numbers are low, as he is playing as a shoot first point guard and not as a ball distributor. If he insists on shooting bricks instead of orchestrating the offense properly, then we are probably headed for an early vacation. Jason Perkins has been struggling offensively during this season. His rebounding is there, but his offense has been absent for most of the games. Perhaps slimming down was not the right thing to do, as he lost his bulk, bulk that is needed when he is banging bodies down low. He is not the same player that won a Mythical 5 award during his rookie year. If Perkins doesn’t step up during the last 2 games of the elimination round, then maybe these are our last 2 games of the season.

But of course when we talk about veterans, when we talk about our Final Four dreams, it will always boil down to this one guy. Numbers wise, Jeron Teng has been having a good season, as he is playing in a “Mythical 5 level” form. He has scored in double-digits in every game of the season so far. But fair or not, Jeron has been held to a much higher standards compared to most of his peers. And even though he has been putting up the numbers, if that doesn’t translate to wins, some people would put the blame on him. Is it fair? Maybe not, as he is only one man and he is certainly doing his best, he is our best player and we wouldn’t even be in a position to compete for a Final Four slot if it wasn’t for him. But when you are the King Archer, when you are the face of a major basketball program, when you represent a high profile university, when you have the spotlight, the endorsements, the commercials and all the social media buzz, when your team fails, people will make you the scapegoat, whether it is deserved or not. The bottom line is, Jeron Teng must lead us to the Final Four. Then anything can happen.

Closing Notes:

We are down to the last 2 games of the elimination round. It is not over yet. Our fate is still in our hands. And also in the hands of the other teams. We just need to take it one game at a time, one possession at a time. Let us continue to support our Green Archers no matter what; they need us now more than ever. And to paraphrase the commercial of our starting point guard, “Archers never quit, because the season is not yet over!”

DLSU Green Archers

My La Salle-Ateneo postgame for www.rektikano.net

La Salle falls to Ateneo, 73-62, slides to 5th place with a 5-7 record. Can the season still be saved?

2 games left. The season is in the balance. Can La Salle still make it to the Final Four? Or are the dark years here again?

In a rivalry game that was more important than usual because of Final Four implications, La Salle once again faltered during crunch time, as the De La Salle Green Archers dropped a painful 73-62 loss to the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles. The loss dimmed the flickering hopes of the Archers for an outright slot as they fell one win behind NU.

La Salle started the first quarter strong, thanks to some early inside baskets of Jeron Teng and Larry Muyang, while Joshua Torralba waxed hot, making 2 triples. There was good ball movement by the Archers during the first quarter, which led to good shots. The first quarter ended with a 23-13 lead for the green and white. Ateneo made their move during the second quarter, as they cut the lead all the way down to just 3 points, 25-22. But Thomas Torres, Jeron Teng and Joshua Torralba made some timely baskets to keep the Eagles at bay. The second quarter ended with the Archers still leading, 35-30.

La Salle has struggled during the third quarter on some games this season. Who could ever forget the 20-0 run by FEU during the third quarter of the DLSU-FEU first round contest. Once again, La Salle had a horrible third quarter, this time against Ateneo, as they were outscored by the Blue Eagles, 23-9 during the third period. Only Prince Rivero, Jeron Teng, Larry Muyang and Andrei Caracut scored for the Archers during the third quarter. Prince, Jeron and Muyang only scored 1 field goal each, while Caracut made 3 free throws. It was truly a horrible third quarter for the boys from Taft. Kiefer Ravena and Adrian Wong scored 6 points each during the third quarter; Von Pessumal added 4 points while Fonzo Gotladera, Aaron Black and Matthew Nieto all joined the scoring party for the Eagles during their third quarter run. The third quarter ended with a 53-44 lead for the Ateneans.

La Salle had a mini-run during the fourth quarter, thanks to some baskets by Thomas Torres and Prince Rivero, to cut the lead to just 5, 55-50. But once again, the role players of Ateneo like Adrian Wong and Aaron Black made some timely baskets for the Blue Eagles. The game turned for the worse for the Archers when Jeron Teng fouled out late in the fourth quarter with Ateneo leading, 64-55. La Salle tried one last rally, but Ateneo had an answer every time La Salle tries a comeback. La Salle started jacking up three pointers, as Thomas Torres once again missed a crucial triple. Thomas even made a mental mistake, as he was called for an unsportsmanlike foul; that led to him fouling out. Ateneo made their free throws down the stretch, to close out the game with a final score of 73-62.

Prince Rivero top scored for the Archers with 16 points, while Jeron Teng added 11 points. They were the only 2 who scored in double-digits for La Salle. Joshua Torralba scored 8 points, all in the first half, while Jason Perkins chipped in 8 points as well. DLSU shot a horrible 12/24 from the foul line.

We are now down to our last 2 elimination round games. There are several different scenarios to earn a Final Four slot, or at least a playoff for the Final Four slot. NU, DLSU and even UE are still in the running for the last Final Four spot. Our fate is still, in a way, in our hands. We just need to win our 2 remaining games, and we can get at the very least, a playoff for the last Final Four spot. The season is not yet over. We just need to focus during our last 2 games. Then take it from there.

DLSU Green Archers

My DLSU-NU Preview for www.rektikano.net

Preview: DLSU Green Archers vs NU Bulldogs: Can the Archers bounce back? Or is this the beginning of the end?

Back in 2009 and 2011, La Salle ended the first round with a 4-3 record. Unfortunately, DLSU only won 1 game during the second round during those so-called “dark years”. Those teams were considered good on paper, or at least decent enough for a possible Final Four run, but it was not meant to be.

This year, La Salle ended the first round with a 4-3 record. So far, we only won 1 second round game out of the 3 we have played. Is this a case of deja vu? Are these current Archers up to the challenge?

The struggling and inconsistent De La Salle Green Archers take on the equally struggling, and desperate, defending champions National University Bulldogs this Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The game has Final Four implications written all over it, as both teams are hungry to start a winning streak, and try to make it to the Final Four. La Salle is still smarting from a 75-74 upset loss to the league last placers Adamson Falcons. What was supposed to be a “sure win” game turned out to be a very bitter defeat, as we kissed our twice-to-beat advantage dreams goodbye. Because of that unfortunate loss, the Final Four is not even a guarantee. Here are the keys to the game.

Fix the rotation:

Andrew Langston played the best game of his UAAP so far last Saturday, as he scored 8 points in just 14 minutes. Maybe, the coaching can give Langston more playing time this Wednesday, perhaps in the 18-minute range. Larry Muyang only played 14 minutes, when earlier in the season, he had good games when given more playing time. And how come Julian Sargent played for only less than two minutes? But what is the most glaring mistake of Coach Juno Sauler’s rotation? Thomas Torres was given almost 25 minutes, which brings us to our next point.

We need Thomas Torres, starting point guard material, and not the commercial model.

To say that Thomas Torres has been struggling this season is an understatement. Sure, he had a few good games here and there, but he has not been consistent, at all. During the game against Adamson, he shot a horrible 2/11 from the field, and 2/9 from the 3-point line. And he only had 2 assists. Thomas is a shoot-first “points” guard. That would have been ok if he would shoot well, but with the way he has been shooting, and with his lack of quarterbacking skills needed for a senior starting point guard, he has been a liability this season. With 4 games left in the elimination round, it’s either Thomas shapes up, or the coaching staff needs to make some major adjustments with the point guard duties of the team. We have been sounding like a broken record here, but if Thomas insists on being a trigger-happy “points” guard and not as a dependable playmaker that he is supposed to be, then our season might just end soon.

Don’t settle for 3-point shots

Because of the analytics sensation that has been sweeping the basketball world, especially the NBA, more and more teams are viewing the 3-point shot as an important weapon. And it is an important weapon, if used properly. Having a nice play that would lead to an open three-pointer is always a good thing, as evidenced by the Joshua Torralba corner 3 that sealed the win against Ateneo during the first round. However, we can’t “live and die” with the three. And we shouldn’t settle for three point shot when the game is tied, or when the opponent lead is just one, as evident during the Adamson game last Saturday as the Archers jacked up one three point shot after another during crunch time when we didn’t need a three. DLSU shot a horrible 3/24 from downtown against the Falcons. Thomas Torres went 2/9; Andrei Caracut went 1/7 while Joshua Torralba missed all of his 4 three-point attempts. That is why teams can just play the zone against the Archers and dare La Salle to shoot threes. Yes, we should improve our three-point shooting, but we should also look for other options aside from just jacking up contested three-point shots. If the coaching staff can’t find a solution to this problem, then our season might be over in a few weeks. And by the way, there are tried and tested ways to crack a zone defense.

Closing Notes:

We are down. But not out. If we win all our remaining games, we would finish with a 9-5 record, good enough for the Final Four. If we lose just one more game this elimination round, an 8-6 would still be good enough for a Final Four berth. A 7-7 record might give us a playoff for a Final Four berth. But a 6-8 record might not be enough to make it to the Final Four. A solid team effort is needed to save the season. Jeron Teng should prove that he is a real leader. Thomas Torres needs to be a much better playmaker. After a huge game last Saturday, Prince Rivero should bring that momentum and be a more consistent “big game” player for the Archers. And Jason Perkins needs to get out of his scoring slump.

And to paraphrase the commercial of our beloved starting point guard:

Archers don’t give up, because the season is not yet over!

DLSU Green Archers

My DLSU vs FEU 2nd round pre-game for www.rektikano.net

Preview: DLSU Green Archers vs FEU Tamaraws: Can the Archers finally beat a top contender?

Going into tomorrow’s game against powerhouse FEU, some nagging questions persist. Are the Archers contenders to the throne? Or just chance passengers at the Final Four bus at most? This game might just answer those questions.

The De La Salle Green Archers take on the league-leading FEU Tamaraws this Sunday, 4pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. In their first round encounter, FEU dominated La Salle, 93-75, exploding for a backbreaking 20-0 run to end the third quarter. That run completely demoralized the Green Archers and the entire La Salle crowd, effectively reducing the rest of the game to garbage time. The stars of FEU rose to the occasion that afternoon, as Mike Tolomia scored 20 points while Mac Belo added 17 points. Jeron Teng scored 29 points during that game, but did not get enough help from his teammates.

Keys to the Game:

Share the ball!

The Archers only managed 7 assists last Wednesday in their last game against the Warriors. Fortunately, DLSU was able to beat UE despite the very low assists numbers, but it would be very hard to beat a veteran team like FEU if we just rely on isolation plays and individualistic efforts, no matter how heroic they may look. Primary ball distributor Thomas Torres only issued one assist during that win against UE. How can we go far this season if our starting point guard looks more to shoot than to look for an open teammate to pass to? Thomas should act more like a facilitator and not be a trigger-happy shoot first type of point(s) guard, otherwise the coaches might give more of his minutes to Navarro, who has shown signs of being a true point guard. There had been games this season where Jeron Teng showed his willingness to share the ball to his teammates so an all-round game from Jeron, where can score his points but gets his fellow Archers involved is preferable to a big hero-ball high-scoring game from Jeron.

Play for 40 minutes

The Archers has been “consistent in being inconsistent” so far this season. La Salle has blown huge leads and allowed huge runs a lot of times this season. There was the 20-0 third quarter run of FEU during the first round. DLSU blew a double-digit lead against UST, not once, but twice. If La Salle wants to beat a contender, then the team should play like contenders, all game long. FEU is considered as a potent offensive squad and they can explode any time. Consistency is the key and La Salle needs to execute their plays, and not just rely on isolations or settle for outside shots, and be focused on defense if the Archers want to beat the Tamaraws.

A big offensive game from Jason Perkins

Jason Perkins has been doing a fine job rebounding the ball during the second round. He grabbed 10 rebounds against UST, and he had 13 rebounds against UE. However, his offense has been silent so far this second round. He only scored 6 points against UST, all during the first quarter. And he scored only 7 points against UE. During the first round game against FEU, he only scored 5 points. Perkins can shoot from the outside, which would stretch the defense of FEU, and he can score from the post as well, which can put some FEU big guys in foul trouble. If Perkins can fish some fouls down low, especially against Mac Belo, it would make things easier for the Archers. La Salle needs the Jason Perkins who waxed hot against Ateneo during the last game of the first round. If that Jason Perkins shows up this Sunday, then La Salle just might pull a much-needed victory.

More playing time for Julian Sargent

Julian Sargent has been playing well so far in limited minutes. He might not be producing mind-boggling numbers, but he is giving quality minutes for the Archers and he has been bringing the intangibles needed to win a basketball game. Sargent is a good defender, and his defense just might be needed to put the cuffs on Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and even Mac Belo.

Closing Notes:

There were times during this season when FEU would play lazy. It was evident during their games against UP and even the first round game against Adamson. They would just coast during the first three quarters, then “flip the switch” during the fourth quarter. But they won’t be lazy this Sunday, as they usually play to their full potential against the so-called bigger teams. Expect FEU to bring their A-game this Sunday, and La Salle should do the same. The very slim chance of La Salle grabbing a twice-to-beat advantage is on the line this Sunday and if DLSU loses, then the Archers can kiss the twice-to-beat advantage goodbye. This is the chance of the Archers to prove that they are contenders, and not just mere pretenders to the crown. A big win against a top seed team might just be what the Archers need to truly turn the season around.