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!

Standard
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.

Standard
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!

Standard
DLSU, DLSU Green Archers, Jeron Teng, La Salle

Pre-Game: DLSU Green Archers vs FEU Tamaraws

Pre-Game: De La Salle Green Archers vs FEU Tamaraws
Grudge match!

The heavily favored De La Salle Green Archers takes on the defending champions FEU Tamaraws this Wednesday, 4pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. Several weeks ago, the two teams figured out in a heated tune-up game, a game so heated that they decided not to finish the match. La Salle had a huge lead before the game was stopped, but who is counting anyways, right? Both coaches also played some “mind games” during a recent UAAP Press Conference, as both expressed their eagerness to finally “finish the game”.

FEU swept DLSU during their season series last year. The Mighty Tams used a back-breaking late 3rd quarter run during the first round to dominate DLSU during their opening round encounter. And during the second round, which ended up as the last game of the season for the Archers, FEU, using mostly their bench players during the fourth period, defeated DLSU in a do-or-die game for the Archers. During the 2016 FIL-OIL Pre-Season Cup, La Salle eliminated FEU, 91-71 during the quarterfinals.

FEU lost a lot of key players from last year’s championship run, veteran players such as Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, RR Pogoy and Russel Escoto. But never count out FEU, as year in and year out, they field a competitive team, consistently finding players, players that might not be necessarily considered as “blue-chippers”, but they end up as quality players. Some of their more reliable role players from last year are looking to finally shine in the UAAP, players such as Raymar Jose and Monbert Arong. Expect the Tams to be Final Four contenders for this season.

Ben Mbala was said to be the target of the physical FEU defense during that infamous tune-up match. Expect the Tams to be very physical towards the Archers, especially to our stars, Big Ben and King Archer Jeron Teng. La Salle should not lose their cool and just stick to the game plan. This is Mbala’s long awaited UAAP debut and all eyes are on him. He should just let the game flow into him. The Archers are the favorites, which may bring extra pressure to perform in the big stage, so La Salle should just take it one possession at a time, one game at a time. Mbala and Teng showed that they can play well with each other during the FIL-OIL championship run and hopefully, they can bring that chemistry to the UAAP.

La Salle is fielding a full 16-man lineup for the first time since 2012. And with the mayhem defense, it would be interesting to see the rotation of Coach Aldin Ayo for the opening game. He might end up using a lot of players for this game, as we are a deep team, so there is a possibility that he uses around 12-13 players for this game, so everyone should be ready, as some of the rookies will have a baptism of fire in our opening game.

Expect this to be a good test for the Archers. FEU will not back down from a challenge, even against the heavy favorites. As long as the Archers stick to the game plan, and show the UAAP that the Mayhem defense is for real, we should be able to start the season on the right foot. ANIMO LA SALLE!

Standard
DLSU, DLSU Green Archers, Jeron Teng

Primer: DLSU Green Archers Season 79

Primer: DLSU Green Archers Season 79

Will the heavily favored Green Archers reclaim the crown? Or will it be another letdown from the Green and White?

UAAP Season 78 review

To say that the previous UAAP Season 78 was a disappointing one for the De La Salle Green Archers is an understatement. As usual, the Archers were expected to contend for the crown. Jeron Teng was surrounded by talented veterans and several blue chipper rookies, and that team was expected to breeze to the Final Four then take it from there.

The Archers were inconsistent during the first round, as they ended the round with a 4-3 record. It was a decent record, still good enough to contend for the Final Four, but for La Salle standards, it was not enough. The highlight of the 1st round was a big win against rivals Ateneo, which gave confidence to the La Salle community that we can go deep into the playoffs.

But the second round was a huge disappointment for the Green Archers. DLSU was only able to win 2 games during the second round. There was an upset loss against Adamson that started the doubt for some Lasallians if we can make it to the Final Four. There was that loss against Ateneo that severely demoralized the team. And in the final game of the elimination round, La Salle lost to FEU in a do-or-die game for the Archers to miss the Final Four for the first time in the Jeron Teng era.

The off-season and the “Summer of Dominance”

Enough is enough and it is time for a change. Coach Juno Sauler resigned. For sentimental reasons, a lot of lasallians hoped that La Salle legend Coach Franz Pumaren would make a return to Taft Avenue, but he eventually went to Adamson University, and he tagged along La Salle legends Ren Ren Ritualo and Don Allado with him. In a move that surprised the local basketball community, La Salle hired a new coach that is not a lasallian. DLSU hired Letran champion coach Aldin Ayo. Coach Ayo later proved that he is the man for the job, sweeping the 2016 FIL-OIL Pre-Season cup, as his trademark “Mayhem Defense” was in effect all summer long. Ben Mbala basically swept pretty much all the awards for that tournament, winning the tournament MVP, and Jeron Teng and the much- improved Abu Tratter joined him in the Mythical Five.

Preview: DLSU Green Archers Season 79

Coaching staff: New Head Coach Aldin Ayo, assistant coach Glenn Capacio

Subtraction: Head Coach Juno Sauler, Assistant coaches Jun Limpot and Allan Caidic

Returnees: Paolo Sauler and Siot Tanquincen

The coaching staff trio of Head Coach Juno Sauler and his PBA Legends assistant coaches, former King Archer Jun Limpot and the Triggerman Allan Caidic, led DLSU to the 2013 championship. We thank them for that, but it is time to move on. Enter former Letran champion coach Aldin Ayo. Ayo just led his alma mater Letran to the NCAA championship last year, ending the dynasty of their rivals, the San Beda Red Lions. So he knows a thing or two about college rivalries. In a move that surprised the community, La Salle hired a coach who is not a lasallian for the first time in a long long time. But Ayo quickly proved his worth as the Archers dominated the premier summer league, thanks to the trademark Mayhem Defense full-court press and a very versatile offense. Of course, the UAAP is a different story, but Coach Aldin Ayo and the rest of the coaching staff are more than ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Addition: Ben Mbala, Ricci Rivero, Aljun Melecio, Mark Dyke, Justine Baltazar, Kib Montalbo (returning from ACL injury)

“Frosh” Rookies: Ricci Rivero, Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar

The La Salle high school superstars decided to remain green as La Salle Green Hills Greenie Ricci Rivero and De La Salle Zobel Junior Archer Aljun Melecio went “derecho La Salle”. Ricci Rivero, the younger brother of La Salle veteran Prince Rivero, was dominant during his last year in the NCAA juniors division; however, he was suspended during the course of the season, forfeiting the MVP award.

The sweet-shooting Melecio led DLSZ to its first finals appearance since the Capacio/Elorde/De La Paz/AVO era. Melecio is being compared to current PBA player “Ant Man” Mark Cruz, who blossomed under Coach Aldin Ayo during the magical Letran championship run last season. If he can play like him, then the sky is the limit for Melecio. Off the court, Melecio made some headlines, at least for those who are interested in the off the court dealings of basketball players, by being involved in a “promposal” after a UAAP Juniors finals game, a light moment in an otherwise always heated basketball affair. The two homegrown talents just might get good playing time for their rookie seasons.

Justine Baltazar led the NU Bullpups to the UAAP Juniors championship. The original plan was for him to sit out for the year, to be acclaimed to the La Salle culture, but it seems there was a change of plans and he is raring to go and play immediately for the Archers this season. As talented as he is, it would be interesting to see if he can crack the rotation and get some playing time this season, as he didn’t play during the FIL-OIL tournament and our team is loaded with big guys who can contribute right now for the Archers.

Returning from injury: Kib Montalbo

Kib missed last season due to an unfortunate knee injury, but he is back and raring to go. He showed flashes of his old self during the pre-season. Kib is a very smart quarterback, and he can shoot as well, he can hit the mid-range jump shot and the occasional three as well. Kib was severely missed last season as the Archers seemed lost at times during UAAP Season 78 so his leadership and solid point guard duties would be viable for the green and white this year.

“Residency Rookies”

Mark Dyke was supposed to play for La Salle last year, but some indecision from the kid led to him being forced to sit out. Dyke had limited minutes during the FIL-OIL summer league. Hopefully, he can regain his bearing just in time for the season, he was a former superstar during his NU Bullpups day and if given the right opportunity, he just might be a key player for DLSU.

BIG. BEN. MBALA. So, where do we start? We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. First, we thought it would just be the usual 1-year sit out; then rules were changed so it became a 2-year sit out. That’s fine. But what hurts was playing in a “Ligang Labas” in Gen San that forced a 3rd year playing for Team B instead of helping us win the UAAP championship. THAT. HURTS. A. LOT. But that is water under the bridge now. Mbala flat out dominated the FILOIL Pre-Season Cup, as he swept pretty much all the awards and led DLSU to the Summer League championship. A lot of people are expecting him to dominate the UAAP and lead us to a couple of rings, but rings are not won on paper, and Big Ben needs to prove that he can dominate when it really matters and lead us back to the top where we belong.

Subtraction: Joshua Torralba, Lorenzo Navarro, Daryl Pascual, John Gob (injury)

Joshua Torralba decided to go back to US. Torralba made the girls swooned last year, and yeah, he did hit a big 3 against Ateneo to give us the first round win against Ateneo last season. John Gob played well during the pre-season, and his injury was really unfortunate, so get well soon to John and see you next season. Lorenzo Navarro decided to go back to San Sebastian. Given our loaded back court, it is not really surprising that some of our bench guards would transfer and get some playing time some where else. Daryl Pascual decided to transfer to Letran. We wish them well in their future endeavors.

Returnees: Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres, Andrei Caracut, Prince Rivero, Abu Tratter, Andrew Langston, Jollo Go, Larry Muyang, Jason Perkins, Julian Sargent

“ They almost left but they returned”

Jason Perkins and Julian Sargent did not play during the FILOIL because they were not expected to come back. There were rumors that Perkins would turn pro, and because of the old rules, it was thought that Sargent has maxed out his eligibility. But things changed. Perkins had a change of heart and decided to go back to DLSU. While a sudden rule change made Julian eligible again. Sargent can play the 1/2/3 and can contribute both offensively and defensively. Hopefully, Perkins can regain his old form that made him a Mythical Five member during his rookie year.

Sophomores

Andrew Langston, Jollo Go and Larry Muyang had inconsistent minutes during last season and during the FILOIL league. Given the depth of the team, Go and Langston might ride the bench this season while Muyang can get some back up minutes on the front court but consistent playing time might be a challenge for him given the amount of talent of our other big guys. But anything is possible and if they work hard and enough and get their opportunities, they just might crack the regular rotation.

Andrei Caracut won the Rookie of the Year last year, one of the few bright spots of last season for the Archers, joining the club of other blue chipper Red Cubs turned Green Archers sharpshooters Ren Ren Ritualo and JV Casio. Despite the influx of new talent, Caracut is expected to get good playing time this upcoming season, and with Mbala demanding attention down low, he just might get more open shots this season.

Abu Tratter improved a lot during the pre-season, as he made it to the Mythical 5 of the FIl-OIL tournament. Some of the fans just expected him to be a good reliever at most, but nowadays, a lot of people are saying that he is now part of the “big 3” together with Big Ben and Jeron. Let’s hope that his improvement continues in the UAAP and he helps us win the title.

Young Veteran

Prince Rivero had his share of ups and downs during his UAAP career. He had inconsistent minutes during the FILOIL because of some minor injuries. A healthy Prince can be a force to reckon with for DLSU, but given our loaded (at least, on paper) line up, it remains to be seen if Prince gets heavy minutes under the new coaching staff.

5th- year players

Thomas Torres is now a 5- year veteran. Imagine that. How time flies. Seems like it was only yesterday when he was playing for LSGH against a loaded San Beda Red Cubs team during the NCAA Juniors finals many years ago. Or during his rookie year, when he made a key steal and lay up against FEU to seal a Final Four slot. Or the time he would spell veteran LA Revilla during our championship run during 2013. He had his shares of ups and downs during the last few years. His boy next-door good looks got him his shares of endorsements, and that was met by criticism by some members of our community. Some say he shoots too much and he is not a real point guard. This is his last year, and if he wants to prove that he is PBA material, Thomas needs to show everyone that he can be a solid starting point guard for a DLSU championship team, just like LA Revilla was back in 2013 that led to a still solid pro career.

Jeron Teng is now down to his last year. Think about that for a minute. This guy made headlines during high school, teaming up with his brother Jeric for a powerhouse Xavier team. He once scored 104 points in a single game. Remember back in 2011 when we failed to make it to the Final Four? We had no legit star on that team, no real King Archer where we can just pass the ball to him, let him take over, then lead us to the playoffs. Then Jeron Teng committed to DLSU. I remember how excited the community was. Finally, we have a legit superstar that can lead us back to the top where we belong. And boy, did he lead us back to the top.

I can still remember his first FILOIL game for DLSU. He came off the bench against San Beda. And the green and white crowd just roared when he came into the game. The guy behind me shouted. “Give us 100 points”! Then in his very first possession for La Salle, he slashed and scored against the San Beda import. I knew right then that we are in good hands.
He won the Rookie of the year then the following year; he led us to the championship, winning Finals MVP in the process against his own brother in a dramatic 3-game series that captivated the imagination of this drama obsessed country. That’s it right? I mean; that’s the start of the dynasty. He would lead us to several championships. Then he became a huge star off the court. The soap opera with a famous love team, the commercials; TV appearances with his brother that was eerily similar to the era of his father during his heyday, when basketball players were showbiz stars as well. But we all now what happened next…

Jeron still put superstar like numbers during his junior and senior seasons. But anything less than a championship is a disappointment! There’s the whole Naked Truth controversy during 2014, and the Mac Belo three that sent out our back-to-back dreams crushing down the ground. Then there was more disappointment during the 2015 season, where we failed to make it to the Final Four at all. Was it Jeron’s fault? Hell no! He was clearly the best player of the Archers the last 4 years, he did his best and we wouldn’t even be in a position to win without him. But when you are the King Green Archer, when you have a social media following numbering in 6-digits, when you have all the popularity, the commercials, the showbiz commitments, some would just put the blame on you when things don’t go the way they wanted too. Is it fair? No it is not, but life is not fair anyways.

Now, Jeron is down to his final year. And just like all the years of him playing for La Salle, anything less than a championship is a disappointment. Some are expecting Ben Mbala to carry us to the championship, but we need a huge year from Jeron if we want to regain our crown. Jeron played well off Mbala during the summer. He slashed when needed, passed when needed, and the much improved and now consistent mid range game is indeed a thing of beauty. Jeron and Ben will do a Kobe and Shaq, and THEY will lead us to the championship.

Closing statement:

We are the heavy favorites to win the championship. But anything can happen. We were heavily favored back in 2014 but we failed miserably. We have to work hard and be consistent to go back to the top. A 12-2 record is very possible for DLSU, with possible losses to an always-dangerous FEU squad, and a dramatic loss to an Adamson team that is filled with Lasallians on their coaching staff. The immediate goal is to get the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, then take it from there. ANIMO LA SALLE!

Standard
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.

Standard
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!”

Standard