No L.A. Revilla. No Luigi dela Paz. No Arnold Van Opstal. No problem.
Even without these key veterans inside the court, the young bowmen of the Green Archers stepped up to an 80-73 Fil Oil Flying V Pre-season debut win over the NCAA Letran Knights last April 27 at The Arena in San Juan.
“Blessing din in disguise dahil L.A. (Revilla) was not here, [so] the rookies were forced to play the point guard position,” said Head Coach Gee Abanilla.
Rookies Mac Tallo and Thomas Torres shared the playmaker post as dela Paz was sent to the sidelines after a dislocated shoulder late in the game.
Revilla, on the other hand, is nursing a foot injury that he sustained from the previous game against San Beda, while Van Opstal was not able to suit up for the pre season due to hamstring injuries.
Cebu pride Tallo poured in 10 baskets, dishing out five assists to go with two rebounds and a steal, while LSGH stand out Torres tallied three points, two assists and a rebound while complementing the vacant slot.
Former Golden Stallion Jeron Teng took over the scoring chores, chalking up a team-high 15 points together with four boards and a block.
“I’m happy that somehow the transition between high school and college [of the rookies] is parang medyo bumibilis. I’m hoping na magtuloy-tuloy ‘yung progress nila,” Coach Abanilla expressed.
The Taft-based cagers displayed a well-executed team effort and defensive stops to recover from the Red Lions setback earlier in the tournament.
“It was a good win. This is our first win in Fil-Oil. Maganda ‘yun. Maraming nag-step up. We caught it in defense, nanalo kami dahil sa defense,” Teng shared.
Big men Yutien Andrada, Norbert Torres, and Jovet Mendoza bossed the low posts for the Archers as they combined for 35 points, 24 rebounds, and three blocks.
The Taft-based dribblers also outrebounded their Intramuros counterparts 41-33.
To top it all, the Green-and-White team played superb defense, limiting the Knights to a paltry 41% (29/70) shooting.
They also showed discipline by sending the Letran cagers to the free-throw line a mere seven times.
“The boys played hard, especially on the defensive end. We have a tough opponent in Letran and they were really physical. Good thing about it is that the boys mixed it up. Medyo nasasanay na sila sa banggaan,” noted Abanilla.
With his team’s pre-season injuries left and right, Coach Abanilla wishes the best for the Archers. “Hopefully in a few months, we could have our core group really healthy… we’re just praying to God that He’ll grant us good health.”
Quarter scores: 19-17, 41-41, 63-60, 80-73
Schedules of remaining games for the Archers here: http://thelasallian.com/?p=2190