This Sunday, the De La Salle Green Archers is aiming to strengthen its Final Four bid as the team plays against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
Sporting identical 7-5 records with the National University Bulldogs, the Archers must win this game to have the upper hand for the last playoff seed. Both the Archers and the Bulldogs cannot afford to lose in their last two games which could potentially deny one team the last Final Four slot.
If both teams get the same results in their two remaining games, NU and DLSU will have to battle it out for the last Final Four slot via a knockout game.
Just a basket short
In their last encounter, the Revilla-less Archers fought tooth and nail with the Tams, but came up short after Almond Vosotros missed a potential game-winning triple, leading to a 46-48 loss. The game was a low-scoring affair for both squads. No Archer scored double figures; Vosotros and four other Green shirts scored 8 points.
Meanwhile, Terrence Romeo led the Tams with a game-high of 10 points and 5 rebounds while Mike Tolomia added 7 points, including a left elbow jumper that sealed the victory.
That setback also marked the start of DLSU’s three-game losing streak that slid the team from first to fifth. DLSU lost to Ateneo, 61-71, and suffered a 82-84 double overtime shortcoming against the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
La Salle needs to win the team’s upcoming games against the Tamaraws and the Adamson Soaring Falcons to have a strong chance to reach the Final Four.
Coming into Sunday’s game, there is a good chance that Team Captain L.A. Revilla will play longer against FEU. The San Beda alumnus returned from a four-game absence by scoring two points in nine minutes during La Salle’s 62-72 loss against the Bulldogs last Sunday.
Jeron Teng’s crunch time performance is also crucial for the Archers’ playoff push. Despite having last-minute heroics against UP, NU, UST and Adamson, Teng was scoreless for the entire second half in his last game against the Tamaraws.
The renaissance of Vosotros and Arnold van Opstal in the second round would give La Salle a much-needed offense, which was anemic in the team’s first round encounter against FEU. The two have been averaging 14.8 and 8.6 points respectively which are key for La Salle to win against the Tams.
As a team, La Salle needs to take care of the ball more than before. The team gave 15 turnovers in its previous encounter, which helped the Tamaraws score six points. The team also needs to bank more on offensive rebounds. Despite grabbing more boards than the Tamaraws, the Green Archers only managed to convert six points in the team’s previous match against FEU.
The team also had difficulty in shooting from downtown against the Tamaraws in the first round. La Salle misfired all seven tries beyond the arc; one shot could have given DLSU the win.
On top of all things, the team has to make free throws this Sunday. The players failed to take advantage of their foul shots from the fifteen-foot mark, missing 10 of the 26 attempts in their last encounter against FEU.
Dodging the horns
With the Tamaraws hunt for one of two twice-to-beat slots, the back-to-back runner-up is determined to collect a tenth win this Sunday as a defeat against the Green Archers could place FEU in a three-way tie with NU and DLSU for third place.
Romeo and former MVP R.R. Garcia will lead the Morayta-based team’s pursuit. Defense players Jed Manguera and Mac Tallo will lead the team’s defense against FEU. The two combined for 16 points in DLSU’s previous match against FEU.
With Tolomia out for the rest of the season due to an MCL injury, the emergence of Roger Pogoy has been critical for Bert Flores’ wards. The sophomore from Cebu is consistently doing wonders for the Tamaraws on both ends of the court.
Meanwhile, La Salle’s big men, especially Norbert Torres and Van Opstal, would have control the tough Tamaraw frontline. Anthony Hargrove’s presence inside the paint is key for the Tamaraws.
Furthermore, guarding Russel Escoto will be a challenge. The versatile forward has an uncanny ability to score down low and make consistent outside shots. The Archers must also keep in mind Mark Bringas who plays hard-nosed defense.
The FEU big man is motivated to step up in this game as his brother and fellow Tamaraw Arvie Bringas received another two-game suspension due to an elbowing incident against UP’s Diony Hipolito in their September 12 clash.
Rokie Mac Belo will join Arvie Bringas and Mike Tolomia at the sidelines as he was ruled out of this match after he earned a one-game ban due to a similar incident against UP’s Alvin Padilla.
Look for the forwards of La Salle, Yutien Andrada and Jovet Mendoza, to nose out their Morayta counterparts.
Towards the finish line
As La Salle seeks to stay on course for a return to the Final Four, FEU is hoping to get back on the top two.
Having NU play earlier may add to the pressure this game would bring to the Green Archers, but expect the lads from Taft to give their all against the Tamaraws this Sunday.