Needing just one more win to secure at least a playoff for the last Final Four spot, the DLSU Green Archers (8-5) must win their last eliminations game against the Adamson Soaring Falcons (3-10) in the two teams’ second round match scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 20, 4 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The team’s Final Four bid will depend on the results of the NU-FEU game on Sunday. If the Taft-based squad wins and NU loses against FEU, La Salle will be sent straight to the Final Four, but if NU manages to defeat FEU, DLSU would have to duel against NU for the Final Four spot.
DLSU is now gearing up for a chance that the team missed last season. During last Sunday’s game against Far Eastern University, the Archers showed much improvement. The team showed teamwork and defense enough to overcome the backcourt power of the Tamaraws, featuring former UAAP MVP RR Garcia and former Rookie of the Year Terrence Romeo.
The Archers rallied to a 17-2 scoring run, covering the last five minutes of the second and the first five minutes of the second half. In the fourth, the team made the necessary plays to hold to the, 63-56, win.
Too close for comfort
During the first round matchup of the Archers and the Falcons, the Archers snapped a three game losing skid and won over the Falcons for the first time in two seasons, 56-52. It took La Salle six deadlocks and 11 lead changes to bring home the much-needed win. The quartet of Norbert Torres, Yutien Andrada, Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres refused to lose despite Team Captain LA Revilla’s opening quarter injury.
That game was the Falcons’ first game without main man Alex Nuyles who re-injured his shoulder and was deemed out for the season.
Despite holding Adamson to 23 percent shooting, the game was close due to the Archers’ free throw shooting. The team shot a dismal 33 percent compared to the Falcons’ 66 percent and it almost caused another loss.
Jeron Teng was his usual self, racking up 15 points and 10 rebounds while Norbert Torres also had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Rookie guard Mac Tallo also shined with seven first half points to keep the Archers close early on.
DLSU will once again bank on the services of leading Rookie of the Year candidate Jeron Teng who has averaged 16.38 points and 7.15 boards per game, both of which are in the league’s top ten. The Xavier alumnus is the Archers’ definite go-to guy, which the team did not have in the previous seasons.
Stopping Teng will not stop the Archers, as proven in the squad’s most recent win against the Tamaraws. FEU defenders hounded Teng throughout the game, which in effect limited the Archers’ offense.
Veteran Almond Vosotros had to step up to score 21 points to keep the Archers’ hopes alive. The third year guard has averaged a career-best of 10.38 points per game this season and is fourth in the UAAP in three pointers made.
Arnold van Opstal also had to cover for the offensive struggles of starting center Norbert Torres. The lanky center has come to life in the last 6 games, putting up norms of 7.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. Van Opstal, a former Junior Archer, has given Coach Gee Abanilla another formidable option for the post.
With Teng, Vosotros, and Van Opstal providing consistency on the court, the squad is now an all-around team with standouts in the guard, forward and center positions.
No room for complacency
Despite the Falcons’ 3-10 record, the team has been competitive this season, only falling down the stretch in games to more experienced opponents. Coach Leo Austria’s squad will look to end its dismal campaign on a high note and in the process, the team just might extinguish the hopes of DLSU.
Eric Camson leads Adamson with 15.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He receives support from the outside from Jericho Cruz who has been playing consistently this season. With a season high of 33 points against University of Sto. Tomas, he has taken over the role of Nuyles, putting up 13.1 points per game.
“Tingin ko maganda rin ang preparation nila, si Coach Leo magaling magprepare,
and as you’ve said parang gusto nila ang spoiler role,” warned Abanilla.
Last year’s third place finishers will not go down without a fight. The Falcons just might pull off an upset. With an experienced cast led by two dynamic forwards, the Falcons will definitely give the Archers another exciting duel.
Win or go home
This game will determine the Green-and-White’s quest for the Final Four.
“Our desire is different, the team’s desire is different, and it will be tested on Thursday. We want this win badly, and we will do everything we can to prepare for this game, and win game on Thursday.” said Abanilla after the Archers’ win over the Tamaraws last Sunday.