SportsNever shall we fail: The improbable rise of the Green Archers
Never shall we fail: The improbable rise of the Green Archers
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October 15, 2013
Tags:
October 15, 2013

The road to the championship may have been a tough one for the DLSU Green Archers, yet their entire season has been a testament to the growth of the squad, with their title-clinching victory proving that it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.

Juno Sauler was named the team’s new head coach with less than a month left before the UAAP season and many believed that he would be limited by the time constraint. They began their season with an overtime loss to the UST Growling Tigers and in the end, it was their opening day rival that they had to beat to bring the UAAP trophy back to Taft Avenue. Each game leading up to the championship provided a different challenge for the Green Archers, all of which prepared them for their tough best-of-three series against the Growling Tigers.

Ending the first round with a poor 3-4 win-loss slate, they managed to overcome all the struggles and doubters to emerge victorious as the dust cleared, highlighted by winning 11 of their last 12 games of the season. The LaSallian presents a recap of the Green Archers’ up-and-down journey back to the top of the league.

(0 wins-1 loss) June 29 vs UST

The Green Archers came up short in their first game of the season, losing to the Growling Tigers in overtime, 63-58. It was a close matchup throughout regulation but UST took the lead in overtime, scoring the first five points to eventually pull away.

Highly-anticipated rookie Jason Perkins was worth the hype as he led the team with 13 points and nine rebounds, including a long jumper to tie the game at 51 which forced overtime. UST’s Jeric Teng gave the Green Archers nightmares as he ended up with 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

(1 win-1 loss) July 3 vs UP

La Salle immediately bounced back and nailed their first win of the season, 96-84, against the UP Fighting Maroons.

The Green Archers made a significant improvement in their free throw shooting, making 13 out of 16 from the line. All starters scored in double figures for the game, with Perkins and Jeron Teng leading the pack with 20 points apiece.

(2 wins-1 loss) July 7 vs ADMU

In their first rivalry game for the season against the ADMU Blue Eagles, it seemed as if the Green Archers were back in familiar territory. The Blue Eagles raced to a 40-28 lead at halftime, but they proved that things would be different this season. DLSU used a 31 point third quarter to beat the five-time defending champions, 82-73, to grab their first win against Ateneo since July 24, 2010.

Almond Vosotros led the Green Archers with 19 points and nine rebounds, but it was the emergence of Arnold van Opstal, who was a revelation with 18 points and eight rebounds, that proved to be the difference in the game.

(2 wins-2 losses) July 13 vs FEU

With one minute and 59 seconds left, van Opstal’s putback gave the Green Archers a 12-point lead against the undefeated FEU Tamaraws. However, momentum changed hands as the Tamaraws quickly fought back and forced overtime with a nearly impossible rally. The Taft-based squad never recovered as FEU came up big in the extra period and won, 83-79.

The loss spoiled the spectacular double-double performances of Teng, who had 25 points and 15 rebounds and van Opstal, who came up with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Green Archers could not find an answer for Terrence Romeo, who went on a tear late in the game and finished with 25 points.

(2 wins-3 losses) July 20 vs UE

The Green Archers’ next opponents were the preseason favorite UE Red Warriors. DLSU started strong, dominating almost the entire game with Vosotros finishing with 26 points.

However, another late-game collapse by the Green Archers, who led by 10 with less than five minutes left to play, handed UE an 85-83 victory. Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie were the main men for UE, as the former had 21 points and seven rebounds while the latter had 19 points and 16 rebounds.

(3 wins-3 losses) July 24 vs AdU

La Salle nearly had another endgame collapse, this time against the AdU Falcons, as they almost blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. DLSU’s surprisingly steady free throw shooting saved them as they converted 81.8 percent from the foul line to end with a narrow scoreline of 70-67.

Perkins led the team with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Norbert Torres scored 13 points and collected five rebounds.

(3 wins-4 losses) July 28 vs NU

DLSU’s rally in the third quarter that brought them within a point after trailing by double digits was not enough to steal a win as the NU Bulldogs handed the Green Archers a 63-56 loss. La Salle finished the first round with a subpar 3-4 win-loss record and many began to put the blame on Sauler.

The team was led by van Opstal and Vosotros in the disappointing loss as they had 14 and 13 points respectively. It wasn’t enough though as two-time MVP Bobby Ray Parks came up with 20 points and 14 rebounds for his squad.

(4 wins-4 losses) August 14 vs AdU

Reeling from a tough loss but aided by a two-week break, the Green Archers began the second round on a high note as they beat Adamson in overtime, 70-69. Down by seven points in the fourth quarter, the Soaring Falcons crawled back to force overtime, giving La Salle flashbacks of the meltdowns that haunted them in the first round. It was Vosotros who silenced the critics as his putback jumper with a few seconds remaining in overtime gave DLSU a much-needed victory.

Vosotros led the way for the Green Archers with 19 points and nine rebounds as DLSU overcame 19 points and 23 rebounds from Adamson’s Rodney Brondial.

(5 wins-4 losses) August 18 vs FEU

Riding on three pointers from Vosotros, Perkins, and Matt Salem, the Green Archers used a scorching second quarter to distance themselves from FEU en route to a 75-66 win. The Morayta-based squad threatened to claw back later in the game, but DLSU kept them at bay, controlling the match by out-rebounding the Tamaraws handily, 59-36.

Perkins led the Green Archers with 18 points, 13 rebounds and a block. Teng and Vosotros finished with 16 and 13 points respectively, while Mark Belo and Roger Pogoy were the unlikely leaders for FEU with 16 points apiece.

(6 wins-4 losses) August 24 vs UP

After struggling through the first two quarters, the Green Archers were able to get back on track in the second half to come away with an 85-63 victory over the Fighting Maroons.

The Green Archers took advantage of their five-point lead at the end of the third quarter together with steady free-throw shooting of 65 percent and 55 rebounds to blow the game wide open and come up with the 22 point win–their biggest of the season. Perkins played a stellar game, amassing a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds.

 

(7 wins-4 losses) September 1 vs ADMU

Teng nailed the game-winning basket off an isolation play from the top of the key to give DLSU a 66-64 win that completed a season sweep of the Blue Eagles. The victory proved that their first-round win was no fluke and showed that Ateneo’s’ dominance over the Green Archers in the past few years had finally ended.

Teng, who was hounded with foul-trouble, struggled with his shot and scored just eight points. Vosotros led the team as he contributed 19 points and six rebounds while Jason Perkins added 13 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks.

(8 wins-4 losses) September 4 vs UE

Coming off a gutsy win against archrival Ateneo, the Green Archers’ next opponent was UE. The Red Warriors led for most of the game with their lead going up to as much as 10, but the Green Archers slowly chipped at the lead, with Perkins’ tough jumper giving them a slim lead. Roi Sumang’s split from the free throw line forced overtime but a 10-3 run spelled the difference for DLSU as they came up with a 75-65 to avenge their painful first round loss.

Jason Perkins was the key player in this game as he led the Green Archers with 22 points, nine rebounds, and the clutch jumper that shifted the momentum in DLSU’s favor.

(9 wins-4 losses) September 8 vs NU

DLSU was able to avenge their first round loss to NU as they relied on a late rally to seal the game. After trailing by six points at the end of the first half, the Green Archers roared back with a furious third and fourth quarter output which toppled the then-top seeded Bulldogs. Parks’ chance to win the game for NU was denied as he was forced into missing the potential game-winning three pointer.

Teng led La Salle with 21 points and seven rebounds, alongside Perkins who chipped in another double-double performance of 18 points and 10 boards.

(10 wins-4 losses) September 14 vs UST

The Green Archers ended the second round with a sweep, defeating the Growling Tigers in their last game of the elimination round, 69-64. La Salle avenged its opening-day loss to the Espana-based squad, the only remaining team that DLSU had not beaten for the season prior to the game. .

Teng led the Green Archers in scoring with 19 points plus he grabbed 11 rebounds then both N. Torres and Vosotros scored in double figures with 14 and 11 points respectively. Karim Abdul led the charge for UST with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

 

(Clinched second place and a twice-to-beat edge) September 21 vs FEU (Tie-breaker)

Just like in the previous season, the Green Archers and the Tamaraws clashed once again in a tiebreaker. This time around though, it was not just for a spot in the Final Four like last year, but for a twice-to-beat edge as well. FEU outhustled and outscored La Salle in the fourth period with a 20-14 run, but the late surge by the Tamaraws was not enough as DLSU finished with a 74-69 win.

Exploding for a season-high 20 points, capped by six three-pointers, veteran point guard LA Revilla came up big for the Green Archers. Perkins and Teng also scored 14 and 13 points respectively.

(Advance to the finals) September 25 vs FEU (Final Four)

Playing from behind for most of the game, the Green Archers relied on Teng, N. Torres, and LA Revilla who scored 15 points apiece, to give DLSU a 71-68 victory over the Tamaraws which bagged them a seat in the finals.

The two teams traded baskets in the tight game which included seven deadlocks and as many lead changes to Teng, and Perkins took control in the dying minutes of the game as each split free throws to distance themselves from the Tamaraws, who were led by Carl Cruz and Terrence Romeo who had 16 and 14 points respectively.

(UST leads the series, 1-0) October 2 vs UST (Finals Game 1)

UST snapped DLSU’s nine game winning streak, but more importantly they took the first game of the best-of-three finals with a score of 73-72. The Green Archers fell into a huge 17-point hole early in the first quarter but fought back to take a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. DLSU had two chances to win the game, but shots from Vosotros, who led DLSU with 20 points and two rebounds, and Revilla could not find the bottom of the net as time expired. Kevin Ferrer led UST with 20 points and five three pointers.

(Series tied at 1 win apiece) October 5 vs UST (Finals Game 2)

With their backs against the wall, the Green Archers relied on their inside game to beat UST, 77-70, and force a rubber match in the best-of-three finals series. The Green Archers never relinquished their lead after the first quarter, out-hustling the Growling Tigers on the boards and denying them their first title since 2006. N. Torres starred with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Teng was stellar with 19 points

(DLSU wins series, 2-1) October 12 vs UST (Finals Game 3)

Down by as much as 15 points, the Green Archers buckled down and relied on the gutsy play of the Finals MVP Teng and the clutch baskets of Vosotros to slip past UST for a 71-69 win in overtime that sealed the UAAP championship for DLSU.

Teng was stellar as he came up with 25 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, while Perkins came up with 13 points and 18 rebounds in the win.

A legacy of greatness

Despite the harsh criticism that came with their poor start, the Green Archers managed to rally themselves and win the UAAP Season 76 championship. Late game meltdowns were succeeded by gutsy finishes that helped DLSU grab their first championship since 2007. La Salle was down and out, yet this team rallied and put together one season for the books.