The current chapter of one of the oldest rivalries in Philippine sports history is set to continue at the historic Smart-Araneta Coliseum on November 8, Sunday, at 4 pm, with the DLSU Green Archers looking to end their two-game losing skid when they take on archrivals ADMU Blue Eagles.
La Salle currently occupies the fourth spot in the standings with a 5-6 win-loss record, while Ateneo is in third place with an 8-4 win-loss record.
In their last four games, the Green Archers only achieved one victory against the UE Red Warriors and dropped their three other assignments to the UST Growling Tigers, NU Bulldogs, and the Adamson Soaring Falcons. The Blue Eagles, on the other hand, will be looking to push their winning streak to five games after cruising past the UP Fighting Maroons, NU Bulldogs, UST Growling Tigers, and AdU Soaring Falcons.
October 4 encounter
Last October 4, the two rivals clashed in the last weekend of the first round of the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball tournament. The thousands in attendance witnessed a huge come-from-behind victory from DLSU, 80-76, after being down by as many as 15 points.
The early moments of the game saw the Blue Eagles converting from practically everywhere. Current UAAP MVP Kiefer Ravena and key players like Von Pessumal and Jerie Pingoy were shooting lights out from the perimeter. DLSU struggled defensively, failing to get down on transition and boxing out for the rebound. When it was La Salle’s turn to make baskets, ADMU made sure to have the Green Archers work for each point.
With the DLSU crowd flat on their seats at the start of the second half, Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler had already given out his instructions for his players against the opposing Ateneo defense. Thomas Torres immediately exploded and led his team to within single-digits. In addition, Jason Perkins and Joshua Torralba found their touch from beyond the three-point line to eventually give DLSU the lead.
It wasn’t easy for the Green Archers as the Ateneo backcourt continued to be a problem for La Salle. Ravena scored a game-high record of 19 points, while Pingoy orchestrated the Blue Eagle offense. Also, Chibueze Ikeh displayed complete effectiveness as he made all of his shot attempts. Towards the end of regulation, the Archers had the ball down by two points. After some miscommunication offensively, the ball found its way into the hands of Torralba, who was in the left corner. The rookie out of Texas made the go-ahead three-pointer and sent the DLSU crowd into a frenzy.
Expect team captains Jeron Teng and Ravena to lead the offensive charge for both La Salle and Ateneo, respectively. The two currently lead the league in points per game with Teng averaging 18.6 ppg while Ravena is not far behind at second, with 18.5 ppg. The Green Archers will also be looking for support on the offensive end through the swift post play of sophomore forward Prince Rivero and the outside shooting of Andrei Caracut and Torralba. In contrast, the Blue Eagles will be looking to rely on their size advantage with Ikeh aided by the perimeter game of forwards Pessumal and Arvin Tolentino.
On the defensive end, the Green Archers and Blue Eagles will be looking to neutralize Ravena and Teng, respectively. La Salle will rely on its speed and agility to neutralize the team from Katipunan, while Ateneo, in contrast, will look to make its presence felt on the defensive end through its height advantage.
DLSU will try to get back on their feet after decisively losing its last game to NU, 81-73. On the other hand, ADMU has no plans on looking back as they are coming off a win over UP, 74-65, last Wednesday in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Both teams will not only be battling for school pride, but also for a crucial win that will give them a better standing with the Final Four right around the corner. “We pretty much have to win!” Torralba said. “It’s a crucial game for the race to Final Four and it’s a rivalry so there’s so much importance and significance to this game.”