Coming off respective season opening victories versus their counterparts from FEU, the DLSU Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams aim to continue their strong starts. The Lady Archers will play at 10 am, while the Green Archers take the court later at 4 pm, with both teams scheduled to play on Saturday, September 10, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Green Archers take on the Fighting Maroons
The Green Archers look to further build on their form against the UP Fighting Maroons in the first round of the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament. Bannered by team captain Jeron Teng and rookie big man Ben Mbala, the Green Archers will look to assert themselves against an intact Fighting Maroons team keen on bouncing back after losing their first game against the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Despite putting up 13 points, 23 rebounds, and four blocks in his debut against the defending champion FEU Tamaraws, Mbala downplayed his performance after the game. He stressed the need for adjustments and reading the defense to make better decisions, nitpicking his six turnovers and eight missed field goal attempts as ways to improve his game as the season progresses.
Conversely, Head Coach Aldin Ayo was more understanding of the team’s performance, relieved that his players held off an FEU comeback. The Tamaraws tied the game late in the final period, despite being down by as many as 16 points in the third quarter. Teng proved to be the anchor for the Green Archers in the final minutes, converting crucial free throws to close out the game, finishing with 28 points.
Meanwhile, UP will need to improve on its defense against an aggressive DLSU team, after allowing Adamson to score 104 points in its first assignment of the season. The Soaring Falcons shot a staggering 68 percent from the three-point line, leading the Fighting Maroons by as many as 21 points, en route to a 104-85 win.
UP will rely on veterans Paul Desiderio and Jett Manuel to carry the scoring load, as DLSU hopes to bring the intensity on the defensive end.
Lady Archers square off against UP Lady Maroons
On paper, the Lady Archers should have the advantage against a UP team they were able to dominate in both of their meetings in Season 78, including a 25-point victory in their second round encounter. In both meetings last year, La Salle used its suffocating defense and balanced offensive attack to dictate the game. Also, DLSU started slow in both games, even trailing at certain points, but used strong second halves to bring home the victory.
While it looks like DLSU has the edge going into this game, this UP team is not one to be taken lightly. The team is young and is looking to prove that they belong even with the losses of their key players. This was seen as the Lady Maroons, who were down by 9 in the second half against the Lady Falcons, responded with an 11-0 run that even got them the lead at one point.
As it is usual with most young teams, though, inexperience may have caused some late game jitters that did not allow the team to execute the way they wanted to. With their first game over, though, the Lady Archers should be ready for a much more prepared UP team.
For the Taft-based squad to win, it will have to execute the way it did in the second half against the Lady Tamaraws. Stifling and relentless defense will be the key in this game. Also, the steadiness of the scoring of the DLSU backcourt, namely Claro, Castillo, and last game’s top scorer, Chay Vergara, will be important for the Lady Archers to secure this win.
As Claro said before the season, they will play “hard in every practice and game,” to reach their ultimate goal of a championship. A win against the Lady Maroons would be another step in the right direction.