The biggest rivalry in the UAAP will again be front and center as both the DLSU Green Archers and Lady Archers will face off against their ADMU counterparts on Sunday, October 2. The two teams donning the Green-and-White will look to finish their stellar first rounds with a victory against the Blue Eagles and Lady Eagles, respectively. Both games will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena with the Lady Archers’ game tipping off at 10 am, and the Green Archers playing at 4 pm.
Lady Archers out for vengeance
With five wins and only one loss, which was dealt by the still undefeated NU Lady Bulldogs, La Salle currently places second in the league. After closely escaping their previous match-up versus the UE Lady Warriors, the Lady Archers will face long-time rivals ADMU in the hopes of clinching their fourth consecutive win. In the previous season, the Lady Eagles halted the Lady Archers’ post-season run, upsetting the latter in two games.
DLSU has been able to recover from last year’s heartbreaker and dominate most of the league so far. Things are different, however, for the Lady Eagles as they have yet to regain their footing and are currently in the bottom half of the standings, with four losses and only two wins.
A point of emphasis for DLSU will be utilizing its offensive arsenal. Khate Castillo is coming off a 21-point performance in their last outing, and has displayed a good showing so far in the season. Camille Claro, the team’s lead playmaker, is also coming off a good game with 17 points and six assists. In addition, the team’s bench production has been dominant this season. With the likes of shooter Chay Vergara and power forward Bennette Revillosa coming off the bench, the offense shows no sign of slowing down.
In the defensive end, La Salle has been inconsistent in terms of its rotation. However, center Snow Penaranda has anchored the team’s defense and has been a model of consistency for the Lady Archers as she has led the team in multiple facets of the game, namely points, rebounds, and assists.
Fatigue will play a part for the Lady Archers, who have been playing consecutive games. However, the coaching staff has reiterated that rest and recovery are the team’s priority in between games.
On paper, the Lady Archers have the upper hand and may take over the match from the get-go. As Season 78 has shown, though, upsets are inevitable and the Lady Eagles are not to be taken for granted.
Green Archers quest for perfection
Currently second in the UAAP standings, the Blue Eagles will look to spoil the perfect 6-0 win-loss record of their rivals from Taft. The two teams split last year’s two meetings, but the upcoming matchup will feature multiple players getting their first taste of the storied rivalry.
Through six games, Ateneo has relied on a balanced and unpredictable offensive attack, as it does not have one player in the UAAP’s top scorers list so far this season. Thirdy Ravena has slowly taken a starring role, shown by his most recent 22-point performance against the UP Fighting Maroons. As a player who uses his ability to penetrate the paint as his main weapon, however, he is in for a big challenge as DLSU boasts Ben Mbala, who leads the league with 2.3 blocks per game, as well as Abu Tratter and Justine Baltazar to protect the rim.
Conversely, DLSU leans heavily on Mbala and Jeron Teng to carry its scoring load. However, Teng will not suit up for La Salle for the first time in his UAAP career due to a heel injury. It will also be interesting to see whether Prince Rivero and Andrei Caracut are given more playing time. Both have struggled for minutes so far this season but were vital in their role as catalysts in La Salle’s slim victory against UE.
In-game decisions, however, will have to be made by Louie Gonzales and the rest of the DLSU coaching staff. Aldin Ayo is set to be suspended for the game because of the two technical fouls he received against the Red Warriors. According to UAAP rules, an automatic one game suspension is given to anyone who is ejected from a game.
Still uncertain, on the other hand, is the status of ADMU starting point guard Aaron Black, who has missed the last two weeks with a foot injury. His return will be a welcome sight for the Blue Eagles, as he was leading the team in points and assists at the time of his injury.
The game may prove to be fascinating to watch as both teams have very different playing styles. It will be the UAAP’s fastest paced team in DLSU, against the slowest, ADMU. While the Green Archers’ defense has allowed them to blow many games open, scoring a league best 26.8 points off turnovers, ADMU is a team that leads the league in taking care off the ball, only turning the ball over 16 times a game. The Green Archers, though, have an extensive advantage on the boards, as they average almost ten more rebounds a game than their undersized rivals. Chibueze Ikeh and Mike Nieto, who both average 6.7 rebounds a game, will have to step-up against a stout DLSU frontline for the Blue Eagles to succeed in their upset bid.