Archers-Bulldogs Round 2

“We want to enter the Final Four,” reassured Head Coach Gee Abanilla.


With FEU’s nullified win against NU, DLSU is now just a game ahead of NU in the standings, heading into the Final Four. The Green Archers and the National University Bulldogs are set to battle it out tomorrow, September 9 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Decisions to consider

The UAAP Board overruled Commissioner Ato Badolato’s decision; the board ordered a replay of the contested game, resetting the standings of NU (6-4) and FEU (8-3).

“It’s just the decision of the UAAP board and for us, we always stress to the boys it’s how you look at things,” an optimistic Abanilla said.

“If you are aiming low, you might feel bad, sayang one win ahead of NU. But FEU standings also went down, which means if we take care of business and keep on winning, we might have a better shot of being number two.”

“Our objective is clear. It would not change. And we want to enter the Final Four,” Abanilla declared.

With a focused and determined Green-and-White squad, expect another highly contested and tough showdown between the two teams, and with both teams’ Final Four hopes hanging in the balance, expect the Archers and the Bulldogs, to put in a 100 percent effort.

Fresh from a morale-boosting 76-69 win against the UP Fighting Maroons, courtesy of the late quarter surge by Almond Vosotros, the Taft-based squad, currently has a 7-4 record, and is gearing up for an eighth win in 12 games.

In NU and DLSU’s double overtime encounter earlier in the first round, emerging Archer Jeron Teng dropped a career-high of 35 points, as the Archers stopped the Bulldog’s late-game rally, 87-86.


When stars collide
In their first round encounter last August 28 at the Big Dome, both Teng and Bobby Ray Parks matched each other as both tallied 35 points.

Averaging 16.64 points and 7.18 rebounds per contest, Teng is the Archers’ leading offensive player as he provides timely baskets with his strong drives; he also makes a respectable outside shot.

Aside from being a consistent scorer, the Xavier school standout also contributes leadership and motivation to his team.
When L.A. Revilla sustained another ankle injury, Teng took the lead and scored Revilla’s quota. He also pitched in crucial three-pointers in the second overtime period.
Ray-Ray Parks, on the other hand, has managed 21.64 points, 7.18 boards and 5.09 assists in 11 games, which includes the voided game against FEU. Standing at 6’4 inches and manning the off-guard position, Parks’ combination of size and skill poses a threat to many teams, including the Archers.


In the last game between NU and the Archers, Parks successfully shot over DLSU’s defensive line of Jed Manguera and Joshua Webb.


Massive front liners
Both teams have a supply of agile big men. DLSU has Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, Andrada and Mendoza, while NU has Emmanuel Mbe, Henri Betayene and Jeth Rosario.

Since the Archers’ 73-52 win against the UE Red Warriors, Van Opstal’s mix of height, agility and athleticism have strengthened the Green Archers.
Meanwhile NU has also gained another gun in Rosario. After taking over the starting role against the Archers, the 6’7 player notched a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. He took charge of the Bulldog’s comeback in the 4th quarter while Parks and Mbe were benched due to foul trouble.

“NU poses a lot of matchup problems against any team. They have tall players in the 1 [point guard], 2 [shooting guard], 3 [small forward] positions and an imposing big man in the 5 [center] position in Mbe,” explained DLSU Head Coach Gee Abanilla.


Voso-tres factor

After playing a small role in the first round, sharpshooting point guard Almond Vosotros stepped up. During the first six games of the first round, Vosotros averaged 2.3 points, and a rebound per game, rendering him ineffective inside the court.

Over the last five games, the Albay-native has become a major contributor in La Salle’s recent wins, posting an impressive 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per contest.

Almond is also La Salle’s best gun from the outside with a 27.7 percent shooting. The former San Sebastian Staglet is also a versatile guard who could drive to the lane, set up or create his own shots.


The Captain’s bid
Sidelined for the last three games, Coach Gee Abanilla’s team hopes that Team Captain L.A. Revilla would be able to play in the crucial match.

The San Beda alumnus has provided leadership in the team, which has stabilized the flow of the game, especially in critical situations. If he plays against NU, expected the 5’7 floor general to play in limited minutes to avoid additional injuries since he will be needed in the Final Four matches.


Playoff chances
Given the tight win-loss records of the team, one loss could end one team’s bid for the basketball crown.
If La Salle wins, the team will solidify its grip at 4th place with an 8-4 record, sending the Bulldogs down at 5th with a 6-5 slate. But if the win goes to National U for a 7-4 record, the Archers would have to hope that the upper tier teams would deal losses.
After this match against the Bulldogs, the Archers will take on the FEU Tamaraws and the AdU Soaring Falcons to end the last games in the eliminations.

With so much on the line and with the eliminations nearing the end, which team will make it?

Brace yourselves for UAAP action tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Joaqui Flores

By Joaqui Flores

Charles Usi

By Charles Usi

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