Green Archers battle Bulldogs; Teng and Parks renew rivalry


Towards the end of the first round last season, the Green Archers found themselves in the same situation that they are in today. With a 3-3 record, they were raring for a victory to end the opening round on a positive note, but they were in for a battle against the NU Bulldogs and reigning MVP Bobby Ray Parks.

Hypothetically, the Green Archers had just a slim chance to win, but their prized rookie Jeron Teng, playing in just his seventh game in the UAAP, came up big with 35 points on 66 percent field goal shooting along with six rebounds. His counterpart, Parks, finished with 35 points as well and he added seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in one of the most exciting one-on-one duels in recent UAAP history. Teng would get the better of Parks as he led the Green-and-White to a hard earned 87-86 win in double overtime and their fourth win of the season.

A season later and once again at the end of the first round, both teams are set to face off in what promises to be another exhilarating battle between two of the most talented players in the league today and their equally gifted teammates. An added twist to the storyline is the tie at 3-3 between the two teams in the standings and a win will be even more important for both teams as they try to secure a spot in the top four in one of the most competitive UAAP seasons in recent history. Both teams will face each other on Sunday, July 27, at 4PM in the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

This season, Teng leads the Green Archers in scoring once again with a 15.5 per game clip while he also averages 7.5 rebounds and four assists. Teng has not been a one-man show this season by any means though and it can be argued that Almond Vosotros, Jason Perkins and Arnold van Opstal among others have been just as important during La Salle’s run so far. Vosotros averages 15.3 points, five rebounds and almost three three-pointers per game while Perkins, only in his first season, averages 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. The biggest revelation of the season so far has been van Opstal who has averaged 10.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season after barely scoring five a contest last season.

Meanwhile for NU, Parks continues to be the main man in his third season. He leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 18.7 points per game and he also grabs 8.7 rebounds and dishes out 4.7 assists per match. His partner-in-crime, Emmanuel Mbe, continues to provide a steady inside presence for the team with a clip of 18 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, but the two have yet to receive significant support from the rest of the team. After the duo, the third leading scorer of the team is Joeff Javillionar, but he only has a norm of 7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The lack of depth has been fatal thus far for the Bulldogs, who were expected to perform much better than their current record. DLSU head coach Juno Sauler adds, “I think they [NU] should be doing better than their standing.”

As both teams go head-to-head once again, expect the battle between Green Archers and the Bulldogs to go down the wire as they both struggle to catch their fourth win of the season. In a year where the league is as competitive as ever, every win is of utmost importance and since both teams have championship aspirations this season, sliding under the .500 winning mark at the end of the first round will be nothing short of a disaster. Since the final four was instituted in 1993, the Green Archers have yet to finish the first round with a losing record in the seasons that they have participated in, including the two sixth place finishes in 2009 and 2011 which saw the team achieve 4-3 records before faltering in the second round.

One of the most exciting facets of the match will be the battle between Teng and Parks, two of the most talented players in the league today, and it will definitely be worth one’s money to witness these two youngsters go up against each other once more. “NU is a strong team talaga so we really have to work on it, study them and hopefully we can get away with a win on Sunday,” says Teng.

Ronaldo Manzano

By Ronaldo Manzano

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