The Green Archers entered this season as heavy title favorites. 4 games into the season they still hold that distinction, with a firm grip on it.
They have been tested early in their first four games, and in all games they have passed (even though there is still a lot to work with in their game). They have been able to hold on to big leads, blow out opponents and comeback from large deficits, something that they failed to do most of the time last season. They have been able to win their games with a combination of the talent, size, and quickness they have along with their tenacity on both ends of the floor.
Let’s look at the 4 games of the DLSU Green Archers and how they’ve fared.
DLSU 83 FEU 78
In their first game of the season, the DLSU Green Archers faced off against the defending champions. The FEU Tamaraws, despite losing a lot of their key players from last season, gave La Salle all that they can handle, coming back from a double digit deficit before the Green Archers were able to hold them off. In this game, DLSU looked like they were trying to do too much, and it showed especially with their 27 turnovers. FEU also did a good job containing Ben Mbala limiting him to just 13 points on 5/13 shooting. The Tamaraws didn’t do a good job protecting the ball, turning the ball over 17 times. The Green Archers were able to make FEU pay for their mistakes scoring 24 points off FEU’s turnovers. Jeron Teng in this game still proved to be the King Archer as he led the way with 28 points, and Ben Mbala still had a strong UAAP debut despite his struggles on the field, finishing with 13 points and 23 rebounds.
DLSU 89 UP 71
After a tough battle with FEU, the Green Archers faced the UP Fighting Maroons. Ben Mbala wasted no time in imposing his strength against UP, scoring 12 1st quarter points. UP was hanging tough in the first half, but the Green Archers blew them away in the 4th quarter, leading by as much as 28 points. The Green Archers “Mayhem” hit the Fighting Maroons with 34 turnovers, which led to 34 points off turnovers. Though the Green Archers were able to blow out UP, they were still a work in progress, especially with taking care of the ball (26 turnovers). Ben Mbala led the way for the Green Archers with a monster 30 points to go along with 14 rebounds, highlighted by 3 monster dunks.
DLSU 100 UST 62
In this game, the Green Archers clearly showed why they were the heavy title favorites this season. While these two teams has had their share of great games in the past, this game was not like one of those game as the Green Archers simply outclassed UST from start to end. “MAYHEM” proved to be too much to handle for the Growling Tigers as they commited a whopping 40 turnovers, which led to 34 points off turnovers. This also led to La Salle attempting 94 field goal attempts as compared to UST’s 56. While its still early in the season, three games into the season, the Green Archers showed why they are the heavy title favorites.
DLSU 75 NU 66
The Archers probably faced their biggest test when they played the NU Bulldogs. Both teams have contradicting styles of play. NU plays a slow down, grind-it-out game while the Green Archers like to play a fast and pesky game. Whoever dictated the pace of the game would have a clear advantage in the game. The Bulldogs looked like they were running the game that they wanted to play, forcing DLSU to play slow while not giving the Green Archers opportunities off turnovers. They played that way all through the first half and halfway through the 3rd. After NU led by as many as 9, the Green Archers went on a rampage in the end of the 3rd quarter going to the 4th and they never looked back. Forcing turnovers was once again key for La Salle, as they forced NU to 29 turnovers, leading to 33 points off it. They also were able to outscore the Bulldogs 23-12 in the 4th quarter. Jeron Teng had a bounce back game scoring 8 4th quarter points and a game-high 23 points, after coming off a disappointing performance in their last outing.
In the 4 games DLSU has played, they have terrorized their opponents with Mayhem. They have forced their opponents to 30 turnovers and have scored 32 points per game off their turnovers.
Ben Mbala and Jeron Teng have been showing that they are two of the best players in the league with Mbala averaging 19 points 16 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while Jeron Teng has been scoring 19 points per game of their own. While both players have yet to really find a way to play perfectly well with each other, they have provided big mismatches and have been terrorizing opponent’s defenses on their own individual plays.
The Green Archers supporting cast has been doing a terrific job. From the guard play of Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo to Julian Sargent’s stellar defense, to Jollo Go’s sweet shot from outside to Abu Tratter’s perfect compliment to Ben Mbala. Even their rookies Aljun Melecio, Justine Baltazar and Ricci Rivero has had their fair share of great moments for the Green Archers.
The scary thing for the Green Archers is that they may be showing just the tip of the iceberg. While they have been stellar to start the season, you can see that they have still a lot of things to work on. For one, they have not really been able to protect the ball as well. In their 4 games they have had 20+ turnovers in all their games. This is mostly due to them maybe trying to force a lot of things on the offensive end. Outside shooting and free throw shooting has still been a concern for them.
But overall the DLSU Green Archers have shown the whole league why they are the favorites to win the title, 2 weeks into the season. They now remain the only undefeated team in the league, and we maybe only seeing a preview of the things to come this season.