The De La Salle Green Archers look to extend its winning streak to three, but it will be a daunting task as they face the rejuvenated UST Growling Tigers. Fresh off a win against the UE Red Warriors last weekend, they will face an opponent with a different style of play. Now tied for third at 3-2, the Green Archers may have found a lot of answers they’ve been searching for since the start of the season. The question was who would man the middle after the loss of Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres, and they have found a gem in Larry Muyang. The rookie bigman from Pampanga has been stellar in his last two games, particularly in their last game as he finished the game with 11 points 11 rebounds and four blocks while he was great patrolling the paint on both ends on the floor. While the usual contributions are there from Jeron Teng and rookie Andrei Caracut, he has been the key to DLSU’s two-game winning streak.

UST, on the other hand,  also came off a stellar victory, coming back from 18 down to defeat the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Kevin Ferrer was spectacular in that game with 27 points, including six three-pointers as the Growling Tigers outscored the Blue Eagles 26-6 in the final canto. Ferrer, the unquestionable leader of their squad, has been spectacular throughout the season, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds. La Salle though has had its share of players performing well this season. Teng is registering his usual stats of 18 points and 7 rebounds while they have also found its own gem in the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year in Caracut, who is averaging around 13 points per game. It would be an interesting matchup as both teams are in a good momentum going into this game.

Last season, the Green Archers got the upper hand over the Growling Tigers twice. In their first round matchup, while it was a highly anticipated duel after their epic finals series in 2013, La Salle blew the game wide open with a convincing 83-70 win. Jeron Teng led the La Salle attack with 22 points. DLSU had to play small almost the entire game with Van Opstal missing the game due to an injury and Norbert Torres left early in the game. But with Jeron leading the attack and a lot of help from the bench, they sprung through the lead in the second half in convincing fashion. In the second round matchup, the Green Archers used a strong fourth quarter to pull away from the game with a 67-60 victory. Once again leading the charge for them was Teng, who had another brilliant game with 26 points. Unlike in their first game, where DLSU shot the ball extremely well, they relied on their defense and hustle on the offensive glass this time. They limited UST to 37.5% eFG and dominated the offensive glass, with a 35% ORB% compared to the Tigers who only had a 26% ORB%.

This season’s first round matchup will be much different though, especially for UST as they are at top of the standings at 4-1,trailing only FEU Tamaraws. But La Salle has built their own momentum heading into this game as well. A win for the Green Archers would be crucial in this matchup simply because a win would put them in a tie for second with UST while a loss would put them to a tie for fourth, along with NU Bulldogs at 3-3. Over the last few years the Green Archers and the Growling Tigers have given us a number of classic games. And with both teams jockeying for a Final Four spot (and a chance for twice-to-beat advantage), this affair could be another thriller.


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