The De La Salle Green Archers are going to be the team to beat this season, but after their game vs FEU, we now know that it won’t be a walk in the park. After getting a hard earned win against the pesky Tamaraws, the Archers will move on to face the UP Fighting Maroons.
While many pundits had the Green Archers at the top of their preseason projections, the Maroons were usually placed at the opposite end of the rankings. But people forget, UP gave DLSU a lot of trouble last season, splitting their Season 78 series. Of course, this won’t be the same Green Archers squad, as they now have Ben Mbala. The former SWU Cobra showed he was as good as advertised, patrolling the middle versus FEU and tossing out a 13-point, 23-rebound, 4-block outing, and he projects to be the difference in this one.
What Happened Last Season?
As mentioned, DLSU and UP split their season series last season. In round one, the Maroons shocked the Archers with a 71-66 victory.
It was perhaps the biggest upset last season. In that game, UP raced off to a quick start, and managed to hold off a DLSU fourth quarter rally. The Maroons shot efficiently in that game, posting an ORTG of 92.29, and an eFG% of 46.83 percent, a testament to the Archers’ poor defense last year.
Leading the way for them in that game was Jett Manuel with 14 points, while DLSU forward Prince Rivero paced his squad with 15 markers and 11 boards.
In round two, with DLSU clinging to their Final Four hopes, the Archers were able to escape the Fighting Maroons via a 72-68 victory, UP turning in quite an effort despite being out of postseason contention.
DLSU raced off to a fast start, leading 19-6 after the first period. But UP countered with a 20-8 second quarter, and actually led entering the fourth, 52-49, before DLSU put their foot down.
A big factor in that victory was free throw shooting. DLSU posted a 26-of-40 clip from the stripe, compared to just a 16-of-21 effort by UP.
Jeron Teng led the way for the Green Archers with 20 points, while Prince Rivero had another double-double, 18 markers and 16 boards.
What can we expect this time around?
While it’s hard to count anyone out automatically, the DLSU Green Archers look to be several levels ahead of the UP Fighting Maroons this season. It wasn’t quite the “mayhem” defense of Letran in the NCAA, but DLSU did what they had to do, holding the Tamaraws to a game-low 15 points in the pivotal fourth quarter. In addition, Jeron Teng’s first game of his last season was explosive, providing 28 markers. UP in contrast, gave up a whopping 104 points to Adamson in their season-opener.
No doubt, DLSU will be looking for a dominant showing after their FEU outing was tighter than expected. And for sure, the La Salle holdovers remember the pain and the shock they felt versus UP last season. Those are two powerful motivations driving the Green Archers, heading into their second game of the season.
|TV: LIVE ON ABS-CBN SPORTS AND ACTION|
|TIME: 4:00 PM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|