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    The Green Archers’ amazing title run in UAAP Season 76 is now a thing of the past. It’s a clean slate once again but this time, the hunter is now the hunted so expect the 7 other teams to put it all in the line to prevent us from doing it again. The skills and pieces are there and it’s all up to our team to prove that last year was no fluke and are determined to extend their reign over the league.

    As La Salle’s UAAP title defense officially starts tomorrow, we listed 14 things we would like to see from them this season.

    Yutien Andrada

    1. Better freethrow shooting

    Yes this has been repeatedly clamored for the past so many seasons and until now, the Archers continue to struggle from the foul line. Last season, they were 60.9% from the stripe, only 5th in the league in that category. We long for the day that they would achieve at least a 70% clip collectively.

    Green Archers

    2. No more playing catch-up

    We can probably call the Green Archers the “Comeback Kings” of the UAAP. They were 5-2 last season in games wherein they were trailing to begin the fourth period. The 9-3 record when they are leading just shows that the team is better off when they don’t start the game listlessly.

    Jeron Teng

    3. For Jeron Teng to shoot more jumpshots

    We may have seen him shoot a couple of outside shots here and there but most of his points still come from those inside incursions. Coach Juno was quoted in the presson saying that we should expect Jeron to take more threes this season. He actually attempted a lot during the FilOil tournament .

    Thomas Torres

    4. A steady backcourt

    The leadership, stability and toughness that LA Revilla brings will surely be missed this season but we are confident that Thomas, Kib and Terrence have what it takes to fill in the void.

    Norbert Torres

    5. A breakout season for Norbert Torres

    Nothing would be more satisfying than to see The Bear end his UAAP career with a flourish. He had to hibernate for close to three years before he can play in the UAAP and when he did, he had to go through the process of converting his game from perimeter (He used to play the 2/3 spot back in Canada) to low post. There were offensive struggles but we can’t discount the fact that he did well on the defensive end (2nd in the team in rebounds and block shots). It’s about time The Bear plays bullish.

    Green Archers

    6. Overconfidence

    We have seen this in the past and sometimes those setbacks against lowly teams made a significant dent on the team’s hopes whether it be for a playoff or a higher seed. We saw some games last season where the team struggled to pull away against the cellar dwellers of the league. It’s all about playing with the same high level of intensity regardless of opponent.

    Almond Vosotros

    7. A Mythical 5 spot for Almond Vosotros

    From those floaters off a power dribble to being a crafty three point threat, Almond‘s game has certainly evolved since his rookie year back in 2010. Would anyone doubt that he is perhaps one of the best shooting guards in the league? A spot in the mythical team would be a fitting end to his collegiate career.

    Yutien Andrada

    8. For Yutien Andrada to have a successful return

    Sidelined for the whole of last season due to injury, a bulked-up Yutien returns to the Green Archers for his final year of eligibility. We are ecstatic to see him again on the court patrolling the shaded area.

    Green Archer Rookies

    9. An immediate impact by the rookies

    Back in 2003, JV Casio, Ryan Arana and Jerwin Gaco provided valuable contributions in just their first year to a then rebuilding La Salle team. They were perhaps the best group of Green Archer Rooks in recent memory who made an immediate impact. Will this batch be the same or even better?

    Arnold Van Opstal

    10. For AVO to be a legit force in the paint

    Arnold has taken huge strides every year with the Green Archers. Last year saw AVO jack up his scoring average en route to being named Most Improved Player. His potential remains high and we expect more big things from him for the next two seasons.

    Julian Sargent

    11. The Return of the full-court press

    The team might want to try it from time to time especially against teams with a shallow and inexperienced backcourt. It was such a joy to see all those interceptions and quick two’s as a result of this stingy defense back in the day.

    Jason Perkins

    12. The Continued emergence of Jason Perkins

    Jason was the X-factor in last year’s campaign. He is that type of player the Green Archers were longing to have – a consistent low post threat with a nifty touch from the outside. His heft and versatility pose matchup problems for the opposing team. He averaged 12 points and close to 10 boards last season wherein he was part of the mythical selection. He will continue to be a vital cog to the team’s title defense.

    Terrence Mustre

    13. A lot of threes

    The Green Archers last season racked up 377 attempts from beyond the arc (146 more from the previous year) and making 100 (2nd in the league behind FEU). Likewise, their perimeter points jumped from 315 to 492 with an average of 26 per outing. We could see the “Allan Caidic effect” working here. Let’s rain ‘em those threes.

    Juno Sauler

    14. Coach Juno smiling more often

    I mean seriously , who wouldn’t?

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      green archers

      It’s an instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure, used primarily in the field of meteorology, hardly having anything to do with dribbling an orange ball and putting it through a hoop ten feet above the ground, and yet it’s something that one of the opposing coaches branded the Green Archers heading into the UAAP’s 77th Season: A barometer.

      About a year ago, La Salle stumbled into the Hunger Games-themed opening ceremonies of the UAAP facing a lot of questions: They had fizzled out of the Fil-Oil preseason tournament after a fast start, lost Yutien Andrada to an injury, and had a coaching change three weeks before the season. Now, they are fresh from winning that same tournament and have welcomed Andrada back into their line-up. And that sudden coaching change? It worked out pretty well, since Juno Sauler was able to deliver the UAAP Championship trophy back to Taft Avenue after seven years.

      This year, they’ll have the same group of guys, with only LA Revilla leaving the team to turn pro. Jeron Teng, fresh from a Finals MVP performance, is only on his third year, and seeing him nail jumpers and three-point shots in the preseason means that he improved one dimension of his game. Almond Vosotros, who always seemed to show up whenever La Salle needed him, will be back in his final year. Jason Perkins, Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, Thomas Torres, and the rest of the team’s championship core will likewise be back. Only this time, they’ll have something they didn’t have before: A year of championship experience.

      The team didn’t exactly rest on its laurels during the offseason either, as they will be parading four rookies along with the returning Andrada. On the sidelines, joining Sauler as one of his assistants will be Freddy Abuda, a former player and assistant of the Brgy. Ginebra Kings in the PBA.

      Back in October, on the cramped stage in the midst of the Henry Sy. Building, while everyone basked in the warm glow of La Salle’s victory, Sauler made a promise: “We will be better next season.”

      And you only need to glance at the team’s line-up, its players, and their performances during preseason tournaments to know that he intends to keep this promise.

      Quick Questions:

      1.) Prince Rivero, Terrence Mustre, Abu Tratter, and Julian Sargent. That’s a pretty talented batch of rookies who will be suiting up for La Salle. What can we expect from them?

      Sargent has seen the most minutes and made the most impact for the team during the preseason, averaging almost five points, three rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes of action. He can play the two and three, and can be utilized as a perimeter defender. That block on Baser Amer’s step-back three-pointer during the Finals comes to mind. Tratter only averaged seven minutes a game, but still put up two points and two boards.

      Rivero, an MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the NCAA, normed two points and 1.6 rebounds a contest in nine minutes, while Mustre scored 1.6 points and grabbed 1.3 rebounds in almost nine minutes. These players only suited up for limited minutes, but as Sauler figures out his rotation, expect their roles – and contributions –to increase as the season progresses.

      2.) How will the team blunt the impact of the loss of LA Revilla?

      Revilla’s scoring will be somewhat easy to replace, since he put of only about five points per contest, although he did increase those numbers to 15 during the back-to-back games against the Tamaraws in the Final Four. It’s his leadership and stability at the point that La Salle will miss. Thomas Torres will likely take his slot in the starting line-up, something he already did in a few games last season and in the preseason.

      He has already upped his numbers during the Fil-Oil Cup, averaging almost nine points (fourth in the team), four rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes, though his two turnovers per contest is something of a concern. Kib Montalbo, Terrence Mustre, and Robert Bolick will also likely see time on the floor, with Montalbo already spending about 15 minutes per game.

      Look for Vosotros to likewise be tasked with the ballhandling duties, especially in the game’s dying minutes, something he has already done before. He rarely turned the ball over during the preseason (just 1.1 per game in almost 28 minutes of play), ranked second in the team in assists (behind Teng), and always seemed to make the right decision when the leather is in his hands – and even when it wasn’t.

      3.) Health-wise, how prepared is this team for the long-grind UAAP Season?

      It’s true that some of their players missed games during the preseason because of injuries. Jason Perkins missed their first game against UE, Kib Montalbo missed their game against JRU, and Thomas Torres was out during the three games they played in Cebu. Some players have also been reported to miss a practice session here and there, but all those injuries have been minor and should be of no major concern.

      4.) They won the UAAP title last season, before following it up with the PCCL title last December and the Fil-Oil Championship this summer.  We should be confident about our chances of winning back-to-back, right?

      Not if your coach preaches the Gospel of Constant Improvement like Sauler does. La Salle did manage to win the Fil-Oil crown, but the road to the title was not a smooth one, not by a longshot. During the eliminations, they were down by as much as 17 at the half against the JRU Heavy Bombers, ultimately losing by one, 68-68. Later on, they lost to the Perpetual Help Altas, 98-95, even after leading by as much as 20. And how did the Altas put up 98 points on the scoreboard? One of their players, reigning NCAA Rookie of the Year Juneric Baloria, torched the nets for 43 points, 22 in the fourth.

      And before they mounted a comeback against the San Beda Red Lions in the Finals, they were down for most of the game, their offense sputtering against the San Beda defense before they figured things out in the payoff period. La Salle’s defense was stingy at times during the preseason, but the team also had a tendency to relax. Turnovers and a low field goal percentage have also plagued the team even during their wins. Most people forgot about these losses the moment they hoisted the Fil-Oil trophy, but Sauler and the rest of the Archers’ coaching staff are not most people, and are already looking for ways to address these issues.

      5.) Which teams could challenge La Salle for Final Four slots and the title?

      UST lost its best player and coach, but still has the likes of Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, and Aljon Mariano, along with newcomers who could make an immediate impact like Renzo Subido. FEU lost two MVPs, but had strong PCCL and Fil-Oil campaigns thanks to their high-scoring and team-oriented style of play.

      Ateneo has shrouded its UAAP preparations by opting to train overseas, but what’s sure is that their list of rookies reads like a who’s-who of high school standouts: Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino, Clint Doliguez, John Apacible, and Jay Javelosa. And that’s excluding those waiting in the wings. Add Chris Newsome and a motivated Kiefer Ravena to that list, and you’ve got another potential contender ready to challenge the Archers.

      UE will be mentored by Derrick Pumaren, who also steered La Salle to its first two UAAP championships. Roi Sumang, he of the sideburns and fearless drives, will be joined by Charles Mammie and newcomer Moustapha Arafat, and it’s hard to write off a team that has all that. NU lost a lot of players but will welcome Henri Betayene, Alfred Aroga, plus rookies from their champion Bullpups team and players like former Red Cub Rev Diputado. UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao mentioned that he sees a very competitive and open season, and it’s not hard to see why. La Salle is still the clear favorite, but none of these squads are far behind.


      When Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo, or Terrence Mustre dribbles the ball downcourt, he can pound it down low to Van Opstal to post-up his man, or to Perkins at the baseline for a jumper. He can hand it to Teng and let him barrel his way to the basket for a hoop-and-harm bucket, or to Vosotros on the wing for a booming triple. A miss can be tracked down by Norbert Torres or Andrada for a stick-back, and that’s not counting their players who will be coming off the pine.

      La Salle does indeed have a stacked line-up, the deepest they’ve had in years, and opposing coaches and sports pundits are already heaping praise on them and setting expectations. And indeed, after winning the championship last year and retooling their roster, make no mistake: This title is theirs to lose.

      But if the preseason is any indication, this team is still susceptible to stepping on the break when they’re up by a mile, especially on the defensive end, allowing their opponents to claw their way back into games. The team is also prone to coughing the ball up. These observations on a preseason tournament that they won might seem like nitpicking, but take a look at what Coach Juno himself mentioned during the UAAP Press Conference, when his team was constantly tagged by opposing coaches as the team to beat:

      “In my humble opinion, I don’t focus too much on the expectations and opinion of others. Performing every game is what’s important more than expectations.”

      So at least for a while, let’s put a hold on those declarations about this team that start with the letter ‘D’ and is closely connected to a long line of successful kings (think Chinese emperors). Instead, let’s try to look at the upcoming season the way Sauler will: A day, a game at a time.

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        Yes folks, here we are once again.  New season, well, probably, a different expectation from last season but still, everyone in the De La Salle community is looking positive entering UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball wars.  It is the time of the year once again where La Sallians’ world stops in a heartbeat wherever they are just to be updated with how the team performed in almost every single game.

        Last season, the journey to the promised land started in España.  This season, the road going to the top starts a few blocks away from España, Morayta.  The Green Archers will be tested once again in their UAAP men’s basketball opener just like last year.  Make no mistake about it, I still believe that this FEU roster for Season 77 will definitely compete and this is not a walk in the park as most of you will think knowing that their two potent scorers from last season have now brought their talents to the pro ranks.

        Keys to the Game:

        Without further adieu, here is what I think would be the keys to the game on Saturday for La Salle’s UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball opener against FEU:

        • Take care of the basketball – In the Green Archers’ lone pre-season encounter against the Tamaraws (2014 FilOil Flying V Quarterfinals), DLSU committed 12 turnovers resulting to 19 FEU points off turnovers.  FEU will definitely use their quickness and athleticism on defense to force turnovers and run that basketball for easy baskets so the Green Archers should be alert in taking care of the basketball and avoid careless turnovers.  In case a turnover happens, La Salle’s transition defense has to be very quick going back on defense just to stop FEU’s fastbreak attack.
        • Pick and roll defense – I will not be surprised if FEU will run a lot of high pick and rolls this season especially for Mike Tolomia.  Teams normally have rules when it comes to pick and roll defense.  It is either you show hard on the ball handler, go open up so that the switch advantage will be negated, or the last one which is to switch assignments on defense.  If the Green Archers will play terrific pick and roll defense, that basically gives them one foot inside the winning column since I do not see a low post threat for FEU this season enough to challenge La Salle’s bigs.
        • Get the inside game going – For me, La Salle’s strength is still putting the ball inside the paint and challenging the opponent’s big men to defend.  Everything starts here.  If the inside game works early for DLSU, FEU will definitely adjust but it will give more room for the perimeter guys to work on their game.  La Salle should be ready as well as FEU made take away DLSU’s inside game from the start and defend the paint hard.
        • Make FEU pick their poison – This is a continuation of point #3.  If FEU starts the game protecting the paint hard, La Salle’s perimeter game should take care of the offense first.  This may sound like a chicken and egg situation but it depends on how FEU’s defense will show up on Saturday.  This is basically because La Salle has enough personnel to play both areas and contribute on offense.
        • Match the energy of FEU’s scrappy bigs – Belo, Cruz, Pogoy, Escoto, and Hargrove are not your tallest big guys that you can find out there but one thing is for sure, those guys will be giving their 200% hustle and effort every time on the floor, in almost every play.  If La Salle’s bigs will not match their energy, chances are these FEU guys will help the Tamaraws get easy baskets on putbacks of give FEU additional offensive possessions which is not a good thing to do against an FEU team, which is a very disciplined team.

        What to Expect on FEU:

        • Spread the floor out – FEU’s personnel are all very good, perimeter wise on offense that is why I expect them to spread the floor on offense and use high pick and roll sets for their guards to start their offense.  Mac Belo, Carl Cruz, Roger Pogoy, and the comebacking Russel Escoto can all make baskets from the perimeter as well as finish strong inside the paint should each of those guys set the screen and roll hard to the basket.  That is why from this point of view, it will be imperative for La Salle to play very good pick and roll defense to disrupt FEU’s offense and make their offense come from individual plays.  If FEU can take out the La Salle bigs from inside for rebounding position, it will be better for them.   I can only see Tolomia as the player who can break down his man individually so if FEU goes into that route, La Salle has to be attentive in man rotation, not being left behind for easy baskets, either inside or from the perimeter.
        • Disrupt the passing lanes – With FEU’s athleticism, they will make sure that La Salle will not have an easy passing lane on offense.  This is where FEU can be most dangerous, especially if they can intercept easy passes for easy baskets.  FEU’s length and activity cannot be overlooked on the defensive end as they can be scrappy enough to change the tempo of the game at any point.  With the change of tempo comes the change of momentum and it any team will have an opportunity to win a close ball game if it comes to that on Saturday.
        • Shifting defensive alignments – I think FEU will start with a man to man defense but eventually if they will be having difficulty managing La Salle’s inside game, they will eventually shift to a 2-3 zone defense and will dare the Green Archers to beat them from the perimeter.  I will not be surprised also if FEU will give different looks on man to man defense once La Salle’s bigs get that ball down low just to delay La Salle’s offense.  As much as possible, I think FEU will try their very best to play man to man before shifting to the zone if worse comes to worst.
        • Hard show on pick and rolls – This has been FEU’s staple on La Salle as always whenever the Green Archers decide to play pick and roll on either any of the guards or on Jeron.  FEU always shows hard on the ball handler, pushing him all the way far out before settling back to their original man assignments.  The Green Archers have done a good job solving this last season starting from the second round until the Final Four encounter but I will not discount this as a surprise strategy for Coach Nash Racela.  I still think that he will use this strategy from time to time.  La Salle has just to be alert knowing where their release pass will be to move the ball quickly and take advantage of an additional man on offense.

        To sum it up, it will be a very good first test for the Green Archers to open their title defense season.  Most have been predicting the Tamaraws to be a Final Four team this season despite missing RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo so this will be a good game to watch to open the UAAP Season 77 festivities.

        To La Sallians, let us all enjoy the ride this Season 77.  It will definitely be not a smooth and safe climb going back to the top but in the end, let us all hope and pray that everything will be all worth it.

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          jeron teng

          UE Red Warriors

          After a disastrous campaign that should have ended with better results in Season 76, the UE Red Warriors now turn their attention towards Season 77, under the guidance and leadership of new Head Coach Derrick Pumaren.

          Pumaren, a champion coach in both the amateur and pro ranks of Philippine basketball, needs no introduction. Back in 1978 and 1979, he won titles as a player of UE and would later on lead DLSU to two titles as a coach, before taking his talents to the PBA.

          Pumaren is a traditional mentor, one who emphasizes the importance of responsibility and teamwork. And for a team that ranked one of the worst in assists last season, UE will surely welcome his system with open arms.

          A more mature Charles Mammie

          New UE Center Charles Mammie was a monster last season, averaging 15 PPG and pulling down 19 RPG. However, his episodes of immaturity cost him some suspensions, hurting his team’s chances of attaining a Final Four bid.

          During the UAAP press conference, Pumaren said he “expects” Charles to play better basketball and not be a headache away from it. For his part, Mammie promised the same, talking about how he is dedicated to both his performance on the court and off it, while calling Pumaren a “father-like figure” to the UE boys.

          How do they stack up against the Green Archers?

          UE has a strong one-two punch of Mammie and RoiSumang, but other than that, they have no clear-cut third scoring option. Chris Javier is the best option to take over that role, but he averaged just seven points per game last year and will need to produce more scoring this season.

          La Salle thrives on its defense. Stopping Mammie will be impossible; he’s too talented and physically dominant. But with guys like Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, and company around, they should be able to at least contain him.

          The Green Archers also have problems from time to time with its offense, but UE was seventh in points allowed last year, which is something the team is looking to improve on, per Pumaren. Nonetheless, the Red Warriors don’t have a standout perimeter defender who can stop the penetration of guys like Almond Vosotros or JeronTeng.


          Outside of DLSU, the rest of the UAAP is wide open. With a roster that has two stars in Mammie and Sumang, UE might have enough to snag a final four spot this year, granted they get some contributions off the bench.

          Kib Montalbo

          Adamson Falcons

          After a seventh-place finish last year, the Adamson Falcons turned a new corner and let go of Leo Austria, who had previously held the coaching spot of the team for nine seasons. This year, the team embarks on year one of a rebuilding process that may take a while.

          No Final Four

          New Adamson head coach Kenneth Duremdes curtly stated during the press conference that he doesn’t expect his team to make the Final Four this year. With nine freshmen and no clear-cut leader on the floor, the team is trying to rely on its ball movement and crisp passing to attain a good offensive structure.

          With Jericho Cruz foregoing his final year and declaring for the PBA Draft, a leadership role is now also available to whoever proves to be the best player for Adamson. The team also did not join any preseason tilts, as Duremdes stated they used the free time, instead, to start a new foundation.

          How they stack up against La Salle

          DLSU is a team laden with veterans and is deep in every possession. The Falcons are a squad still searching for an identity amidst a huge change in team structure and philosophy. La Salle shouldn’t have a hard time winning when they face Adamson.


          If Duremdes and his assistant coaches – Vince Hizon and Marlou Aquino – manage to instill an effective offensive system for their players, then the Falcons may manage to rack up a few wins. However, they’ll be at the bottom of the standings, competing with UP for whoever can get the No. 7 spot.

          Almond Vosotros

          Ateneo Blue Eagles

          The Blue Eagles, believe it or not, are this year’s wildcards. While it’s unfortunate for the team that Hubert Cani and JeriePingoy still can’t suit up, this team still has a number of prized newcomers in Arvin Tolentino, ThirdyRavena, and Clint Doliguez, to name a few. With so much new faces, the pressure on veterans Kiefer Ravena, NicoElorde, and Von Pessumal will be high to help guide the club.

          How fast can the rookies mature?

          In three to four years, there’s no question that Ateneo will be championship contenders once again after their current rookies become veterans while the guys doing residency finally get to suit up. But in 2014, whether they like it or not, the rookies will have to deliver in order for Ateneo to climb the ladder back to the top.

          ThirdyRavena was last season’s UAAP MVP, while Tolentino was arguably the most sought-after high school prospect. Doliguez also has incredible potential, his teammates promise. If at least these three guys play as good or better than advertised, then it’s safe to assume Ateneo will be back in the Final Four. But if they don’t, the burden that will be placed on Ravena, Elorde, Pessumal, and Chris Newsome may be too much to handle.

          How they stack-up against La Salle

          Height is might, and height is something La Salle will have over Ateneo. With only FonsoGotladera – ironically, a former Green Archers – as the Blue Eagles’ key defensive guy, DLSU should have a field day in the paint against Ateneo. However, with Coach Bo Perasol’s deep collection of perimeter players, the defending UAAP champions must manage to lock down drives and close out on shooters – something the athletic Julian Sargent will be key on.


          Ateneo’s going through the first phase of its rise back to prominence, acknowledging the team’s new guns. But they still have a number of veteran players who should help spearhead the team back to the Final Four.

          Jason Perkins

          National University

          Losing a two-time MVP and a Mythical 5 center is tough, but National University is looking to usher in a new stage of its history by moving past the Parks and Mbe Era. To do that, they will need key contributions from GeloAlonino and Cameroonian recruit Alfred Aroga.

          What will be NU’s identity?

          The Bulldogs have structured their offense around Parks in the last few years, but with him now gone, it’s still a mystery how they will play. In the 2014 FilOil tournament, the team was surprisingly good, though it played in a pretty weak group.

          Aroga is still raw, but his physical talents are there and with some honing, he should be a force in the UAAP. How soon, though, is the question. He will be a factor this season, but maybe not enough to push the Bulldogs to the Final Four. Nonetheless, if Alonino and JeoffreyJavillonar can make up for the absence of Parks, the Bulldogs may sneak in a playoff berth.

          How do they stack up against La Salle?

          NU has the talent to give La Salle headaches in matches, but if the Green Archers play their game, they should take care of the Bulldogs. The defending champions are deeper, better coached, and more experienced.


          NU has some building blocks they can use as they look to improve over the next few years, but their current cast may not be enough to get them to the Final Four. True, the UAAP is wide open and a few lucky bounces their way may be enough to push them over another team contending for a playoff spot. But unless luck is on their side, they like finish in fifth or sixth place.

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            Wins by the skins of their teeth, losses by a mile, a first round-sweep by one team and a second-round sweep by another, a Jeron Teng turnaround jumpshot that broke the backs of their arch-rivals, an Almond Vosotros game-winner that danced a couple of times on the rim before going in, a Finals series that marked the climax of a sibling rivalry that had been simmering for two years, and, ultimately, the first championship in seven years for the DLSU Green Archers.

            If these highlights from the 76th Season of the UAAP are any indication, it’s Season 77 (themed “Unity in Excellence”) is bound to be more thrilling than the previous one.  Now, we know that La Salle will be parading a 14-man line-up that is arguably their most talented in years as they seek to win their second straight UAAP crown and their ninth overall.

            But before we take a look at their chances of adding more hardware to the already decorated halls of the St. La Salle Building, let us first take a look at the seven other universities they will be facing and how they stack up against them.


            Jerson Perkins

            UP Fighting Maroons

            Three wins, maybe more.                                                                                             

            The guarantee came from UP Head Coach Rey Madrid, and was first uttered during the Fil-Oil Preseason Cup, when his wards where fresh from a 72-59 beatdown of the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals. It certainly puts the ‘fearless’ in ‘forecast,’ especially once you consider that UP lost eight players in the offseason, including their best scorer (Joseph Marata) and rebounder (Raul Soyud).

            We saw the fight back in the Maroons in Season 75, when they lost all fourteen of their games by an average of just 6.2 points. Moral victories, those kinds of losses are called. But with the loss of most of their battle-hardened veterans, the team once again dropped all their games last year, and this time, the losses weren’t pretty: They featured the league’s most anemic offense and the most porous defense. And that 6.2 point losing margin? It was up to 13.2. But in spite of all these things, Madrid may have been right to assume that his team can win at least three games.

            If you’re a UP fan, what are some reasons for optimism heading into Season 77?

            First, let’s not forget that Madrid was thrust as the head coach of the Maroons when Season 76 was in full swing, and this year, he’ll have more time to put his system in place and prepare his players. There’s also their decent FIl-Oil Preseason stint, where they picked up two victories (versus CSB and EAC) against four losses and managed to put up 75.5 points per game, a far cry from their 64 point average last year. Five of their players averaged in double figures, including JR Gallarza, Henry Asilum, the comebacking Mikee Reyes, and reigning Rookie of the Year Kyles Lao.

            And pacing the team in scoring in the Fil-Oil Cup was former San Beda Red Lion Dave Moralde, who normed almost 14 points a contest and looks to provide the scoring punch that Marata gave them last season. Add to that the arrival of Diego Dario, a blue-chip recruit from the Junior Maroons, who averaged 9.7 points in almost 15 minutes during the preseason, and it’s easy to see why Madrid saw his squad pulling the rug from some of the opposing teams and winning at least three games.

            How do they stack up against the Green Archers?

            The Green Archers never locked horns with the Fighting Maroons during the Fil-Oil Preseason tilt, so the only yardstick to how these two teams measure against one another is during their two matches in Season 76, which La Salle both won handily. Jason Perkins and Jeron Teng were particularly effective against the Maroons’ thin frontline, with the former finishing with double-doubles in both meetings.

            And with UP coming into Season 77 with the loss of both Soyud and Chris Ball, expect the beefed up La Salle frontline of Perkins, Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Yutien Andrada, and Abu Tratter to assert their might in the shaded lane. UP gave up the most points in the paint last season, and there’s no better team to take advantage of this weakness than the Green Archers.


            Madrid’s prediction was more than just about avoiding another fruitless campaign, because three or more wins, he adds, will mean that his team will finally get out of the cellar where they have languished for so long. The last time UP didn’t finish last was in Season 71, when they finished sixth, ahead of Adamson and NU. The last time they managed to win three games or more was in Season 72, when they finished with a 3-11 card.

            This year’s squad seems to have remedied their biggest weakness last season, which is their inability to put point points across the board, as they have several players averaging in double-figures during the preseason. But scoring buckets is one thing, and keeping your opponents from scoring on the other end is another, especially from the paint. The Maroons will try to play small-ball to compensate for their lack of height, and they certainly have an improved guard corps, but their lack of size seems to be too glaring for them to be able to fully overcome.

            Jeron Teng

            FEU Tamaraws

            If you are a basketball team and you just lost two MVPs, you automatically go into rebuilding mode, right? Not if you’re the FEU Tamaraws, who lost 2009 MVP RR Garcia and last year’s Best Player, Terrence Romeo. Last season, the Tams entered the UAAP season facing a lot of issues, most of them off the court, including big man Russel Escoto’s season-ending injury. But they stormed out of the gates and swept the first round of the season, salvaging a Final Four seat, before sputtering in the semis against the Archers.

            And just when people thought that they were done after the departure of Romeo and Garcia, the Tamaraws had a magical run last year at the PCCL, giving their fans a preview of their exciting brand of basketball while toppling teams like NU, UST, and even reigning NCAA titlists San Beda. Only a loss to the South Western University Cobras prevented them from advancing to the Finals versus the Green Archers. And just this summer, the team piled up an impressive 6-1 card, that lone loss coming against La Salle. So if these preseason showings are any indication, then FEU has no plans of fading from the list of contender this coming season.

            This team lost two MVPs, but why did they have strong showings in the PCCL and the Fil-Oil Preseason Cup?

            They did it by becoming the most productive offense during the preseason, scoring 84.3 points per game on a 48% shooting clip, and dishing out almost 18 assists as a team. Mike Tolomia paced the team in scoring, averaging 18 markers a game, while Mac Belo, Raymar Jose, Roger Pogoy, Achie Iñigo, and Escoto, who will be returning this season, all averaged at least six points a game. When the team’s offense is humming, as it has been through most of their games, they can be a fun group to watch, and a hard team to beat.

            How do they stack-up against the Green Archers?

            La Salle and FEU met a couple of times during the offseason, one during the PCCL, when the Green Archers clobbered the Tams, 80-60, the other during the semifinals of the Fil-Oil Preseason tilt when the team rode on the hot hand of Thomas Torres, who nailed seven triples to squeak past FEU, 94-89. Five games have been played between these two teams last season, and all of those games have been close, with one of them going an extra period.

            FEU will be La Salle’s first assignment this season, and this is a team who will try to dictate their fast style of play to try to neutralize the Archers’ frontline, which is something that La Salle must try to avoid. This is also a team that does not immediately go away, as evidenced by their first round encounter last year when they battled back from a 13 point deficit to force overtime and eventually upend the Archers.


            You ask any of these Tamaraws on the reason for their success leading to the UAAP season, and you’ll hear the phrase ‘team basketball’ more than once. If their team is able to have a similar level of success with their ball-sharing style of basketball, then expect this team to make noise and contend for the Final Four slots, which will be up for grabs once more just like last year. Tolomia has embraced his role as this team’s leader, Hargrove seems rejuvenated, Belo will further improve on his numbers after gaining international exposure during the SEA Games.

            The return of Escoto will certainly be a welcome addition, but even with him and Hargrove, Raymar Jose, Carl Bryan Cruz, and even newcomer Richard Escoto, FEU’s frontline will still have a hard time against the bigs of other teams like the Green Archers. Mentor Nash Racela has repeatedly mentioned that he won’t be relying on any single player like he did last year, when Romeo would try to dance with his defender one on one and wave his teammates off.

            This would make his team unpredictable, as the offense can come from anyone, but this is a double-edged sword, especially when the clock is winding down, the pressure is mounting, and the game is on the line. That’s the time when a go-to-guy will have to step up, and that’s when we’ll know if Tolomia is ready to take on that challenge.

             Arnold Van Opstal

            UST Growling Tigers

            Six minutes and thirty-nine seconds into the third quarter. Game Three of the UAAP Finals. Jeric Teng backed down on his defender, dibbled a couple of times, got a little separation and hoisted another jumper. Splash. UST was in the driver’s seat, and it wasn’t close. 15 points stood between them and the Green Archers.

            This was a team that hitherto had suffered a back-breaking shoulder injury to their best player early in the season, were able to hold the fort in his absence and salvage a playoff for the fourth slot, ended Ateneo’s hopes of a sixth straight crown, before becoming the first four-seed to defeat a number one team and overhaul their twice-to-beat advantage.

            But those final minutes in the third canto went by in a blur, and by the end of the quarter the Tigers’ lead was brought down like a wall of sand. They were dragged into a war of attrition during the fourth quarter and overtime period, and their duo that had carried the load for them all game long (Teng and Karim Abdul) finally began to wane.

            Now, they enter Season 77 without their King Tiger, a vital cog in their two Finals stints in Clark Bautista, and the man who had instilled the leave-it-all-on-the-court mentality that they have become known for: Pido Jarencio. But with new as well as familiar faces donning the Gold-and-White this year, it’s easy to see why these Tigers still have a lot of fight in them.

            This is a team lost their coach and best player. What can we expect from them?

            In an interview with Solarsportsdesk.ph, newly-minted UST head coach Segundo “Bong” Dela Cruz revealed that despite the fact that Jarencio is now with the Globalport Batang Pier squad in the PBA, he still intends to maintain the Pride, Puso, Palaban system that Jarencio has instilled in his charges during his eight-year tenure as its head coach.  So as for coaching, we know that the same blueprint for success (one title, two Finals appearances) used by Jarencio will still be seen in this next batch of Tigers, although it remains to be seen if it will be as effective with Dela Cruz at the helm.

            Jeric Teng, on the other hand, will be hard to replace, although the team will be able to blunt the impact of the loss of his offensive firepower with the return of Louie Vigil, a former NCAA MVP, and the addition of the likes of Renzo Subido from De La Salle-Zobel, Alfren Gayosa from San Sebastian College, and Gelo Sablan from UPIS. Subido, in particular, can make an immediate impact on offense for UST, as he led the UAAP Juniors Division in scoring after putting up 20.1 points a contest.

            How do they stack-up against the Green Archers?

            Since their thrilling encounter last October in one of the best UAAP Finals series in recent memory, La Salle and UST have not yet tested each other’s mettle. They narrowly missed a chance for a rematch in the PCCL, when FEU knocked the Tigers out of the tournament.  But if the past UAAP season is to be used as a yardstick, then we have a pretty good sample size: Five games, two of them needing an extra period to decide, all of them decided by seven points or less. And despite the loss of Teng, Bautista, and others, expect games between the Tigers and the Archers to still be tightly-contested.

            This year, however, La Salle will field a deeper team, while its cast from last year’s title quest remains almost intact. The Tigers, on the other hand, will have to adjust to a new coach, while depending more on their newcomers more than the Archers, which might spell the difference between these teams.


            During the UAAP Press Conference, Dela Cruz mentioned that if his Tigers were to barge into the Finals for the third straight time, he wants to face the Green Archers, for the pain of their defeat last season is still fresh in their minds. But can his team really march all the way to the Last Dance after the loss of their coach and best player?

            Karim Abdul will once again be putting MVP-type numbers, Kevin Ferrer will likely build on his impressive overall performance in the season, especially after his Sinag-Pilipinas stint in the SEA Games last year, and Aljon Mariano is out for redemption after groping for form in last year’s Finals. But with their King Tiger now playing in the pros, their supporting cast will now be thrust into the harsh spotlight. Ed Daquioag, Jam Sherriff, and their rookies will have to contribute for them to have a chance of exacting revenge against the Archers.

            Dela Cruz, meanwhile, will be under a magnifying glass himself. Although he has spent the last two years as one of Jarencio’s assistants, it will undoubtedly take time for him and his system to take root and hold. His witticisms during post-game interviews have certainly made him one of the most colourful personalities in the UAAP, but one thing that Jarencio has done throughout his tenure is that he has managed to get the most out of his players, something that Dela Cruz still has to prove.

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              lady archers uaap76 champs

              The De La Salle Lady Archers will look to defend their title this season despite not having last year’s mythical team member, Ara Abaca.  She will sit out this season due to academics.

              The team last season defeated the NU Lady Bulldogs in three games to win their first championship in eleven years.

              De La Salle University Lady Archers - UAAP Season 77

              Playing Year
              Castillo, Ana Alicia KatrinaGuard1stUniversity of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 2013
              Claro, CamilleGuard2ndAngelicum College, 2013
              Corcuera, Inna SarahCenter5thDe La Salle-Zobel, 2010
              Garcia, Nicole AnneGuard/Forward5thDiliman Preparatory School, 2008
              Lumba, Martina RaeForward1stAssumption College, 2013
              Melendres, Jonah MariGuard4thColegio San Agustin, 2011
              Ong, Alyanna SabrinaForward4thSouthville International School, 2011
              Ong, Miller Joy - Team CaptainGuard5thLa Salle College-Antipolo, 2009
              Oyao, Fretzie MarieCenter4thSacred Heart of Jesus, 2009
              Piatos, Trisha AnneGuard5thAteneo de Davao, 2010
              Pineda, AnnaricaGuard/Forward4thAngelicum College, 2010
              Roxas, Jamie MarieCenter1stDe La Salle-Zobel, 2014
              Santos, Cassandra Alicia - Co-CaptainCenter5thSan Beda College-Alabang, 2009
              Scott, Dominique MarieGuard/Forward5thMiriam College, 2010
              Singson, Chelsey LouisseGuard1stBritish School Manila, 2012
              Vergara, Alyanna StephanieGuard2ndSan Beda College-Alabang, 2013

              Head Coach:
              Tyrone Bautista

              Assistant Coaches:
              Barry Tobias
              Christopher Madrid

              The Lady Archers will start their title defense on July 13, 2014 at 3:00pm.  All games of the Lady Archers in the first round are to be held in Ateneo’s Blue Eagle Gym.