Green Archers Conquer FilOil Cebu Leg

As part of its preparations for its title defense in UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament, the De La Salle University Green Archers travelled down south to face three Cebu-based schools which are in the same bracket as the Green Archers (Group A) in the on-going 2014 FilOil Flying V Pre-Season Cup elimination round.

The Green Archers won all their three games by beating first, the CESAFI defending champions, University of Visayas Green Lancers (also dubbed as the Battle of the Greens), 61-56 last May 23, 2014.

The next day, May 24, 2014, the Green Archers ruled once again over their 2013 national championship finals opponent, the Southwestern University Cobras, 64-59, and on May 25, 2014, the Green Archers finished their Cebu swing with a comfortable 82-68 victory over the 2013 CESAFI third placers, the University of San Carlos Warriors.

The first two games were tight as evident on the final score.  The Green Archers had to dig deep matching their Cebuano opponents’ intensity on both ends of the court.  This has to be expected since the first two opponents for the Green Archers were the two finalists in last year’s CESAFI seniors’ competition and for sure, those two schools brought pride representing their region against the Manila visitors (including the University of the East).

May 23 vs UV

The Green Archers had a good start against the Green Lancers, establishing an early lead in the first quarter courtesy of Jason Perkins.  Practically, Jason had the lanes wide open since UV is trapping the ball handlers very high (Vosotros and Bolick) during pick and roll situations.  Jason was the bailout point and he was able to force some and-1 situations which resulted to UV’s foreign players to get into foul trouble early.

Highlight play of the first quarter was Arnold’s in your face slam against Jean Mpouma, UV’s starting center. Jason dribbled down the lane off the release pass from the pick and roll, and then passed to a wide-open Arnold Van Opstal underneath the basket.  Arnold, though, failed to complete the three-point play.  UV stayed within striking distance of the Green Archers though because of the stellar play of their three wingmen namely: Chris Perolino, Raffy Octobre, and Leonard Santillan.

Perolino kept the Lancers in the first half while Octobre and Santillan carried the fight for the Lancers in the second half.  Diminutive point guard John Abad also contributed six rebounds and four assists manning the floor general duties for the Lancers.  Since DLSU did not have a point guard in this Cebu trip, the PG duties were relegated to Vosotros, Mustre, and Sargent.  Norbert Torres also had a good showing in second quarter which allowed the Green Archers to take a slim 32-30 lead entering the halftime break.

Come second half, Julian Sargent joined Jason Perkins in leading the Green Archers in putting points in the board. Almond Vosotros may not be shooting that much but his team-leading four assists in the game was enough to find Perkins wide-open down low as he attracted defenses in the perimeter.  There were two assists that came from mid-air as UV thought Almond was going to take the shot then passing in the last minute to a wide-open Jason Perkins down low for an easy basket.

Sargent had two wide-open threes (one in the third and another crucial one in the fourth) off the pick and roll when his defender decided to go under the screen.  Both UV foreign players (Jean Mpouma and his back up Emmanuel Ojudla) fouled out with still five minutes left in the fourth quarter but as when everyone thought that the Green Lancers will go away, they put up one gallant fight.  Leonard Santillan scored a jumper and a dribble drive penetration while Raffy Octobre knocked down a try to cut DLSU’s lead to 59-56 with 27 seconds left to play in the game.

After Jeron Teng’s missed lay-up and Arnold Van Opstal mistimed his jump to get the offensive rebound, UV got the ball and sprinted down the court for a possible game-tying possession but a costly pass which went strong to a waiting Chris Perolino was all she wrote in the game.  Perkins and Vosotros both had a split in the line to settle the final score at 61-56.  It was a gritty win especially when the Green Archers go 9-for-17 from the charity stripe and had more turnovers than UV, 13-10.

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May 24 vs SWU

The next day did not come any easier as the Green Archers faced an improved Southwestern University squad (who beat UE, by the way, 80-63).  SWU missed the services of Monbert Arong as I think he was not in the lineup anymore.  Replacing him was an equally-talented point guard Jasper Parker.  With Parker setting up the table, it allowed Mac Tallo to concentrate more on his scoring.  With Tallo opening up the scoring for the Cobras, the Green Archers made a counter by assigning Julian Sargent to mark the former Green Archer the rest of the way.

The result: Julian forced Mac to take ill-advised attempts and the shooting stats of Tallo at the end of the game were: 1-for-7 from three, 2-for-8 from two-point range.  In order to cover for SWU’s guards’ lack of offense was the vastly-improved Landry Sanjo.  Sanjo finished the game with 16 markers to lead the Cobras.  He is now more-balanced when he gets the ball and has more control on his movements compared before.  The Green Archers countered his offense by quickly double-teaming him once he touches the basketball.

Daryl Goloran, SWU’s starting power forward initially hurt DLSU with his wide-open jumpers and offensive putback as he was the initial bail out pass for Landry Sanjo once he gets double-teamed.  But the Green Archers never panicked and kept their composure enough to get their rotations properly set on defense.  Players were paced properly by the coaching staff as only Jeron Teng played for 33 minutes in this game.  Comparing it to SWU’s rotation, they had four players playing more than 30 minutes in the game which caused fatigue come the final period of play.

The key run happened at the start of the fourth quarter until the seven minute mark wherein Matt Salem (who hit two threes), Jeron Teng (converting on a dribble drive layup attacking the basket), and Terrence Mustre (hitting another three) fuelled an 11-2 Green Archer run to give DLSU a 51-42 lead.  From then on, the Green Archers were never threatened.  The closest SWU can get was at 64-57 in the closing seconds of the game.  The Green Archers fumbled their final possession which allowed SWU to score another two points for the final score of 64-59.

Make no mistake about it as SWU controlled the game from the beginning until the end of the third quarter.  Almond Vosotros kept the fight for the Green Archers by “quietly” leading the team in scoring with 16 points.  Those 16 markers were scattered throughout the game so you will not really notice that he scored that much already.  Jeron Teng played a superb all-around game, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Jason Perkins may only have finished with 5 points but he helped control the board with 11 rebounds of his own as well.

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May 25 vs USC

The Green Archers finished off their 2014 FilOil Cebu campaign last Sunday against the University of San Carlos Warriors.  After a close first half, the Green Archers blew the game wide-open in the third quarter.  Jeron Teng and Julian Sargent joined forces attacking USC’s “2-3” zone defense to extend the Green Archers’ lead from 38-32 to 49-35 midway through the third quarter.  Coach Junthy Valenzuela’s decision to stick to the zone defense paid costly as the Green Archers’ nifty passing allowed them to maintain a 66-50 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Oda Tampus got ample playing time in this game to the delight of his hometown crowd.  Oda finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal in 13 minutes of action for the Green Archers in the game.  The fourth quarter was just a cruise control quarter for the Green Archers as almost everyone contributed in scoring to settle the 82-68 final score in favor for the Green Archers.  Jeron Teng led the Green Archers once again with 18 points.  Almond Vosotros had an equally spread out scoring once again finishing with 16 points.

Julian Sargent, which had a highlight spin move layup evading three USC defenders, finished the game also in double figures with 13 points.  USC almost exclusively got their points from the perimeter as their foreign players still lack the offensive skills to finish shots when they get the ball at the low block so every time they got an opportunity to take a shot from the outside, they always do so.  Ian Ortega led the charge for the Warriors as he finished with 13 markers.  Former Ateneo Blue Eaglet Kieffer Lim supported Ortega with 11 points.

Overall, what I liked about this trip was the balance of the playing time given to the players to ensure that they will be fresh every game, to think that every day was a game day for the Green Archers.  Another important attitude that I saw in the team was their “finding ways to win” attitude wherein no matter what the circumstance the team is at any given moment, they just need that one good run to put the game away for good.

I have to give credit as well for the good team performance despite playing with only one natural point guard in Terrence Mustre although personally I consider Julian Sargent as another point guard that can set up the table as well given the green light to do so.  Julian was also a revelation again on the defensive end as he was disruptive on the opposing teams’ perimeter game with his length, defensive intensity and basketball IQ which changes the complexion of the perimeter game of the opponents.  Of course, he is just one factor and it is still important that other players rotate to their spots to pick up their man right away once that ball swings from side to side.

I would say it is still a work in progress for the Green Archers at this point.  There are still a lot of things that can be improved on like taking care of the basketball and better decision-making on offense to prevent these turnovers.  For sure, the coaches will be able to handle these and prepare the team the best way they can to put the boys in tip-top fighting shape come July 12, 2014.

The Green Archers will complete their 2014 FilOil Flying V Pre-Season Cup elimination round campaign on Saturday, May 31, 2014 against the Perpetual Help Altas at 4:00pm at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.  A Green Archer victory will secure an automatic spot in the quarter finals since they will end up tied with SWU with a 5-1 win-loss card.  A loss will make things complicated as they will drop to 4-2, tied with JRU for second place.  Quotients will be used to determine tie-breaks.

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