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Hard-fighting Archers absorb second loss against Stags

The word ‘Hustle’ was the battlecry of the Green Archers for today’s game against the defending champion San Sebastian Golden Stags, as the players and the staff constantly yelled the word in one accord in team huddles during time-outs.

Yet when the game came down to its final moments, it was the big men of the Stags who showed hustle, making baskets and securing rebounds down the stretch as the hard-fighting Archers absorbed their second loss at the Fil-Oil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup, 88-81.

With the Stags ahead by only four, 85-81, Luigi Dela Paz missed a three-pointer that would have pulled them within a point. Calvin Abueva, who erupted for 28 points and 18 rebounds, and teammate Ian Sangalang then sank pressure-packed free throws to secure the Stags’ first victory of the tournament.

In a game that featured a combined 48 fouls and 41 turnovers from both teams, the Archers battled back from a 16-point deficit early in the third quarter to take the lead early in the final period, 74-72, on a running lay-up by guard LA Revilla.

The Stags, however, quickly swung the lead back to their favour on a three-pointer by Ron Pascual from the right corner. Both teams traded baskets throughout the quarter, until the defending champions carved a seven-point lead, 85-78, that forced mentor Dindo Pumaren to sue for time.

Senior Simon Atkins nailed his second three-pointer of the game to trim the lead to four, setting the stage for the cardiac finish.

Emotions ran high in the third canto, and, with 3:27 left and the Stags up by 11, 66-55, Abueva and Archer Ponso Gotladera received warnings from trash talking, which also did not please Pumaren. Center Michael Miranda and Sangalang were also slapped with unsportsmanlike fouls early in the quarter.

This sequence seemed to fire up the Archers as they mounted a furious comeback that saw them close the quarter on an emphatic 12-3 binge led by Dela Paz and Revilla that cut the lead of the Stags to two, 70-68.

The Archers also cut the lead to two near the end of the first half, 42-40, on a putback by Andrada, but the Stags held the Archers without a field goal for the first six minutes of the third to build a sizeable lead.

The loss, however, does not indicate that the Taft-based squad played a bad game.

Luigi Dela Paz continued to be the most consistent player for the Archers in the tournament as he topscored for the team with 16 markers. Revilla and Mendoza both dropped nine points. Andrada, Atkins, Joseph Marata and Papot Paredes all scored six points, and six other Archers scored at least two points as the game proved to be another testament to the depth of the squad.

La Salle actually shot the ball better at 41% compared to the slightly lower 39% of the Stags. They also had more steals, 9-2, forced more turnovers, 21-20, and translated those turnovers into 19 points as compared to the 13 of the Stags.

They, however, lost the battle of the boards, 51-44, and gave up more fouls, 30-18, which the Stags translated to 23 points on the line in 32 attempts. The Archers, meanwhile, made just 14 of their 24 trips to the line.

Rookie Watch:

Arnold Van Opstal, despite seeing limited minutes, hauled down eight rebounds to pace the Archers along with two points off charities. Dan Sara scored on a trey and a jump shot, had a couple of takeaways, an assist and a rebound. Gotladera scored in the third quarter as part of the Archer rally, while Norbert Torres scored during the early goings and had a free throw. Louie Vigil, who is back in the line-up, as well as Michael Pate, did not see action.

Up Next:

The next game for the Archers will be nearly a month from now, a May 25 date with the revamped and undefeated National University Bulldogs.

Box Scores:

San Sebastian 88 – Abueva 28, Pascual 24, Sangalang 19, Semira 11, Miranda 4, del Rio 2, Antipuesto 0, Jumao-as 0, Vitug 0, Magno 0, L. dela Cruz 0

DLSU 81 – De la Paz 16, Revilla 9, Mendoza 9, Andrada 6, Atkins 6, Marata 6, Paredes 6, Sara 5, Webb 5, Tampus 4, Torres 3, Van Opstal 2, Vosotros 2, Gotladera 2, Villanueva 0

Quarter scoring: 31-23, 51-43, 70-68, 88-81