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MVP Cup: Green Archers Edge UP

The Green Archers edged UP, in a cliffhanger, 67-66 at the Arena this afternoon. The win somewhat made up for the 1 point loss the Archers suffered at the hands of the same UP team in the Fr. Martin Cup tournament held earlier this year.

The game marked the much-anticipated debut of Arvie Bringas, former center of the NCAA Jr. champion San Sebastian Staglets. Bringas did not disappoint, and displayed his inside prowess on both offense and defense. He topscored with 12 points despite being given limited playing time by Coach Franz.

The Archers dominated the first quarter, 19-14 before a spirited UP offense led by red shirting Silungan enabled them to take the half at 28-34. Some ragged play by the Archers on offense resulted in several miscues which were translated into fastbreaks by the Maroons. Defensively, the Archer press failed to blunt the frenetic UP offense.

After the halftime break, Archers buckled down to work, led by Simon Atkins who scored on successive possessions to cut the lead to a single basket at the end of the 3rd. UP kept it close throughout the 2nd half behind the hot hands of Silungan and ex-Zobel player Reyes. Every time the Archers would take the lead, either player would hit a basket to either tie the score or give UP the lead.

Although Webb, Malabes, Barua, and Mangahas failed to match their usual point production, their aggressive drives resulted either in field goals or foul shots. Bringas also made his presence felt in the paint on offense, causing UP veteran Woody to foul out. Our guards would set up isolation plays for Bringas, and he succeeded in getting to the basket or managed to fish for fouls which he translated into points at the foul line.

An interesting subplot was the matchup between former UPIS players who are now with La Salle against their counterparts from La Salle schools who now suit up for UP. On the UP roster are Mikee Reyes, the LSGH pg last year, and Martin Reyes from DLSZ. Former UPIS players who are now with La Salle are Villanueva and Marata. Martin Reyes, (no, this is another Martin) who used to man the paint for LSGH, made it to the Archer lineup, although he didn’t play today.

UP paraded a couple of players who are not yet eligible to play this UAAP season: Silungan and Gingerich. Silungan is a tall wing player who studied in the US, and who can light it up from the 3 point area. He torched the Archer defense throughout the game, including a last second catch and shoot to end the first half. Interestingly, Silungan considered Ateneo and San Beda before ending up in UP.

The closeness of the game showed that the Archers still have a long way to go before they can be considered ready for the UAAP wars. The veterans such as Barua, Mangahas, and Ferdinand do not seem to be as sharp as expected, and the rookies, while full of potential, are still untested.

Simon Atkins, though, seems to be ready to go to war already. Perhaps the competition at the pg position is keeping him on his toes. Tolentino proved his worth in the closing minutes, sinking a corner trey and a jumper to keep the game close. Marata didn’t get much floor time, and Andrada showed that he still has a way to go. The 3 point accuracy was also not up to par with previous games – this will be critical in opening up the lane for our interior operators such as Bringas, Villanueva, Mendoza, and Batricevic.

If the UAAP season were to start tomorrow, we’d probably not be one of the favorites given the current state of the team. But there are a couple of months to go, and the coaches have a plan for the team.

With this bunch of veterans and sophomores/rookies, the team can only get better.

Game photos at http://greenarchersph.multiply.com

Game scores:

DLSU – Bringas 12, Atkins 10, Bagatsing 6, Mangahas 6, Malabes 5, Barua 5 Tolentino 5, Villanueva 4, Revilla 4, Webb 4, Co 4, Marata 2, Ferdinand 0, Andrada 0

UP – Silungan 26, Co 11, Reyes 9, Juruena 6, Lopez 2, Braganza 4, Padilla 3, Reyes 2, Lao 1, Gomez 2, Marfori 0, Gingerich 0

Quarter scores: 19-14, 28-34, 50-52, 67-66