Go Archers -

PCCL Round-of-16: Archers Eliminate Letran

The Green Archers knocked out Letran, 70-56 in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals behind the hot shooting of Sam Marata, who tallied 4 triples in the first half alone. The win atoned for their loss last year to the same Knights, who rode the hot shooting of Belencion to upend the Archers also in the first knockout game.

Undermanned at the start of the game with Spider Webb, Gab Banal, and Joel Tolentino not in the lineup, the Archers lost Luigi dela Paz (dislocated shoulder) and Simon Atkins (sprain) in the first half. The game turned chippy early, with Yutien Andrada and Letran’s Almazan being called for unsportsmanlike fouls.

The Archers showed a marked improvement from their performance in the recently concluded UAAP tournament, using their increased familiarity with each other to outplay Letran from the get-go. A blazing hot start sparked by two triples and and a reverse layup by Sam Marata, plus a nice Papot baseline drive saw the Archers race to a 10-0 lead, which they never relinquished. Letran finally scored on 5 points by the Alas brothers at 10-5, but that was the closest Letran would get in the game. Sam hit his third triple to give La Salle a 17-7 lead, which was maintained at double digits throughout the game. The Archers led 42-25 at halftime.

Save for a stretch in the 3rd quarter when Letran got a running start out of the halftime break to cut the lead to 44-33 behind triples by Alas and Belencion. A timeout by Coach Dindo steadied the Archers, with Papot scoring on a jumper and Nico hitting two free throws to restore order, 48-33.

Coach Dindo even unveiled a triple tower combination, with Papot, Ferdinand, and Maui manning the frontline. The taller La Salle players dominated the boards, and the active interior defense backstopped by Papot and Yutien forced Letran to shoot from outside the paint. Jovet, Maui, Ferdinand, and Yutien effectively combined to keep the Letran bigs away from their basket. Jovet, Maui, and Papot also showed some new post moves, creating more interior threats in a move from the perimeter-oriented offense they showed in the UAAP.

Even the Letran 3point shots were contested, and remembering the 10 triples Belencion dropped on the team last year, our perimeter defenders harassed Belencion all throughout the game, holding him to just 12 points. In the first half alone, the quicker and taller Archers scored 8 second chance points to Letran’s none.

While Sam and Almond did most of their scoring in the first half, Oda carried the load in the second half and finished with 10 points.

The improved play of our frontline allowed Coach Dindo to deploy a 2-3 zone without having to worry about penetrations, and the quick adjustments of our guards around the keyhole prevented Letran’s shooters from getting free. Again, defensive pressure proved to be the Archers’ main weapon, holding Letran down to 56 points.

Sam showed that he has fully recovered from his bout with dengue which affected his game in the second half of the UAAP tournament. His shooting was quite accurate, and he was confident enough to take his shots if he was open. Aside from his scoring, he was also much more active on the boards and going after the hustle plays, which makes him more than just a one-dimensional threat. Luigi started in place of Simon, and also showed a marked improvement until he was sidelined by the dislocated shoulder.

All 13 Archers saw action in the game. After a bit more playing time together, the team is starting to jell and show the potential of this lineup. They can only get better.

The Archers play a red team, either UE or NCAA champion San Beda on Monday, November 29 at 4pm.

The scores:

DLSU 70 – Marata 17, Tampus 10, Vosotros 9, Mendoza 8, Paredes 6, de la Paz 5, Andrada 4, Ferdinand 4, Villanueva 4, Elorde 3, Herrera 0, Reyes 0, Atkins 0.

Letran 56 – K. Alas 16, Belencion 12, Cortes 7, Taplah 6, J. Alas 6, Pantin 3, Almazan 3, Belorio 2, Dysam 1, Rodil 0, Alejandro 0, Espiritu 0.