Round-up: Lady Archers go 2-0, Luigi & AVO’s breakout game and other news
The De La Salle Lady Archers notched their second win last Sunday against UST. They currently share the lead with defending champion FEU in the standings at 2-0.
In other games, runner-up De La Salle University recovered from the University of Sto. Tomas’s third quarter explosion to escape with 58-56 win.
The Lady Archers saw their nine-point half time lead evaporate in the third period as the Tigresses quicked the pace and deployed a full court press to get 20 points and tie the game at 44 all going into the fourth. La Salle, however, engaged UST in that game and deployed similar tactics, which proved effective as the Tigresses saw their turnover count pick-up.
UST had no answer for Ara Abaca, who was a force in the paint as she scored 20 points and hauled down 17 boards, while Camille Claro and Inna Corcuera added nine and eight points, respectively. Marian Mejia led UST with 17 points while Lore Rivera, Jeannine Ong and Maica Cortes each had 10.
DLSU 58 – Abaca 20, Claro 9, Corcuera 8, Scott 7, Santos 4, Ramos 4, Piatos 4, Vergara 2, Ravillosa 0, Oyao 0, M Ong 0, A Ong 0, Melendres 0, Garcia 0
UST 56 – Mejia 17, Rivera 10, Ong 10, Cortes 10, Reyes 7, Penaflor 2, Salvador 0, Angeles 0, Andrade 0
Despite the big comeback win over Ateneo last Sunday, head coach Juno Sauler emphasized that this is just another game and another opponent. He hopes the players come out with the same focus and resolve no matter who they face.
For Sauler, however, it was just another day at the office as he reminded his players to have the same mindset they brought to the Ateneo match when facing every team in the league.
“Like what I’ve been telling to my players, it’s not who we play,” said Sauler. “We defeat an opponent, it’s an opponent. We come out with the same mindset. It doesn’t matter who we are facing.”
The Archers improved to a 2-1 (win-loss) card and stayed just behind leaders Far Eastern University (3-0) and University of Santo Tomas (2-0).
Sauler credited his players for the win, but saved his biggest praise for the pair of Arnold Van Opstal and Luigi De La Paz, who outscored Ateneo’s entire bench all by themselves, 28-9.
4th-year guard Luigi de la Paz came up big in the second half, scoring all of his 10 points including a dagger trey that sealed the win. He has hobbled with a shoulder injury in the past couple of years and saw minimal action last season. He ignited the spark in the Archers’ comeback trail.
“Malaking struggle ‘yung injury sa akin,” said De La Paz. “I was just happy na coach gave me a chance. I’m happy that I’ve been stepping up.
“De La Paz admitted it had been a very difficult time for him ever since he sustained the shoulder injury in 2010. He actually dislocated his shoulder twice during the pre-season of 2011, but still decided to play in Season 74 of the UAAP, which saw him suiting up for just five games and averaging four points per outing.
“Naiilang pa rin ako last year,” said De La Paz. “So I had my surgery last year and I started playing this April lang.
“Playing for only his second game of the season, De La Paz said he just want to provide energy to the team as what head coach Juno Sauler told him.
“Coach put me in the third quarter and he wants me to give energy to the team. And I’m happy that I did,” said De La Paz.
Aside from De La Paz, Arnold Van Opstal also had a breakout performance, scoring 18 points and was 5-of-7 from the field and 8-of-10 from the foul line. He made mincemeat out of the opponent’s thin frontline.
Van Opstal stepped up for foul-troubled frontcourt starter Jason Perkins and took advantage of Ateneo’s foul woes with center JP Erram fouling out late in the third period. Erram’s back-up Frank Golla fouled out moments later.
“It’s my first time beating Ateneo,” Van Opstal said. “We came into this game thinking that this is our time.”
For the Blue Eagles, this is their worst season start in a decade and a half. The last time they went 0-3 was back in 1997. Incidentally, it was also La Salle that dealt them their third loss in as many games.
Speaking of the 90s, La Salle lost to Ateneo only 4 times from 1990-1999. #JustSaying