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gameface_one
10-02-2007, 06:53 AM
The vindication of DLSU and DLS-Zobel
SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Philstar.com



After emerging victorious in five games against arch rival Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers will meet the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in a best-of-three series starting this Thursday for the men’s basketball title of the 70th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season.

It was a bitter loss for Ateneo. ADMU had won three of the five encounters with DLSU but the Archers won the ones that mattered most. The Archers won last Sunday, 65-60, to clinch the highly coveted second finals slot.

It will be the Archers’ third championship appearance in four years. DLSU won the title in 2004 upsetting the highly favored Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws. The two squads met again for the title in 2005 with the Tamaraws avenging their 2004 loss.

DLSU was suspended, unjustly as many claim, from competing in all UAAP sports in 2006 as punishment for fielding two ineligible players in basketball in 2004 and 2005. DLSU had voluntarily informed the UAAP Board and the public about its discovery and returned the 2004 championship trophy.

In 2006, with DLSU excluded from UAAP competitions, the unheralded University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers beat Ateneo and won its first championship in about a decade.

A day before the Archers and the Eagles met for the fifth time, the Junior Archers from De La Salle-Zobel (DLSZ), completed their comeback by shooting down Ateneo in overtime, 98-92, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium to reclaim the championship they won in 2005. Game heroes like Jed Manguera and Joshua Webb, grandson of former senator and congressman Freddie Webb, head a list of La Salle Green Hills and DLSZ graduates who are being eyed by coach Franz Pumaren for the DLSU squad.

La Salle’s victory, fashioned out before a live audience at the Big Dome of more than 23,000 and millions more on TV, was mainly due to a tough and sticky defense that Ateneo surprisingly failed to handle consistently. The Blue Eagles were limited to only 60 points and made a mere 18 of 56 attempts for a sorrowful average of 32.1 percent, many notches below its previous performances.

The Archers, not known for being a spectacular shooting team, were not too far ahead at 37 percent, making 27 of 73 field goal attempts. From beyond the three-point arc, the Green Archers made five of 18 attempts for an average of 27.8 percent. The Blue Eagles, on the other hand fared miserably, making two of 14 tries or 15.4 percent.

The Archers varied their defensive strategies by switching periodically from a one-three-one zone to their patented trapping defense. It appeared that Ateneo was not able to adjust during the game to a variation concocted by coach Franz Pumaren. This time the Archers’ trapping defense emanated from the sidelines.

A comment made by Ateneo’s coach Norman Black after the Blue Eagles had earlier won a hard-fought first game against DLSU that – (he) had to review the tapes to figure out what they (DLSU) were doing – indicates that there may have been a lapse in precisely figuring out what DLSU was doing during the game.

One clear proof of the effect of the Archers’ no-nonsense defense was DLSU’s domination of the boards despite Ateneo’s bigger and heftier men in the paint. DLSU out-rebounded Ateneo 51 to 36, with the Archers making 16 points off its 10 offensive rebounds. ADMU had only two points from its six offensive rebounds.

While this fifth encounter was not as close as the four others, it having only two deadlocks and two lead changes, it was, as usual, fast and furious, putting to a severe test the two squads’ conditioning. And it is superiority in this area that probably allowed the Archers to employ a game-long double teaming defense and to dominate the boards by a mile.

The highly charged match up featured several instances of trash talking and taunting. Eric Salamat stuck his tongue out at the pursuing Malabes of DLSU as the Blue Eagle soared into the air to complete a steal. At game’s end, Malabes stuck his tongue out in return at Salamat.

For Pumaren, a loss could have meant sleeping again at 3:30 a.m. the next day. After that heart breaker of a loss, 64-65, last Thursday, Pumaren stayed up reviewing and analyzing how the Green Archers managed to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

gameface_one
10-09-2007, 06:50 AM
Sports
Sweet sweep for La Salle
SPORTS FOR ALL By Philip Ella Juico
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Philstar.com


Yesterday’s headlines summed up Sunday’s excitement and how early my Monday morning started. The Philippine Star carried in big bold letters in its front page, “Archers trip Warriors, return as UAAP champs”; “Too fast, too furious – Pacquiao decisions Barrera in rematch.”

The Inquirer had the following on its front page: “La Salle Archers sweep UE warriors for UAAP crown” and “Pacquiao whips aging foe”.

In its sports page, The Star was even more effusive: “Archers score sweetest sweep – snare UAAP crown over Warriors” while the Inquirer had a green headline in the sports section: “Archers nail it – sweep wan Warriors for UAAP cage crown.” Tito Talao of Bulletin wrote “sweeps are most meaningful when they matter most.”

Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007, reminded me of July 2, 2006, also a Sunday. I took a 2 a.m. flight from Cebu City to join Korina Sanchez and Recah Trinidad at 8 a.m. at ABS-CBN for the Manny Pacquiao – Oscar Larios primer a few hours before the bout at the Araneta Coliseum.

I did a fight post mortem around 3 p.m. again with Trinidad and Sanchez. Right after the post mortem, I rushed to the Loyola Center to watch the last few sets of the successful defense by the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers of their Shakey’s V-League crown. It was one of the 13 titles won by the Lady Archers in the period 2003 – 2006.

I then joined the volley belles in a hurried thanksgiving party at Shangri-la Restaurant in Times Street in Quezon City. By 9 p.m., I was back at ABS-CBN for another post-mortem of Pacquiao-Larios with Boom Gonzalez.

To cap the night, I got a call from Star Travel columnist Christine S. Dayrit and Allure asst. editor Bum Tenorio giving me positive feedback on the Gonzalez interview. That wasn’t the end of it however. At 6 a.m., Monday, July 3, 2006, I was in Arnold Clavio’s Unang Hirit show at GMA doing another analysis of the Pacquiao-Larios encounter.

Last Sunday afternoon and early Monday were practically replays of July 2, and 3, 2006, including calls from my colleagues at The Star.

I watched “Will to Win” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Petron Mega Plaza in Makati, courtesy of Buhay party-list Congressman Irwin Tieng, son of television magnate William; Petron chair Nick Alcantara and Solar’s Luke Pasiliao.

From Petron, I drove off to the Big Dome to catch the Green Archers vindicate themselves and live true to the motto, “We’re back, We’re number one!” Right after the rousing triumph was a victory dinner with players and supporters in San Juan and on to DLSU Taft for a joyful celebration in the jampacked college canteen.

Yesterday morning I was guest again in Clavio’s show at 6 a.m. to analyze the Pacquiao-Barrera duel. That rounded off the cycle of a truly wondrous sporting day for Filipinos, Lasallians and true sports lovers.

To be sure, one cannot blame the Archers for savoring so-called bragging rights and calling this year’s UAAP basketball championship, its seventh (1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2007) since joining the league in 1986, its sweetest triumph. The list, by the way, does not include the 1991 title, that eluded DLSU in a most controversial manner, and the 2005 crown, which DLSU voluntarily gave up.

Star’s headline captured succinctly the saga of the Green Archers who could not be denied their moment of vindication. The entire Lasallian community had to endure all the scorn heaped upon it by some quarters, including reference to the 2006 suspension of DLSU as a cheer during the games. But for Lasallians, those incidents were more humbling than humiliating.

But the One who controls destiny rewarded DLSU not just with one but two basketball championships. And perhaps, the only sweeter victory other than Franz Pumaren’s senior Archers’ spectacular triumph after playing 19 games (the longest UAAP basketball season in memory), would be the heroic exploits of the De La Salle –Zobel junior Archers of Boris Aldeguer. The Zobel boys who had nothing to do with the controversy became collateral damage, victims of an excessively harsh ruling.

The senior Archers victory ironically came when the Archers’ recruitment program was at its weakest in years. In fact, as Pumaren admitted (at the same time apologizing to the team) during the victory celebration at DLSU, this was the weakest squad he has handled in his 10 years as DLSU coach. The Archers simply defied all the obstacles thrown their way and showed the never-say-die spirit and fighting heart of true Lasallians and champions