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  1. DLSU STRUGGLES FROM THE LINE, SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

    Rookie Jeron Alvin *Teng currently leads the De La Salle University Green Archers in point production in the 75th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.

    The 6-2 swingman is averaging 13.7 points in six games for the fifth-place Green Archers (3-3), who are priming up for their final assignment in the first round of the double-round competitions against the fourth-ranking National University Bulldogs on Saturday, August 18, at the *Araneta Coliseum.

    Jeron, the younger brother of the University of Santo Tomas’ fourth-year forward-guard Jeric Teng, has scored in double digits in five of the six games – 15 vs. University of the Philippines (73-6, 16 vs. University of the East (67-59), 13 vs. Ateneo de Manila University (61-71), 17 vs. UST (82-84 2 OT – Jeric had three threes for nine points) and 15 vs. Adamson University (56-52). *He was held to six markers in the Green Archers’ 48-46 setback to Far Eastern University last July 22 in the first of a couple of two-point losses by the Taft Avenue-based school so far.

    In his last two appearances for La Salle, Jeron posted a double-double with 17 points and a dozen rebounds against UST and 15 and 10 against Adamson.

    In addition to Teng, only veteran guard LA (Luis Alfonso) Revilla is scoring in twin digits for the Archers. Revilla is hitting at a 12.2-point clip despite sitting it out against the Tamaraws and being held scoreless by the Falcons following his departure late in the first half of their game with an ankle injury.

    This early, the 18-year-old Jeron is a cinch to follow in the footsteps of brother Jeric (2009) and romp away with the UAAP Rookie of the Year award.

    If there is a sore thumb in the offensive game of the muscle-bound son of former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) strongman Alvin Teng, it is his free-throw accuracy.

    Then again, the Green Archers, as a team, have been horrendous in that area for the past three seasons, squandering winning opportunities against FEU and UST this year with atrocious performances from the foul line. *In the come-from-behind victory over the Falcons, De La Salle went just 6-for-18 from the charity stripes, including 1-for-6 by Teng.

    Overall, Jeron is a porous 19-for-41 (.463) from the free-throw line for the Green.

    Ironically, Jeron was a decent free-throw shooter during his high school days at Xavier School. *In the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA), where he earned his spurs with three championships, three scoring titles and a league-record three Most Valuable Player awards during a distinguished four-year, 43-game stint with the Golden Stallions, Jeron *was a respectable .652 (251-for-385) from the charity stripes en route to a nifty 28.3-point career clip.

    Additionally, in his 104-point game against Grace Christian College on January 5, 2011 for the only triple-figure score by a high schooler in Philippine basketball history, Jeron made 29 of his 34 freebies.

    Inept free-throw shooting has been La Salle’s waterloo since 2010 and Teng’s own problems with the Archers mirror this embarrassing fact.

    La Salle is hard-pressed to reach the Final Four under rookie coach Gee Abanilla, who seemingly is still finding his way to come up with a solid rotation. *The constant experimentation has seen some veterans being sparingly utilized from one game to another, if not entirely benched. *

    While the team’s defense has been decent, it is so deficient on the offensive end. Teng, Revilla and Norbert Torres (9.5 ppg) are scoring in double figures, but there is no consistent go-to guy in the mold of a JV Casio.

    Torres has improved much from last season. *The 6-6 Filipino-Canadian has learned to post up and bulldoze his way around the paint. *However, when faced against taller defenders like Ateneo’s 7-foot Greg Slaughter and UST’s 6-8 Karim Abdul, Torres has gone back to his old habit of taking jumpers from out of his range.

    The Archers, who even had to labor just to get past patsies University of the Philippines, University of the East and Adamson University, badly need to defeat underachieving National University to keep abreast of the Bulldogs at the No. 4 spot in the eight-team standings.

    A loss to NU, on the other hand, means that DLSU will have to overcome a substantial two-game disadvantage going into its seven second-round assignments just to secure the fourth semifinal berth.

    To reach the Final Four, a team will likely need at least eight victories overall. So far, UST (5-1, vs. Adamson August 19), Ateneo (5-1, vs. FEU August 1 and FEU (5-1, vs. ADMU August 1 have the inside track to the Final Four race.
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  2. 2012 London Olympics: King James Dethrones The Admiral

    In knocking in 19 points for Team USA in its 107-100 victory over Spain in the gold-medal game for men’s basketball in the 30th London Olympics, LeBron James surpassed David Robinson as the all-time leading scorer in U.S. Olympic men’s basketball history.

    James now has accumulated 276 points in 24 games over three Olympics, including consecutive gold-medal finishes in Beijing in 2008 and in London this year.

    The 6-8 Miami Heat forward scored 46 points in eight games during the 2004 Athens Games, where the Americans settled for the bronze medal; and 124 and 106 points in eight assignments each at the 2008 and 2012 Olympiads, respectively. *

    Robinson, who shares the record for the most number of Olympic appearances by a U.S. men’s basketball athlete with James and Carmelo Anthony (2004, 2008 and 2012), amassed 270 markers in 24 games over three stints.

    The 7-1 center from the U.S. Naval Academy got a bronze with the last all-collegiate U.S. Olympic squad during the 1988 Seoul Games. *Subsequently, the “Admiral” won a pair of gold medals with the NBA-dominated teams to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (the first time that USA Basketball employed professional players with its “Dream Team” concept) and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

    With ascension of James, Michael Jordan slips to third overall on the all-time U.S. Olympic scoring charts.

    His Airness chalked up 256 points in just 16 games *and two gold medal-winning Olympic stints, turning in the trick during the 1984 Los Angeles Games as a collegiate star from the University of North Carolina and eight years later in the Barcelona Games as a member of the original Dream Team from the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

    Fourth on the list is Carmelo Anthony with 239 points in 23 games over three Olympics. *

    As a Denver Nugget, Melo made a measly 17 points in seven games during the 2004 Athens Games and 92 in eight appearances during the 2004 Beijing Games. *In the just-concluded London Olympics, the 6-8 forward from the New York Knicks knocked in 130 points in the Americans’ 8-0 finish for a team second-best 16.3-point average.

    Rounding out the top five on the all-time U.S. Olympic scoring ladder is Kobe Bryant. *The Los Angeles Lakers star, who along with Chris Paul and Deron Williams never tasted a single defeat in two Olympic appearances (2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games), compiled 221 markers in 16 games.
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  3. 2012 London Olympics: Men's Basketball Quarterfinals Get Underway

    The crucial single-game quarterfinal round of the men’s basketball competitions in the 30th London Olympics unwraps on August 8 (Manila time, starting 9:00 p.m.).

    The four quarterfinal matchups with a knockout format are: Group B second-placer Brazil (4-1) vs. Group A third-placer Argentina (3-2), the defending gold medalist and Group A topnotcher United States (5-0) vs. Group B fourth-placer Australia (3-2), Group A second-placer France (4-1) vs. Group B third-placer Spain (3-2), and Group B topnotcher Russia (4-1) vs. Group A fourth-placer Lithuania (2-3).

    The semifinals, to be held August 11 (Manila time, 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.), will feature the Brazil vs. Argentina winner against the U.S. vs. Australia winner, and the France vs. Spain winner vs. the Russia vs. Lithuania winner.

    The semifinal victors will play against each other in the gold-medal game on August 12 (Manila time, 10 p.m.). *The bronze-medal game between the two semifinal losers will be held four hours earlier.

    During yesterday’s final playdate of the round-robin preliminary phase, Lithuania beat winless Tunisia (0-5), 76-63, France downed Nigeria (1-4), 79-73, and the U.S. crushed Argentina, 126-97, in Group A while Australia upset Russia, 82-80, host Great Britain (1-4) toppled China (0-5), 90-58, and *Brazil came from behind to beat Spain, 88-82, in Group B.

    In Nigeria’s loss to France, former Philippine Basketball Association import Chamberlain (Champ) Oguchi (Meralco, 2010-11) exploded for 35 points. *The 6-4, 26-year-old Oguchi, an Illinois State University product who was born in Houston, Texas, shot 8-for-14 from three-point range.

    In beating Spain, Brazil was “rewarded” with a tougher schedule ahead. *The Brazilians will take on Argentina during the “one-loss-and-you’re-out” quarterfinals in a rematch of the 2011 Tournament of the Americas finals.

    A side attraction: *Argentine-born coach Ruben Magnano, who piloted his country to a gold-medal finish during the 2004 Athens Olympics, is now Brazil’s bench boss, having steered the Brazilians to their first Olympic stint since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

    If Brazil somehow survives past reigning TOA champion Argentina, it will face Team USA, which is heavily favored against quarters foe Australia, in the semifinals.

    By losing to Brazil, two-time European titlist Spain got an easier quarterfinal assignment against France and avoided a potential confrontation with the NBA-dominated American team until the gold-medal game.

    Four years ago in Beijing, China, America’s “Redeem Team” scored a 118-107 decision over the Spaniards in the Olympic men’s basketball finals to regain the gold. *Argentina, the gold medalist during the 2004 Athens Games, settled for the bronze with an 87-75 win over Lithuania.

    This year, it could well be Team USA vs. Russia in the gold-medal duel – a rematch of their much-publicized 1972 encounter in the violence-marred Munich Olympics where the former Soviet Union broke the Americans’ 63-game winning streak in Olympic men’s basketball with a controversial 51-50 victory in the finals.
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  4. Spain vs. Brazil: *Who wants to win?

    Following a hard-earned 99-94 win over fourth-placer Lithuania last August 4, Team USA (4-0) will seek to complete a sweep of its five-game preliminary-round assignments in Group A against Argentina (3-1) on August 7 (Manila time, 5:15 a.m.). *France (3-1), whose lone defeat came at the hands of the Americans, 98-71, on opening day, will play Nigeria (1-3) and Lithuania (1-3) will take on winless Tunisia (0-4).

    In Group B, Russia (4-0) upset 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist Spain, 77-74, and is assured of first place in its group. *On the final day of the preliminary phase on August 6-7, Russia tangles with Australia (2-2); Spain (3-1) clashes with Brazil (3-1); and host Great Britain (0-4) faces China (0-4) in a battle of winless teams.

    The Spain vs. Brazil encounter should be very interesting.

    Neither team wants to face the United States before the semifinals or medal round.

    The winner of the Spain vs. Brazil first-round match will have to play gold medal favorite United States in the semifinals. *The loser ironically will dodge a bullet and avoid meeting the defending men’s basketball medalists until the gold-medal game.

    That is assuming both Spain and Brazil survive the crucial one-game knockout quarterfinal round.

    Will brothers Pau and Marc Gasol and the Spaniards “tank” it? *We”ll find out when their game against the Brazilians takes place on August 7 (Manila time, 3:00 a.m.)

    Note that there are more classification-round games for 9th to 12 places and 5th to 8th places in Olympic men’s basketball. *The basis for the final rankings of the eliminated teams is their overall win-loss records.
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  5. U.S. Cagers' 83-point Win over Nigeria is not a Record

    During the 1948 London Olympics, the Philippines posted a 102-30 victory over Iraq in its opening assignment to become the first team ever to reach the century mark in Olympic men's basketball history.

    The rub of the schedule gave the distinction to the Filipinos as Chile (100-1, Korea (120-20) and China (125-25), then represented by the Nationalist Republic of China (now called Taiwan), subsequently also reached the 100-point plateau against winless Iraq (0-5) in the Filipinos' preliminary six-nation group.

    Additionally, Korea and China’s 100-point winning margins against Iraq are the biggest in Olympic men’s basketball history.

    In the ongoing Olympic competitions again in London, the NBA-dominated United States team zoomed to its third consecutive victory in its six-nation Group A preliminary phase, a 156-73 blasting of African power Nigeria last August 2.

    While the Americans' smashing win set various Olympic men's basketball records, it was far short of the hundreds of records that the Fabulous Four from Liverpool, England collectively known as the Beatles made and accomplished during their musical heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    In the lopsided game, forward Carmelo Anthony came off the bench to collect a U.S. team Olympic record-setting 37 points in a mere 14 minutes to shatter fellow one-time New York Knick Stephon Marbury’s 31-point performance in the U.S.’s 102-94 quarterfinal success over Spain during the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    En route to his 37-point feast, the 6-8 Anthony went 13-for-16 from the field, including 10-for-12 from beyond the three-point arc that is a foot-and-a-half shorter than the NBA’s. He bettered by six points the old U.S. Olympic mark held by Marbury, a 6-2 guard who this year powered the Beijing Ducks to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) title over the seven-time champion Guangdong Southern Tigers and earned Finals MVP honors in the process.

    Team USA’s 83-point victory against Nigeria obliterated its own Olympic single-game winning mark of 72 (101-29) against Thailand in the 1956 Rome Games.

    The U.S.’s 156-point total is a new Olympic mark, breaking Brazil’s 138 points against Egypt (85) in a first-round game during the 1988 Seoul Games.

    The Yanks’ 29 three-pointers (out of 46 attempts) also are a new Olympic record.

    Nonetheless, Team USA's 83-point winning margin over Nigeria is not the biggest in Olympic men's basketball history. **Korea and China each beat Iraq by 100 points during the 1948 London Games.

    Meanwhile, Anthony and LeBron James, who as one-year NBA veterans secured a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics and a gold during the 2008 Beijing Games, are currently seeing action in their third Olympics. *

    The only other three-time U.S. men’s basketball Olympian is Navyman David (The Admiral) Robinson, who brought home a bronze in Seoul in 1988 (as an amateur) and a gold in both the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
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