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    University of Santo Tomas lost a golden opportunity to snatch the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball crown last Saturday and it has only itself to blame.

    The Growling Tigers embraced coach Pido Jarencio’s battlecry of “puso” all right. But at crunch time, they experienced a mental meltdown and failed to utilize their “utak.”

    Here was graduating Jeric Teng, UST’s meal ticket who was in the final game of his distinguished five-year UAAP tenure and having the hot hands throughout the three-game finals.

    Unbelievably, and unfortunately, Teng’s teammates did not trust Teng enough to give him the rock in their potential game-winning – and title-clinching offensive play – neither at regulation time nor in overtime.

    How could have they done that to their team skipper? Here was Jeric, who was laboring throughout his farewell campaign due to a pair of major injuries (God bless National University’s Joeffrey Javillonar!), missing seven games till midway through the double-round elimination phase but courageously willed his team back into playoff contention with 17 points and nine rebounds against Ateneo in the elims’ final game to gain the final Final 4 ticket and oust the five-time defending league titlist Blue Eagles and put together a 19-point, five-rebounds, 4-assist performance in the second and deciding semifinals triumph over top seed National University that rewarded UST with the first finals appearance by a fourth-seeded school in UAAP Final Four history.

    Injured veteran Aljon Mariano played so badly for UST in the three-game titular series, going just 2-9-3 in point production for a frigid 4.7-point average. Sure, he was also shadowing DLSU’s double-double (points/rebounds) threat Jason Perkins but he also significantly struggled with his shooting with an inept .179 (5-for-2 overall field-goal clip (1-for-8, 4-for-12 and 0-for-.

    Jarencio took a gamble by replacing Mariano with burly Paulo Pe in the starting lineup in the series-deciding Game Three but it went for naught. Pe fouled out early and Mariano remained mired in a slump.

    Mariano, who according to a UST source, rode to the UST campus with a brand-new Hondo CRV five days before Game Three, could not even throw the rock into the ocean as he shot oh-so-pitiful 0-for-8 from the field.

    That included the top-of-the-key jumper that he misfired horribly during the final offensive play of regulation (6.1 seconds) after demanding that his teammates clear out for his botched attempt at heroism.

    All the while, Teng was free at the left corner as his DLSU defender and younger brother Jeron only had one hand up (while halfway looking to double-team an inside foe).

    Coach Jarencio simply starched his head following the mental mistake by Mariano, whose turnover in Game One nearly cost UST the game (La Salle missed a pair of shots in the final 30 seconds, including one by LA Revilla that was blocked by Karim Abdul at the buzzer, to preserve the Tigers’ 73-72 win).

    In overtime, UST was still ahead by one point, 69-68, with 30 ticks left, when Mariano threw a wild pass to Kevin Ferrer following Jeron Teng’s free-throw miss, giving ball possession back to La Salle. The Green Archers capitalized on their good fortune as Almond Vosotros hesitated for a three with a fake and the moved closer for a two-pointer that returned the upperhand for his team, 70-69, with 19.7 seconds left.

    Vosotros’s twinner turned out to the game winner as Abdul subsequently missed three straight fielders, including one with 2.3 seconds remaining.

    According to UST assistant coach Estong Ballesteros, Jarencio designed the final play that was not intended for Jeric (a judgment error to this Hoopster). Instead it was Jeric who inbounded the ball beneath La Salle’s basket (remember La Salle was the defender). Teng passed the ball to Abdul with the expectation that Abdul would give it back for a screen that would open up a triple by Jeric in the right corner.

    If Jarencio had, indeed, diagrammed a strategy that would have Jeric running into the other (left) corner (so little time to run to the other side after an inbound from the right with 2.3 ticks left), another shooter (perhaps Clark Bautista) should have already positioned in the right corner for a potential jumper off an Abdul screen.

    Instead, insanity struck Abdul as he himself hoisted a three-pointer that was way off the mark. Abdul had some luck making perimeter jumpers off DLSU’s Arnold Van Opstal during the game but for a 6-8 fella who was attempting just his ninth triple during the season but none in the first two games of the finals (he had two in Game Three), that was glaringly a poor shot selection. It certainly was not – and will never be – a good percentage shot. ...

    Updated 10-14-2013 at 04:17 PM by Henry Liao

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    Philippine Basketball

    For the newly-minted University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball titlist De La Salle University Green Archers, there’s the déjà vu feeling – a great resemblance to their 1999 finals’ conquest of their victims, the hard-luck University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

    Stunningly identical to its UAAP campaign one score and four years ago, La Salle also overcame a 0-1 series deficit in the best-of-three finals against UST this season before snatching its first league championship since 2007 with pulsating victories in the second and third games.

    It was scripted oh-so-perfectly, down to the last scene as a matter of fact. In the 1999 Game Three showdown, UST held a double-digit lead in the third quarterly before La Salle roared back to deadlock the count at 67-all and send the hotly-contested thriller into overtime. In the five-minute extension pulled off an epic 78-75 victory.

    Fast forward to the winner-take-all Game Three of the Season 76 finals classic, which was witnessed by an all-time UAAP record crowd of 23,305 fans at the two-year Mall of Asia Arena last Saturday.

    The Growling Tigers stormed to a 40-25 advantage with 6 minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter, limiting the Green Archers to just nine points in 13.5 minutes bridging the second and third quarters) with its suffocating defense and the Green Archers’ inept passing and shooting. (UST was up, 18-16, after the first quarter and 32-24 at halftime as Karim Abdul got 14 points and Jeric Teng scored 13 and had three triples.)

    Perhaps sensing the game was getting out of hand, and its title hopes slowly slipping away, La Salle, led by Jeron Teng, tightened up defensively and, in a jiffy, put together a 12-0 run, and even grabbed a 47-46 edge on a Thomas Torres trifecta before Tigers playmaker Jamil Sheriff had a last-second putback to conclude the third quarter with UST ahead, 48-47.

    The swift turnaround by DLSU changed the complexion of the game as tremendous pressure mounted on UST mentor Pido Jarencio’s troops the rest of the way. The “puso” in the Tigers was still there but its beat was now barely ticking.

    The fourth quarter still was a nip-and-tuck affair and UST was able to re-established some control with a 61-56 advantage with four minutes and 40 seconds left following a 54-54 tie. Again, La Salle quickly erased the five-point deficit and even took a 65-63 lead in the final seconds on a strong Jeron Teng drive. Aljon Mariano’s pair of free throws levelled the score at 65-all. Mariano misfired on a top-of-the-key jumper at the end of regulation time that would have given UST its first UAAP crown since 2006.

    In spite of tongue-wagging Kevin Ferrer’s ineptness from trifecta country, Mariano’s inability to create shots for himself throughout the series and Abdul’s sudden fondness for 15-foot jumpers after making several off DLSU man-mountain Arnold Van Opstal, the league’s Most Improved Player, UST still held the upperhand, 69-67, on fifth-year senior Jeric Teng’s jumper with 34 ticks remaining in overtime.

    But sophomore Jeron Teng, Jeric’s younger brother, split his free throws four seconds later. And after a miscue by UST’s Aljon Mariano, the Green Archers went to gunner Almond Vosotros, who knocked in the game-winning jumper for a 70-69 DLSU lead at the 26.7-second mark. A unsuccessful offense in the Growling Tigers’ next possession earned Luis Alfonso (LA) Revilla a trip to the foul line, where the graduating guard went 1-for-2 to increase the Green’s lead to two, 71-69, time down to 9.1 seconds.

    Two subsequent unproductive offensives by UST, including a unbelievable three-point attempt by Abdul at the end, and the Green Archers were left celebrating their first UAAP diadem in six seasons.

    For DLSU’s stoic bench maestro Juno Sauler, mimicking Jarencio’s successful rookie campaign with UST in 2006 was just more than a coincidence. A winner in 11 of the Green’s final 12 assignments (including a nine-game winning streak starting the second round of the elimination phase), Sauler is the first freshman coach to collect a UAAP title since 2006 when Jarencio steered the Growling Tigers past heavily-favored Ateneo de Manila University, 2-1, in the finals.

    Incidentally, it was the most recent time that an eventual champion had trailed 0-1 in the final series before Sauler and La Salle turned in the trick this season.

    Jeron Teng, whose aggressiveness and intense will to win the championship are immeasurable (especially in Game Two when La Salle had its back against the wall), collected a season record-tying 25 points (19 of them after the first half), eight rebounds and six assists in the decisive Game Three and went 7-for-9 from the free-throw line in the decisive Game Three. Deservedly so, the muscle-bound ...
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    Philippine Basketball

    Three academic years apart, did you know that the Teng brothers Jeric (UST and Jeron (DLSU) were once high school teammates for Xavier School in the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association?

    In 2009, the two prolific siblings helped guide the Xavier School Golden Stallions to the MMTLBA championship – the second of what would be a league record-setting “four-peat” title feat.

    Jeric was a HS senior and the Gold and Blue’s team skipper at the time. Jeron, on the other hand, was a in his freshman year.

    Xavier School finished with a perfect 9-0 record during the 2009 tournament. Some of the other players that suited up in the MTLBA that season were Jose Anton (Jett) Manuel, a Xavier School product who later saw action for the University of the Philippines in previous UAAP seasons; Isaac Lim, a Uno High School star who has worn the Ateneo de Manila University colors for the last two years and earned a UAAP title ring with the Blue Eagles in 2012; and Janrey Garrido, a Hope Christian HS star who was a member of UST’s 2012 UAAP team.

    In 2009, Jeric Teng led the MMTLBA in scoring for the second year in a row with a monstrous 39.3-point clip while winning league Most Valuable Player honors as well. He owned the top four single-game scoring performances in the league – an MMTLBA career-high 55 points vs. Chiang Kai Shek College (109-87), 52 vs. Hope Christian High School (120-43 in an opening-day game), 47 vs. St. Jude Catholic School (118-73) and 44 vs. Grace Christian College (91-87). All were registered in a span of 20 days in January.

    Jeric actually chalked up eight of the league’s top 10 scoring efforts, scorching the hoops for 35 and 32 and a pair of 31-pointers in a 2-0 finals sweep of St. Jude Catholic School, which was then bannered by Kim Lo, who’s now Jeric’s teammate with the UST Growling Tigers in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

    Just how explosive and dominant was Jeric Teng in his farewell MMTLBA tournament that season? The lowest output by the eldest son of Philippine Basketball Association alum Alvin (Robocop) Teng was 27 points against Uno High School.

    The first TL player to collect at least 50 points twice in the same season, Jeric also made 12 triples against Chiang Kai Shek College – an all-time MMTLBA record that remains unbroken until now.

    Meanwhile, Jeric’s younger brother Jeron averaged a pedestrian 10.6 points in nine appearances as a HS rookie. Jeron normed 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in the finals. The year before, as a seventh-grader, Jeron hit at a 34.1-point clip while powering Xavier School to the TL Aspirants crown with an unblemished 8-0 record.

    In 2010, Jeron succeeded Jeric as TL scoring king, a distinction that he would hold for three consecutive years until the completion of his of HS eligibility in 2012. A three-year XS teammate from 2010-12 was Kyles Lao, who this year joined Jeric (2009) and Jeron (2012) as a Rookie of the Year awardee in the UAAP.
    Philippine Basketball

    Will the result of the winner-take-all Game Three of the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament between the De La Salle Green Archers and the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers be a replica of the 1999 finals?

    Or will it be a different Cinderella-like ending for a No. 4 seed that has never before captured a title in the UAAP’s 76-year existence?

    De La Salle and UST will clash for the championship hardware on Saturday, October 13, in what is expected to produce a record-breaking attendance at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

    Since 1994, when the UAAP instituted the Final Four playoffs in men’s basketball, the two teams have battled each other in a best-of-three titular series a total of five times.

    This also marks the fourth time that their finals matchup has stretched to the maximum three games.

    In three of their four previous title encounters, the eventual winner bucked a series-opening setback by securing the second and their games.

    UST turned in the trick in 1994 and 1995 and La Salle repeated the feat in 1999, which was the last time the two teams had met before this season.

    In 1994, the Green Archers took the opener, 77-74, but the Growling Tigers bounced back to grab the next two games, 89-75 and 77-76.

    In 1995, La Salle again posted a 1-0 lead with an 88-78 victory but UST evened the series with a 66-62 decision in the second game and subsequently retained its UAAP crown for the third consecutive year with a 67-64 squeaker in the winner-take-all Game Three.

    The following campaign (1996), UST swept La Salle, 2-0, in the finals with scores of 65-60 and 57-54 (after the Green Archers won both elimination-round games) to claim the league diadem for the fourth year in a row under coach Aric del Rosario.

    Del Rosario, who’s now the head coach of the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the rival National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), still held the UST mentoring reins in 1999 when UST and La Salle faced each other a league-record six times that year.

    During the elims, UST triumphed in the first round, 61-59, but La Salle got back in the second, 78-69, to force a playoff with its victim for the No. 1 seed. In the playoff, the Green Archers registered an 84-79 victory to secure the top spot.

    Following semifinal wins over their respective foes, UST and La Salle once more clashed for the crown. UST topped the finals series opener, 62-60, but DLSU levelled the count with an 81-74 victory in the second game.

    In the sudden-death Game Three, La Salle edged UST, 78-75, in overtime to retain its UAAP title.

    UST had grabbed a sizeable double-digit lead through the first 35 minutes but La Salle slowly came roaring back as the Growling Tigers were plagued by turnovers and inept free-throw shooting (notably Gilbert Lao, who this season served as an assistant to rookie head mentor Nash Racela at fourth-place Far Eastern University) in the final minutes of regulation time.

    With less than three seconds left, and La Salle down by three points (67-64), Archers playmaker Dino Aldeguer, backstopped by hardworking center and two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Don Allado and streak-shooting Renren Ritualo, deadlocked the score (67-67) when he connected on a triple while being fouled.

    Aldeguer, though, missed the succeeding free throw and the game went into a five-minute extension, where La Salle outscored UST, 11-8.

    UST, by the way, is the most recent team to capture the UAAP championship after trailing 0-1 in the finals. This happened in 2006 when UST, under then-rookie Tigers bench boss Pido Jarencio, upset heavy favorite Ateneo de Manila University in three games. The year also marked the last time that UST had romped away with the crown.

    Statistically speaking, history favors UST in Saturday’s Game Three showdown against La Salle. During the Final Four era, 15 of the 19 previous teams that took the finals opener went on to annex the UAAP title. Then again, the four exceptions were recorded by UST (three times) and La Salle (once).

    NOTES – It’s very important to set the tone early in Game Three. A strong start will most likely lead to success as the first two games in the series have gone to teams that established solid leads in the early goings – UST in Game One (21-4) and La Salle in Game Two (36-19). The opposing side made a run or two at some point but fell short eventually … Don’t lose your focus when referees go amuck by calling quick fouls against your bigs or key men. For the bigs, let’s get physical but just make sure you don’t displease the almighty whistletooters by shouting “I love your mom” when fouls are called against you or none is ...
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    Philippine Basketball

    It boils down to which team wants the title more.

    Hard-hat cage observers like this Hoopster keenly await the winner-take-all Game Three of the best-of-three finals of the 2013 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament between the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers and De La Salle University Green Archers to be played on Saturday, October 12, at the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    Expect the MOA Arena to be rocking in the sea of yellow and green as a mammoth, record-setting crowd will be around to witness a blockbuster finish to Season 76.

    The UAAP Cheerdance Competitions last month drew 20,830 fans at the MOA Arena for the largest attendance ever in its two-year existence.

    Should the MOA Arena management decide to sell SRO (standing room only) tickets for aisle viewing from the arena’s roof-level sections (Upper B and General Admission), this year’s UAAP cage tournament will likely to surpass the record-breaking crowd of 23,037 that trooped to the world-famous Araneta Coliseum to watch the finals’ Game Two last Saturday during which La Salle evened the series at 1-1 with a hard-earned 77-70 decision over UST.

    An unproductive triple by the Green Archers gunner Almond Vosotros and a block by Tigers big man Karim Abdul of LA Revilla’s floater in the dying seconds of the series opener preserved UST’s spine-tingling 73-72 victory over La Salle last October 2.

    Buoyed its team’s Game One triumph, UST fans came in full force for Game Two. Nearly 70 percent of the MOA audience wore yellow tees in support of UST, which was seeking a 2-0 finals sweep and its first UAAP crown since 2006.

    The Growling Tigers faithful, though, went home disappointed. The Green Archers, who trailed for the last time at 12-10 on fifth-year UST skipper Jeric Teng’s triple midway through the first quarter, knocked in 13 unanswered points bridging the first and second quarters to move ahead, 23-12.

    La Salle never trailed thereafter, enjoying its biggest lead of 17 points, 36-19, midway through the second quarter. (Note: In UST’s Game One win, its largest lead was also 17 points, 21-4, in the first quarter.)

    The Green Archers were up, 41-33, at halftime, and increased their advantage to as many as 12 points early in the third period before UST came dangerously close at 44-43. Rookie coach Juno Sauler’s troops withstood the Tigers’ rally with a 6-0 run of their own for a 50-43 lead.

    With 73 seconds remaining in the third quarter, UST came within six points, 57-51.

    But all hell broke loose for when foul-troubled Kevin Ferrer was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul for kicking the rock after play was stopped to signal a jumpball. La Salle’s baby bear Norbert Torres, who finished with 16 points and 10 boards, connected on a pair of free throws and then completed a three-point play in DLSU’s next offense as the Taft Avenue-based unit moved out of harm’s way at 62-51 following the five-point swing.

    DLSU, which employed just seven players, led by no less than seven points the rest of the way. Down by 14 (77-63), UST scored the game’s final seven points to make the final count respectable.

    DLSU sophomore Jeron Teng was full of energy and intensity in Game Two that the 6-2 swingman could have played another 40 minutes. Willing his team to victory, the 2012 Rookie of the Year awardee chalked up a team-best 19 points, seven of them in the tone-setting first period, and a nice follow-up to his 15-point, seven-rebound effort.

    Defensively, Jeron also helped make life hard for lanky Kevin Ferrer, UST’s Game 1 hero with five triples and 20 markers who was limited to six points. A sore spot was his 3-for-9 free-throw shooting.

    Four guys scored in double figures for the Green Archers – Teng, Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal (13 points) and Almond Vosotros (11).

    Jeric, Jeron’s elder brother, chalked up a game-best 28 markers for UST for a 22.5 clip in the series. The Tigers’ lone Mythical Five selection Karim Abdul registered a double-double in Game One with 19 points and 12 boards but only had a pedestrian line of 13 and nine.

    Here are some significant factors that could decide the sudden-death Game Three winner:

    REBOUNDING – No rebounds, no rings. La Salle has outrebounded UST in both games – 44-43 in Game One and 57-39 in Game Two, including a 27-10 edge off the offensive glass that allowed the Green Archers to pick up 18 second-chance points (against UST’s six).

    OFFENSE – Undoubtedly Jeric Teng is UST’s meal ticket. Unfortunately, Aljon Mariano (5.5 ppg) has had a hard time shadowing newcomer Mythical Five choice Jason Perkins (9.0 ppg) so much so the wear and tear has affected his scoring ...
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    Philippine Basketball
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