Monday, 14 October 2013 32 Comments
So we have a UAAP seniors basketball champion not named Ateneo. In Game 1, the odds weren’t in favor of the Green Archers. They fumbled in the final minutes. They lost their composure. UST was the better team in Game 1. Even without pole position, I was still confident that DLSU can pull it off by declaring it on the air during the ANC news segment of Hardball with Boyet Sison.
In their 2nd encounter, the Green Archers, pushed the ball, used their size advantage, pounded on the glass and were in full control all the way to the finish. In their final colossal series, the Green Archers captured their 8th UAAP Basketball title since joining the league in 1986 and their 1st since Season 70.
The Green Archers are a very patient team. The Growling Tigers finished the half with an 8-point lead, with an 8-2 advantage in turnover points, a 10-5 edge on turnovers and a 13-8 disparity in the Offensive Rebounding department. It looked like the Green Archers were doomed but not quite. DLSU mounted a late 3rd quarter surge that spanned 4 minutes until the early 4th period. A 13-2 spark led by Jeron Teng with threes from Thomas Torres and Almond Vosotros, taking advantage of Karim Abdul’s misses for 5 defensive rebounds to ignite their early offense.
The 4th quarter had 7 lead changes and 3 deadlocks. At this point, it had the word classic written all over it.
Jeron Teng also had his share of blunders at crucial junctures. With 6.1 seconds left, he elected to pass to a streaking Van Postal who was about to go the rebound in case he missed but eneded up throwing the ball away for another UST possesion and then another involving a failed post feed with the DLSU center at the 1:19 mark in overtime.
Jeric Teng also tried to carry his team’s weight on his shoulders as he muscles his way at the post for a turn around, pull up jumper over the out-stretched arms of Vosotros, giving them a slight 2-point cushion at the bottom of the extra period.
Later, Aljon Mariano fouled Jeron Teng but split his free throws for a 1-point UST lead.
Almond Vosotros was 3 of 7 from the field including 1 of 4 from beyond the arc but was not discouraged. He was the final recipient of another Jeron Teng bait but this time he bailed him out.
Vosotros faked for a three, had one dribble to escape Bautista and Jeron Teng at the wing, for that pull up midrange jumper to put them in the driver’s seat 70-69 with 10 seconds left. He had nothing going for him in the 4th quarter and had only 2 field goals in the extra period including that shot attempt that mattered.
Abdul took matters into his own hands by twice by challenging this season’s most improved player to no avail.
The other was his coast to coast dribble for a lay-up attempt after a split from the stripe by LA Revilla that went out-of-bounds when the ball was slapped away by Jeron Teng.
It looked like it hit Abdul’s knee before it went out-of-bounds with 2.3 seconds remaining when the officials ruled that UST will regain possession.
On Mariano’s debacle
With 40 seconds left in the final quarter, Mariano’s strong left hand move towards the basket solicited a foul from Jeric Teng in the act of shooting. He made both pressure packed free throws that iced the game at 65-all.
At the bottom of the overtime period, after Jeron Teng’s split from the free throw line, Mariano committed a disastrous turnover when confronted by Van Postal in the backcourt after defensive rebound off a loose ball. Once you freeze the action, you can dissect he had two options, he can hold the ball and wait for a point guard, in this case either, Clark Bautista or Jeric Teng, to bring the ball down towards their front court, remember, the Green Archers have the option here to foul and stop the clock or dribble the basketball himself to create space then make a pass to an open teammate.
The veteran that carried the Growling Tigers in crucial turns thru much of their Season 75 campaign, had a mental lapse that eventually led to an errant pass towards a moving Kevin Ferrer. That was crucial. In my opinion, it was an honest mistake made by a player under duress. We’ve seen him make those plays especially at the clutch. Everybody would want Jeric Teng to have final say, Mariano had space and could’ve win it for the Growling Tigers. His shot had good line but didn’t have the trajectory to make it thru the rim.
UST also became desparate, they fell in love with the three and hoisting at will instead of taking it strong to the hoop. In the 4th period, they were 1 of 5 from 3-point range then went 0-4 in overtime. So Mariano is not the only player to blame for UST’s collapse, they play together, the fail together. It’s just not fair.
Amidst the controversy and social media bullying, this game was a down the wire, gut-wrenching, cardiac finish we’ve all wanted.
The Green Archers deserved the accolade. They were very patient, methodical and was the more potent team. Coach Juno Sauler has done a great job in controlling the emotions of his players in times of adversity. If you recall, history didn’t favor DLSU when they lost Game 1.
Their 1st game of the series was their first and only loss since the start of the 2nd round.
The silver lining, a Championship.