Once the kings, now youthful De La Salle looks to reclaim the crown
Santino Honasan on Sep 03, 2015 04:30 PM
THE KING AND HIS COURT: King Archer Jeron Teng looks to bring De La Salle back to the top of the UAAP mountain
Just two seasons ago, the De La Salle Green Archers were on top of the UAAP basketball world.
They had a legitimate star in Jeron Teng, a handful of talented bigs in Arnold Van Opstal, Jason Perkins, and Norbert Torres, and a couple of sweet-shooting guards in Almond Vosotros and Thomas Torres.
They were all instrumental in leading De La Salle to the UAAP Season 76 crown, and with all of them coming back in Season 77, not the mention the talented pieces that surrounded this Green Archers core, they were the odds-on favorites for the crown as Season 77 started.
And then, Thomas Torres went down. Soon after, Van Opstal followed suit.
De La Salle was not as dominant as they would have hoped to be, and they were not as dominant as people thought they would be in Season 77, but they were still among the league’s elite.
And despite not owning a single win over Far Eastern University during the eliminations and even in the seeding playoffs, the defending champions pushed the Tamaraws to the brink in the semifinals, until Mac Belo sank the shot that ended DLSU’s hopes for a title repeat.
But all of that was last season, and as the saying goes, there no point in crying over spilled milk, or in this case, made buzzer-beaters. Even the King Archer found meaning in last year’s painful loss.
“That’s the game of basketball eh, anything can happen. Siguro God’s will na din na natalo kami, so we can come back stronger this year,” Teng told ABS-CBN Sports.
This season, a younger, smaller DLSU team will be wearing the green and white.
Almond, Norbert, and Tayshaun Andrada have all moved on to the pros, while last year’s co-captain Arnold has opted to sit out his final playing year due to a nagging injury. Also out for the season is point guard Kib Montalbo, who suffered an ACL injury in an offseason tournament.
It's important to note that Almond, Norbert, and Arnold were three of the team's top-five scorers, all averaging in double-digits per game.
Perennial MVP candidate Jeron Teng will still be there, so will Jason Perkins and a healthy Thomas Torres. These three are last remnants of the title-winning team back in Season 76.
Joining the three seniors are key returnees in sophomore sensation Prince Rivero, who you can expect to have a bigger role on the team this season, as well as the likes of Julian Sargent and Abu Tratter, who will certainly be sparks for the Green Archers.
If there’s anything that the Archers are rich with this year, it’s definitely new faces. There will be nine new rooks on the team, bannered by highly-touted recruits Joshua Torralba, Andrei Caracut, and Jolo Go, as well as young bigs in Larry Muyang, Daryl Pascual, and Leo Joson, who are expected to step up, with the departure of three of last year’s rotation big men.
Torralba and Caracut displayed their talent during the offseason tournaments, and if their performances are any indication of what to expect from the new kids on the block, then the La Salle faithful have a lot to be excited about.
“It’s gonna be a different look from the past years, you might see something new with shooters. We might surprise people out there. You’re gonna see a lot of young faces out there, and you’re gonna see team work, team effort. We’re gonna be working as a team, ‘cause that’s the only way we can win.” Torralba told ABS-CBN Sports.
Season 78 is merely days away, and when the Archers set foot on the Mall of Asia Arena hardwood on September 6, they obviously won’t be the same team that they were last year, or two years ago, but their goal remains the same, and that’s to bring back the tropy to Taft Avenue.
Not too long ago the kings, can De La Salle return to the promised land this season?
LAST SEASON BY THE NUMBERS
72.5 - is the number of POINTS PER GAME that DLSU scored, good for third in the league.
47.2 - The Green Archers grabbed this many REBOUNDS PER GAME, which led the UAAP.
15.1 - The Green Archers also led the league in ASSISTS PER GAME.
17.6 - Jeron Teng was the league's second best scorer, behind only MVP Kiefer Ravena
10.2 - Jason Perkins was the league's best rebounder.
The De La Salle Green Archers open UAAP Season 78 on Sunday, September 6 against the defending champions NU Bulldogs. Catch it LIVE, 12 noon on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23 and BALLS HD 167!
Catch the UAAP every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23 and BALLS HD 167!