Get That Ball

13 10 2007

Get That Ball


“One Ring to rule them all”

8 10 2007

UAAP Weekly – The Finals Season 70

5 10 2007

Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo talk about Game 1 of the UAAP Season 70 Finals between the University of the East Red Warriors vs. the De La Salle University Green Archers. DLSU now 1-0 in this best of 3 series.

Fearless Forecast: 80-20

4 10 2007

MY fearless forecast for this year’s UAAP finals is 80-20 percent in favor of UE.

70 percent for the University of the East because it has a 14-0 record – the first ever sweep accomplished by a team since the new final four format was introduced in 1994.

If you look back on the old UE team in 2002, with superstars James Yap, Niño KG Canaleta, Ronald Tubid, Paul Artadi and Olan Omiping still around, you cannot imagine the team will miss the title.

Ironically, that team, under Boyzie Zamar, had lost the title after bowing to Ateneo in the Final Four.

For this season, the Red Warriors have no “superstars” but effective role players. They have executed their game to near perfection.

20 percent for La Salle because lady luck is still in the air no matter what happens. It is still anybody’s ball game when you put this into the equation.

The Red Warriors, under head coach and ex-pro Dindo Pumaren, have been fully rested for weeks since defeating the Green Archers of Franz in overtime, 94-82, last September 13.

The Green Archers, perhaps emotionally drained in their last two games against tough Ateneo, are expecting to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle to snatch a win against a well-rested UE in their best-of-three finals series.

Even if La Salle will luckily win in Game 1, it still can’t be told. But if that happens, La Salle will hold a huge advantage.

Aside from its long lay-off, UE, which won its last crown in 1985-1986, has so many advantages to win its 19th Senior Men’s title.

The Red Warriors, on the offensive end, have topped the scoring department (1,193) ahead of De La Salle (1,133) in the end of the elimination round.

They also led in field-goal percentage (43.6 percent), three-point field goals (34.6), and assists (18.8). They are also second in two-point field goals (46.8), free throws (65.5 percent) and rebounds (694).

In defense, UE allowed its opponent to a league leading 69.1 points.

While La Salle gave up the ball only 215 times, topping the league. They are also second in steals with 84.

Both the Red Warriors and the Green Archers are tied in fast break points at 212, while UE scored more turnover points (308) than La Salle (272).

Mark Borboran tops the team in scoring with 10.7 points and has a decent three-point shot (35.6 percent).

Kelvin Gregorio is the team’s second-leading scorer with 10.1 points with a 4.3 rebounding average. Parri Llagas averages 7.3 points, mostly from inside the shaded area.

UE has a deeper bench too—with Paul Lee, Hans Thiele, Rudy Lingganay and Mark Fampulme contributing.

Guard James Martinez will definitely be sniping from the three-point area (41 percent), while Marcy Arellano will also provide the extra numbers (9.1 points, 3rd on the team and a team-high 3.9 assists).

But if the De La Salle Green Archers can double their effort offensively and defensively, chances to score an upset and capture its 7th UAAP crown remain a possibility.

JV Casio leads De La Salle in scoring with 15.0 points, and Tang is expected to use his ability to look for the open man as he leads the team in assists with 4.0.

Rico Maierhofer is the Green Archers’ second-leading scorer with 11.9 points and leads the team in rebounding with 8.6. Cholo Villanueva, the Green Archers’ emotional leader, has averaged 9.9 points, including 13 points in their last game against Ateneo.

UAAP Weekly October 2, 2007

2 10 2007

Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo talks about the Final 3 series – UST vs. Ateneo, the Ateneo vs. La Salle dual face off for the 2nd Finals Slot and the UAAP Finals featuring the UE Red Warriors and the De La Salle University Green Archers.

I Am Not Going Anywhere….YET!

30 09 2007

Ateneo played a gritty game and wanted to take no chances. After a slow start and allowing La Salle to take an early 7 point lead, the Blue Eagles just would not give up and even overtook La Salle in the first quarter. La Salle however came back and ended the quarter ahead by 1 point.

With Norman Black looking for combinations to match up against La Salle’s sticky defense Ateneo could just not find a way to break it. But Ateneo kept La Salle scoreless in the first 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter and took the lead which they managed to keep……wait….what am I doing here?

Forget this politically correct write-up I was going to make. In front of a crowd of more than 23,000 people, La Salle won the game 65-60 and is now in the finals. HOW SWEET IT IS! First it was 2 is better than 1. Now it’s 2 is better than 3.

Coach Franz Pumaren promised a victory and the whole Lasallian community got what we wanted. Pumaren outcoached a befuddled Norman Black, who just could not find a combination to break the patent Franz Pumaren defense. Black was given a lesson on the difference between college and PBA coaching.

There were 2 things La Salle did today that made a difference. The first and foremost was excellent game clock management and second the players executed what the coach instructed.

When the 2 minute mark was called by the barker and La Salle up by 7, the tension on the La Salle side was so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

It was the best end game that the Green Archers had played all year. They did not hurry the shot and took the ball to the basket. With less than a minute to go and La Salle up by 5, Ateneo’s Baclao hits a 3 that cut the lead to 2.

The turning point of the game was when La Salle was up by 2, takes a shot and Pocholo Villanueva grabbing the offensive rebound. He brought the ball back to midcourt before running down the clock and then making the 2 pointer from the side. Ateneo couldn’t get a basket on their offense and La Salle would get the defensive rebound.

This is where Black really messed up. Ateneo was not in penalty. When a team is down by 5 with 2 minutes to go, the team behind should be in penalty because it is the only way you can get the ball back. La Salle is known for its foul shooting woes but Black could not take advantage of it. When Ateneo finally committed 3 successive fouls to get into penalty, they fouled OJ Cua, who missed both his shots. But it was too late. Ateneo could not make a shot. They fouled JV Casio and he hit his 2 foul shots.

After his awful last game, Pocholo Villanueva finally showed the leadership and experience that was expected of him. He was the player who managed that game clock in the end game. TY Tang took Villanueva’s cue and masterfully directed the offense.

Also having a great game was PJ Walsham. He did not take bad shots but instead concentrated on rebounds and defending the inside, which is what that bulk and size he has is best put to use. He kept Ford Arao stifled and ineffective.

Bader Malabes, though offensively still a feast or famine player, made up for it on the defensive end by taking Chris Tiu totally out of sync. Tiu just could not break free as Malabes stuck to him like bread on butter.

Two players who also gave quality minutes were OJ Cua and Ferdinand. Cua hit some clutch shots in the early going and stood his ground on defense. Ferdinand, who is becoming my favorite player, is a boy in a man’s body but today he showed that he will be a vital cog in La Salle’s future.

Not to be forgotten are TY Tang, JV Casio and Rico Maeirhofer. Tang, who took the entire 2 rounds of the regular season to finally break out had fire in his eyes today. From the opening toss you could see he wanted this game more than anyone else.

The mild mannered Casio, who has been nursing a injury for the last 3 games, may not have hit most his step back 3s but it was the intangibles that made him so effective. His gutsy drives to the basket and his pesky defense will make Salamat and Escueta have nightmares for days to come.

Rico Maierhofer, who was playing with a severely sprained ankle, fought for the rebounds and made the inside plays when it counted. His presence alone under the basket is enough to intimidate the offense.

Lastly, what can one say about Coach Franz Pumaren? Every time they count him out, he pulls a rabbit out the hat. Everytime he has lemons, he makes great tasting lemonade. This team was counted out. Some were calling for his head. But he just keeps finding a way to make La Salle a consistent powerhouse in the UAAP.

This will be a season that Ateneo can call the “WHAT IF SEASON”. What if they beat FEU in the first round? What if they beat NU in their last game? What if they won one of those close games against UE? What if it would not have been a step ladder but a Final Four? What if they won today? The fact of the matter is that they now have a year to think about their season while La Salle is in the finals.

To many of us proud Lasallians, this is one year that winning the finals will be icing on the cake.


Ateneo Dual Meet Champs, 3-2, but missed UAAP Season 70 Finals

30 09 2007

Cholo Villanueva, before saying goodbye to the UAAP, assured everybody that there will be a family feud in the finals of the 70th UAAP men’s basketball tournament.

Villanueva delivered the key baskets in the final period as De La Salle University bamboozled Ateneo De Manila University, 65-60, for a title-showdown with unbeaten University of the East last September 30, 2007 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-2 combo guard Villanueva, playing his last year in the UAAP, fired 9 of his 13 points in the pivotal fourth quarter with one crucial offensive rebound in the same period to seal the victory that mattered most.

“This is my last Ateneo game because I’m a graduating student,” said Villanueva, who shot 5-of-8 in the two-point field. “So I really want to make this game very, very memorable, and I did.”

After Villanueva’s lay up that provided the Green Archers their biggest advantage, 55-46, with 5:29 minutes to go in the last quarter, Eric Salamat scored on a three-point play to trim down the Blue Eagles’ deficit to 55-49 with 4:56 minutes to go.

But Villanueva stretched the La Salle advantage to nine, 58-49, after firing a triple with 4:19 minutes left in the game.

Despite Ateneo’s effort to reduce the deficit to 55-60 in the last two-minute mark, Villanueva, again, came up with an answer by hitting a jumper to give La Salle a 62-55 cushion with a minute remaining.

The Blue Eagles, still resisting, had narrowed the gap to only two, 60-62, after Clifford Arao scored on two free throws and Severino Baclao made a triple with 11 seconds left.

Ateneo’s attempts to come back were futile as it absorbed two turnovers, forcing them to send Joseph Casio and Rico Maierhofer to the free throw line.

Casio converted both free throws and Maierhofer split his charities with few seconds remaining before the buzzer.

“I guess two is better than three,” said La Salle mentor Franz Pumaren, referring to the Green Archers’ three losses and two wins against archrival Ateneo this season. “I told my players that they worked hard for this so they deserved to be in the finals.”

Ateneo extended the series to a do-or-die game after winning last September 27 via a 65-64 squeaker through Chris Tiu’s breakaway lay up.

Tiu, who only had 10 points, scored only two points in the final period due to La Salle’s outstanding defense.

“We learned our mistake in our previous losses to Ateneo particularly last week,” said Pumaren. “I’m glad we are able to solve the Ateneo puzzle.”

It looked like La Salle had prepared an effective game plan this time as it controlled the game the rest of the way after leading the first (16-14), second (29-26) and third (48-43) quarters.

After they were out-rebounded last Thursday (Sept. 27), 41-29, the Green Archers, this time, had 51 rebounds – including 19 offensive rebounds – against 36 for the Blue Eagles and registered only 6 offensive rebounds.

Also in their previous game, Ateneo registered 23-out-of-49 (46.9%) from the field against La Salle’s 22-out-of-63 (34.9%) to help them stretch the series.

But this time, La Salle hit 27-out-of-73 (37%) total field goals while Ateneo made only 18-out-of-56 (32.1%).

Playmaker Tyrone Tang had 12 points, including two triples, while Maierhofer added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Casio had a spectacular performance with 10 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Arao paced Ateneo with 14 points and Salamat finished with 10.

Franz Pumaren will face younger brother Dindo, head coach of the University of the East Red Warriors in Game one of their best-of-three Finals, called by many as the league’s newest ‘family feud’, on Thursday (October 4).

“He wished me good luck,” said Franz Pumaren when asked by reporters regarding Dindo’s message before this game. “I think we will talk after the season is over (he laughs).”

Individual scores:

La Salle 65: Villanueva 13, Tang 12, Maierhofer 12, Casio 10, Malabes 5, Atkins 5, Walsham 4, Ferdinand 2, Cua 2, Mangahas 0, Barua 0, Co 0.

Ateneo 60: Arao 14, Salamat 10, Tiu 10, Baclao 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Reyes 5, Long 4, Baldos 2, Escueta 2, Monfort 0, Laterre 0.

Quarter scoring: 16-14, 29-26, 48-43, 65-60