UAAP Weekly – The Finals

8 10 2007

UAAP Weekly with Charlie Cuna, Kim Lesaca and Mike Abasolo analyze about the University of the East Red Warriors and De La Salle Green Archers Championship series

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“One Ring to rule them all”

8 10 2007





May I Offer You Some Cake?

7 10 2007

LA SALLE WINS ITS 7TH TITLE ON THE 7TH DAY OF OCTOBER 2007 IN THE 7TH DECADE OF THE UAAP WHICH HAD ITS FIRST GAME ON JULY 7, 2007.

This is a UAAP season that would drive a mathematician crazy. The equations are not right. The team that should didn’t and the team that shouldn’t did. Beating Ateneo twice in 5 games, the Green Archers get to the finals. Today, 2 straight was far better than 14 straight. La Salle had an overall record of 13 – 6 while UE had 14-2, but La Salle wins the most coveted prize in Philippine college basketball, the UAAP Men’s Senior Basketball Crown.

Even before the game began, the La Salle gallery showed class by cheering each player who was given an individual award. From “Go USTE, Go USTE” for Jervy Cruz and Japs Cuan then “NU, NU, NU” for Edwin Asoro and “Go Ateneo” for Chris Tiu (represented by his brother Charles), the La Salle gallery just showed what sportsmanship is all about.

The game started out slow with both teams missing its first few shots. After splitting a pair of free throws, La Salle scores the first point. All of sudden UE scores 8 straight points. Coach Franz immediately calls a timeout and when the Green Archers come back on the floor, they slowly chip at the lead. They force the Warriors to turnover after turnover and most importantly they do not UE to control the boards. Casio ends the quarter with drive. The quarter ends 15 -11. That was UE’s lowest 1st quarter output all season. La Salle would never relinquish the lead

The 2nd quarter was a different La Salle team that came on the court. They looked determined while UE looked tentative. Even the coaching staff of UE looked uncertain.

La Salle played defense that made it impossible UE to get into a groove. On the other hand La Salle’s offense was picture perfect. They took their time on the offense and their patience paid off. It was a classic case of a mature team outthinking and outplaying a team that has never been to the finals.

La Salle starts to build a lead. They have the momentum and force UE to take bad shots After UE’s Marcy Arellano scores a 3, La Salles’s PJ Barua takes it back with a 3 of his own.

Then UE starts to crumble. La Salle is not intimidated by UE’s size. They bring the ball inside and just break down UE’s defense. La Salle runs the ball and UE just can’t find a way to stop it. Maeirhofer is unstoppable in rebounds and scoring, making 7 straight points,

Midway through the 2nd quarter, La Salle takes an 8 point lead, the largest margin of the series. But they weren’t done yet. UE just self destructs. They were held scoreless for 5 minutes.

When Pocholo Villanueva hits a dipsy doo shot, the Green Archers took the first double digit deficit lead that UE has experienced all season. Not one in the UE players could find his rhythm, even from the foul line. The most telling sign was that unlike Game 1, La Salle controlled the rebounds. More surprising was that the rebound leader at this point was Kish Co,

With La Salle up by 14, UE finally hits a 3, but PJ Barua again takes it back with his own 3. Rico Maierhofer makes the final point of the quarter and La Salle takes an 11 point lead, 34 – 23 at the half. The 23 points of UE was the 2nd lowest output of any team this UAAP season and the lowest of this regular season unbeaten team. UE made only 9 out of 23 shots and La Salle outrebounds UE 34 -22.

The 3rd quarter starts off with UE scoring 10 straight points and brings the lead down to 1. But it is obvious that La Salle does not panic. La Salle does not score for 5 minutes but when Pocholo Villanueva finally scores, UE just can’t keep up. Casio hits an under goal stab, is fouled and makes his shot. La Salle pulls away again by 6.

Coach Dindo Pumaren keeps shuffling his players. Coach Franz does not fall for it. He stays with his veterans. Every time UE makes a move, La Salle stops them on their tracks. It was all about composure. La Salle did not allow UE to dictate the tempo.

I was really surprised by the hustle of Kish Co. He was a man possessed. He averages 2 rebounds a game yet today he had 10 in the first half alone. But the most unbelievable statistic in the 3rd quarter was that La Salle committed zero, wala, nada, turnovers. I don’t think I have ever seen that in any game I have ever watched.

The 3rd quarter ends with La sale on top 52 – 45. Again the 45 points of UE was the lowest they have scored in the 3rd quarter this season.

The last quarter starts with UE’s James Martinez and Mark Borboran hitting 3s. But JV Casio retaliates with a 3 of his own followed by Villanueva’s 2.

La Salle just stays focused while UE is starting to panic. They don’t look like the team that they were in the regular season.

Pocholo Villanueva, playing in his last season, takes over. He steers the team to play smart basketball. He shoots, he hustles, and plays great defense.

With 4 minutes to go, La Salle is up by 6. Only UE’s Paul Lee shows some spark. UE brings the lead down to 2.

Again, the turnovers just kills UE. La Salle’s transition defense just does not allow UE to set-up. They just can’t find a way to tie the score. After Casio splits his free throws, UE commits its 21st turnover.

With 2 minutes to go and La Salle up by 3, UE can’t buy a basket even from under the goal. Tang takes the rebound and gets the 5th foul from Paul Lee. Tang makes both foul shots, giving La Salle a 5 point lead with 1:48 to go.

In UE’s next possession, Mark Borboran misses both his foul shots and Maeirhofer gets his 10th rebound. In La Salle’s next possession, JV Casio hits a shot with no time left on the shot clock.

La Salle is up by 7 with 51 seconds to go. UE’s Marcy Arellano runs the ball down and makes a quick 2. With La Salle up by 5 and 45 seconds to go, Coach Dindo calls for an intentional foul. This was a big mistake by Coach Dindo. There was too much time left and hitting both foul shots would give La Salle a 3 possession game. Casio hits both and the game is all but over.

Arellano drives and misses an open under goal stab. UE takes a 3 and misses but they are fouled and splits the foul shots. With 28 seconds to go La Salle gets the rebound and OJ Cua is fouled. He makes both and La Salle leads by 8. UE gets the ball back but can’t even make a lay-up.

Casio is fouled and splits his free throws. The final foul shots are made by Rico Maeirhofer and La Salle wins the game and the championship 73 – 64.

The Finals MVP was awarded to both Pocholo Villanueva and JV Casio.

It is the sweetest championship for the Green Archers. From suspension to champion. From being doubted to being validated as the best team in the league.

It was a total team effort. The veterans were expected to perform but they were ably supported by the heads up play by the virtual unknowns in Barua, Kish Co, Mangahas, Ferdinand, Atkins and Malabes. If this were a play, it was a perfect script.

But the man of the hour is Coach Franz Pumaren. He has undoubtedly proven to be the best collegiate coach. He has become our version of John Wooden of UCLA who won countless championships in the US version of the NCAA. The best thing about Coach Franz is that he enjoys college basketball and from the looks of it has no plans to go pro.

On TV, even Kobe Bryant, whose father and former NBA star Joe is a La Salle alumnus, congratulated the La Salle team with an ANIMO LA SALLE!

Anyone care for a slice of cake with delicious green icing?

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UAAP Season 70 Finals: Green Archers breaks Red Warriors’ heart

7 10 2007

From suspension to champion.

After a year of absence, La Salle, unexpectedly, regained its throne in the 70th UAAP Senior Men’s basketball tournament last October 7, 2007.

The De La Salle University Green Archers has done the improbable in a best-of-three championship series by completing a two-game sweep – a 73-64 win in Game two – over the University of the East Red Warriors at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers, armed with a one-game advantage, used the free throw territory as its main course particularly in the fourth quarter, supplied long-time mentor Franz Pumaren his fifth UAAP title since 1998.

The Green Archers now have seven overall UAAP titles since joining the league in 1986.

“I won several championships in the past but it is bittersweet for me because I know now how it feels to beat your brother,” said Pumaren, also a Quezon City councilor. “If I can share half of our trophy, I can give it to UE because they also deserve it.”

“Cholo (Villanueva) is terrific, especially in the last three games including our playoff game against Ateneo while you should also give credit to TY (Tang),” he said. “Our championship experience did it for us.”

“They could have been playing now in the commercial leagues but they decided to stay with us, it’s so priceless to win a championship.”

University of the East, with a 14-0 record going into this series, performed fairly well in the defensive end but had 21 turnovers – including two in the final three minutes – that cost them the run for the title.

The Red Warriors also gave up 28 fouls, giving the Green Archers the opportunity to register 27-of-36 shots from the foul line. La Salle committed 18 fouls and UE only recorded 5-of-14 attempts from the free throw line.

UE committed a season-high 31 turnovers to drop Game one via a single point, 64-63.

After racing to a 15-11 lead in the first period, La Salle’s big man Rico Maierhofer and Peejay Barua merged for 14 points in the second quarter to ignite the Green Archers’ blistering 19-12 burst and earned their biggest lead by halftime, 34-23.

The Red Warriors tried as many times to trim down the gap in the 3rd quarter. With Kelvin Gregorio, Paul Lee and Mark Borboran at the helm, the Red Warriors were very close trailing by 1, 33-34 after 4 1/2 minutes of play in the 3rd. UE again had another run courtesy of Elmer Espiritu and Jorel Canizares for a 3-point deficit, 43-46, with 1:16 minutes to go. But the Green Archers had an answer to every UE rally.

In the final quarter, when Mark Borboran drained a long trey at the left flank to come closer at 51-52 with 8:31 minutes remaining, La Salle countered with a 9-4 run initiated by Casio’s triple and baskets from Villanueva and Tang to stretch back the lead, 61-55, with 5:21 minutes left in regulation.

UE’s combo guard Paul Lee scored two straight baskets to keep everything in striking distance, 59-61, with 2:05 minutes left in the last quarter. But Tang and Casio had their eyes focused on the prize anew and extended the edge, 66-59, with 51 seconds left.

From there, the Red Warriors lost control and could do nothing. La Salle’s gallery was celebrating chanting the Animo cheer.

Joseph Casio, who had 14 points (15 points in the 2nd half) shared the Finals MVP honors with Cholo Villanueva contributing 17 points for La Salle.

Maierhofer had 11 points – nine from the charity stripe – and grabbed 11 boards. While TY Tang had 8 points.

Borboran and Lee made 12 points each for UE, while Kelvin Gregorio added 11 points.

Individual Scores:

DLSU (73) – Casio 17, Villanueva 14, Maierhofer 11, Tang 8, Co 6, Barua 6, Malabes 5, Cua 2, Mangahas 2, Walsham 2, Atkins 0, Ferdinand 0.

UE (64) – Borboran 12, Lee 12, Gregorio 11, Cañizares 8, Martinez 8, Arellano 5, Espiritu 5, Fampulme 3, Lingganay 0, Bandaying 0, Llagas 0, Thiele 0.

Quarter Scores: 15-11; 34-23; 52-45; 73-64





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.





Will The Icing Follow?

4 10 2007

It was a festive day of green and red at the Araneta Coliseum. As the crowds were starting to come, it felt different from the energy that was present in last Sunday’s La Salle – Ateneo game. There was excitement from the La Salle crowd because it is the Finals but it didn’t have the tension that was in everyone’s faces in the last game.

The UE fans on the other hand were eager to get the game started. They had been waiting for 20 days and their wait was compounded by the high intensity level of the last 2 La Salle – Ateneo games. After all, they did win 14 straight games to automatically capture the 1st Finals berth but this seemed overshadowed by the playoff games for that 2nd seat.

During the warm-ups, I noticed that the UE Red Warriors were focused, maybe too focused or what we call “gigil”. The Green Archers on the other hand looked more relaxed having just played 2 back to back thrillers.

Finally, the jump ball and Game 1 of the Finals was on its way.

Both teams looked tight early and it was immediately obvious that both teams were mirroring their defense. But with UE dominating the boards on both ends of the floor, they did not look like they skipped a beat.

UE ends the first quarter with a 45% field goal shooting while La Salle could only make 5 of 16 from the field.. With the 1st quarter score at 20 – 14 for UE, the La Salle fans seemed restless but still in high spirits.

The 2nd quarter was an all together different story. La Salle clamped down on its defense and also began getting hot. The Red Warriors seemed confused and with still 8 minutes to go, Coach Dindo Pumaren had already used up all his timeouts.

La Salle erases the UE 8 point lead by forcing forces more turnovers. The game starts to get physical, which would definitely be to UE’s advantage because of their size. UE just totally dominates the rebounds.

Sloppy offense on both sides keeps the scoring low, which would benefit La Salle because the Green Archers were playing slow deliberated basketball while the Red Warriors were running.

The first half ends at 39 – 37 for UE and the La Salle crowd was wondering, is it possible?

A look at some stats from the first half makes this game even more confusing. Though scoring percentages were almost equal, UE outrebounded La Salle 34 to 13. La Salle however caused UE to commit 12 turnovers while committing only 5 and had more blocks than their taller opponents.

The 3rd quarter saw both teams shooting terrible. Neither team could build a substantial lead but again this was definitely an advantage for La Salle. It was actually starting to be a coach’s match. Continuous substitution from both sides just kept coming.

The quarter ends with UE shooting 3 of 11 while La Salle 4 of 20. The jitters of the Finals were very evident. With UE still on top 50 – 47, the match was definitely anyone’s to take.

The 4th quarter belonged to TY Tang. He just lit up the scoreboard and kept La Salle in the game. Playing alongside veterans Pocholo Villanueva, Rico Maierhofer and JV Casio, the Green Archers began showing what Conach Dindo Pumaren feared most, the championship experience of La Salle. Surprisingly, it was the rookie Ferdinand that stood his ground against the UE big men.

Coach Franz, knew exactly what he had to do and kept his younger brother reacting to his moves. La Salle showed the composure that had vanished many times in the past games. UE on the other hand seemed lost.

With less than a minute to go, La Salle takes a 3 point lead. But UE’s Mark Borboran hits a 3 and ties the game. Rico Maierhofer gets fouled and splits his charities. With La Salle up by 1 and less than 20 seconds to go, UE goes for the final shot. La Salle makes one last defensive stand and UE just can’t find a way to score. Malabes gets the final rebound of the game and La Salle gets the win.

As the La Salle crowd was in jubilation, the UE players looked shocked. Their first loss of the season happens at the worst time. They are not invincible after all.

I felt that the deep bench of Coach Dindo backfired on him today. He has so much talent on that team but did not seem to have the core group he needed for today. Maybe substitutions were made too fast, so much so that the players were not able to get into the groove at the end game.

Oh the end game, how important is that? It was La Salle’s weakness that they have now transformed into their strength.

Can the UE Red Warriors come back from this devastating loss? They have never had that this year and it will be a test of their character to do so. Will the Green Archers go for the jugular on Sunday? They better, because a 3rd game will be an advantage for UE.

We got the cake when we beat Ateneo. Will the icing follow?





UAAP Season 70 Finals: La Salle’s defense did it

4 10 2007

Defying bigger obstacles, La Salle’s defense worked effectively to claim Game 1.

De La Salle University took advantage of University of the East’s erratic performance in the final period to score a pulsating 64-63 come-from-behind win last October 4, 2007. Moving closer in winning the 70th UAAP men’s basketball title at the Araneta Coliseum.

Using their championship experience and stifling defense to the fullest, the De La Salle Green Archers forced the UE Red Warriors to commit 31 turnovers – including four in the final quarter –and earn a one-game advantage in their best-of-three finals series.

“We relied on our experience to keep everything possible and we made it,” said La Salle long-time mentor Franz Pumaren, who is eyeing to give La Salle its seventh title – fifth under his term – in Game two will be on Sunday, October 7, 2007 at the Big Dome.

“Our defense proved to be a huge factor in today’s game,” he said. “I’m expecting UE will comeback big on Sunday, and we will do everything to get it (title). We have to remain consistent all-throughout the series.”

After a 60-all deadlock in the final 3:03 minutes, the Green Archers banked heavily on a Joseph Casio field goal and 1/2 charities of Cholo Villanueva to post a slim 63-60 advantage with still 51 seconds left.

The Red Warriors’ 6-foot-3 forward Mark Borboran, then, scored a game-tying triple with 34 seconds remaining to forge the game’s 13th deadlock. But fouled Rico Maierhofer in the ensuing play with 14 seconds left to play.

With both teams in penalty, Maierhofer converted 1 of 2 free throws to peg the final count. Borboran’s missed a second shot attempt from beyond the arc with five seconds left. Marcy Arellano’s second chance follow-up rimmed out to the delight of the entire green crowd.

Playmaker Tyrone Tang unloaded 9 of his 17 points in the last period. While Casio finished with 12 points and Villanueva contributed 11 to get the job done.

“Our hustle kept us alive in this game,” said Tang, who shot 4-of-10 in the three-point zone. “They play very fast so we have to be faster.”

University of the East uncorked a blistering 11-2 run late in the first quarter, capped by a basket from Marcy Arellano and Mark Fampulme, to start the second quarter ahead, 20-14.

With Villanueva and Casio responding to their Coach Franz Pumaren’s challenge, La Salle was able to trim the gap, 37-39, by halftime after it outscored UE in the 2nd quarter, 23-19. Villanueva and Casio combined for 12 points in the 2nd quarter.

The Green Archers seized the edge in the 3rd quarter for the first time, 42-41, after Tang drained a long jumper early in the third period. Casio then extended La Salle’s lead, 46-43.

By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Red Warriors were still ahead after scoring a 7-1 run courtesy of Thiele and Arellano.

The last time UE tasted the lead was when Arellano – who got 10 points – scored on a lay-up, 60-58, with 3:50 minutes.

Despite La Salle’s poor rebounding in the first half (13), the Green Archers hauled down 18 rebounds – including six offensive boards – in the 2nd half for a total of 31 rebounds.

UE dominated the rebounding department, 60-31.

But La Salle’s nine steals and four blocks against UE’s 5 and 2, respectively, had spelled the difference in the game. Borboran and James Martinez scored 13 and 11 points respectively for UE.

La Salle got 25 points from UE’s turnovers and converted 9 of its 12 fast break attempts.

Individual scores:

La Salle 64: Tang 17, Casio 12, Villanueva 11, Maierhofer 7, Ferdinand 5, Walsham 3, Barua 3, Atkins 2, Mangahas 2, Cua 2, Malabes 0, Co 0.

UE 63: Borboran 13, Martinez 11, Arellano 10, Thiele 7, Fampulme 6, Lee 3, Lingganay 3, Bandaying 2, Llagas 2, Canizares 2, Espiritu 2, Gregorio 2.

Quarter Scoring: 14-20, 37-39, 47-50, 64-63