As part of their final preparations for Season 72, the Green Archers hosted the UP Maroons for a friendly tuneup game at Razon last Saturday, July 4. Four quarters of intense basketball resulted in in a 73-all deadlock. After a short discussion by the coaching staff of both teams, they agreed to play an additional quarter. Again, the teams played to a 20-all tie.
The Archers were not at full strength, missing Simon Atkins who was recovering from an illness,and Arvie Bringas who was nursing a slight groin injury. Jed Manguera who was also coming back from an ailment was fielded sparingly.
UP played without former Junior Archer Martin Reyes, but was reinforced by redshirting Mike Silungan, a proven shooter. The Maroons showed their improved form from the long court under coach Castro, hitting on several triples to keep pace with the Archers throughout the seesaw game.
Franz experimented with several combinations and lineups, going big at times and playing small ball at others. Big men Ferdinand, Yutien Andrada, Maui Villanueva, Jovet Mendoza, and Kish Co ably manned the boards, and proved that the Archers will not be at a disadvantage this season in the rebounding area with Arvie Bringas expected to backstop them once he is fully recovered.
Although last year’s point guards LA Revilla (who is out for the season) and Simon Atkins were not present, the point guard duties were filled by team captain Hyram Bagatsing, Bader Malabes, and Joel Tolentino who ably orchestrated the plays. Interestingly, our point guards will probably have a slight height advantage over their counterparts from other teams, with Hyram, Simon, and Bader all around 6 feet, and Joel not much smaller. Joshua Webb provided the hustle and energy, and together with fellow wingmen Peejay Barua, Sam Marata, Gab Banal, and Jed Manguera, made things difficult for the UP perimeter defense. This is probably going to be one of the tallest Archer teams ever.
In past seasons, foul throw shooting was a problem area of the Archers, and a couple of missed foul shots by Webb with 0.8 seconds to go in the game allowed UP to escape with the draw at the end of regulation. Of course, the razzing Webb received from the opponents, his teammates, and the green supporters while he was taking the foul throws may have contributed to the misses. I guess everyone wanted to see more basketball, and the coaches gladly obliged by agreeing to an unusual 10-minute extension.
The practice game allowed the Archers to test their play patterns against a future opponent, and they also got an idea of how UP might play them during the season. Of course, UP also got to scout the Archers, although it is doubtful that the Archers will play the same way this coming weekend. It was a friendly match which offered a reunion of sorts for former Greenies Mikee Reyes and Martin Reyes (not the UP player), as well as former Junior Archers Migs de Asis and Joshua Webb. It was also a chance for some interaction between the players of both teams outside the ultra competitive atmosphere of the UAAP.
The Archers are not yet at their peak form, and the illnesses and injuries the players suffered have prevented them from being at full force during the pre-season. However, they are as prepared as they can be at this point in time, and it remains to be seen whether the talent and potential will be realized this season.
The season starts in a few days, and it will be a pleasure to cheer the team on again, together with the Pep Squad, Gang Green, and the rest of the faithful supporters of Archer ball.
Let the games begin! We’ll be there.