After playing able support to the Green Archers’ top gun JV Casio and rising stars James Mangahas and Peejay Barua, the 6’5 Rico Maierhofer literally stood tall in the Green Archers’ conquest of the UP Fighting Maroons, 81-61, at the UAAP Season 71 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Puerto Galera native and last season’s Mythical Team member dominated the game from both ends of the court, scoring 19 points, including two 3-point shots, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks, to power De La Salle to its 6th win in 8 games.
The win secured solo 2nd spot for the Green Archers.
“It’s a good thing the veterans took over the game, especially JV (Casio), James (Mangahas), PJ (Barua) and Rico Maierhofer,” remarked Coach Franz Pumaren.
Coming off the bench, Maierhofer singlehandedly carried a 10-0 offensive attack of La Salle in the first quarter which resulted into an early dozen point lead for the defending champions.
“Kailangan ko magpakita ng aggressiveness at intensity, and dahil sa height advantage ko over the UP players, nakapag-deliver naman,” said the four-year veteran who says he will maximize his playing years for the team.
It was the first game in which Rico topscored for the Green Archers. In previous games, Rico would play supporting role to the gunners of De La Salle.
“I’ve been using Rico off the bench, it’s good because he’s with the younger guys and he’s been delivering. I assigned to him a specific role for this season: to be the leader of the 2nd group to stabilize the team. We’re doing okay with this system,” said Coach Franz.
True enough, before game start, Rico was seen talking in a huddle with the other big men of the team, rookies Maui Villanueva and Jovet Mendoza and sophomore Ferdinand.
Despite a strong finish in the 1st quarter, 19-9, the Green Archers slowed down in the 2nd canto and allowed the UP Fighting Maroons to score 21 points that bridged the gap to only four at the end of the first half, 34-30. But the Archers regrouped and sank four 3-point shots in the third to widen the lead anew at quarter’s end, 59-48.
In the final quarter, the Archers were unrelenting, limiting the Fighting Maroons to 13 points.
DLSU’s next game is set on Saturday, Aug. 16 against the NU Bulldogs.
DLSU 81 – Maierhofer 19, Casio 17, Mangahas 16, Barua 10, Walsham 6, Villanueva 5, Revilla 5, Ferdinand 2, Malabes 1, Webb 0, Mendoza 0, Chandumal 0, Bagatsing 0, Lee 0
UP 61 – Reyes 21, Co 9, Agbayani 9, Sorongon 8, Astorga 4, Sison 4, Lopez 4, Braganza 2, Pajela 0, Marfori 0, dela Victoria 0, Hipolito 0
Quarter scoring: 19-9; 34-30; 59-48; 81-61
GAME NOTES: Appearing in public for the first time, after suffering from the head injury in the Green Archers’ game first round game against the UE Red Warriors last August 1, Simon Atkins was in civilian clothes cheering his teammates. Although he appears fine, it is clearly visible that Atkins was still favoring his neck and is careful about his movements. According to Simon, he is feeling well now,(even giving a thumbs-up sign) although he has yet to practice with the team. Coach Franz, meanwhile, is closely monitoring Atkins’ condition with the doctor and therapists, stating that he needs Atkins to be back for the team as the sophomore playmaker is crucial to DLSU’s rotation.