And now we wait. Archers end elimination round in resounding fashion

That last game against the FEU Tamaraws proved a couple of things: One, that for Almond Vosotros, the bank remains open even on Sundays, and two, that the team’s most trying effort against the NU Bulldogs would be followed by their finest performance so far in the tournament.

This game against the Adamson Falcons once more proved a couple of things: One, that despite his recent struggles, people should still learn how to fear the Bear, and two, that Jeron Teng has another aspect of his game that he wants the UAAP to see, and that is his passing.

Despite the game being turned into a veritable free throw shooting contest during its last five minutes, the Archers nailed the freebies that mattered and made the baskets that doused the fires of comebacks being ignited by the Falcons to finally hang on for the victory, 72-59, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Jeron Teng once more top-scored for La Salle with 19 points to go along with 9 dimes, 4 rebounds, and a block. Norbert Torres, after struggling offensively against the Bulldogs and the Tamaraws, finally broke out of his slump to haul down 14 rebounds and score 12 points. Thomas Torres also joined in the scoring fray for the Archers as he wound up with 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

“I commend the boys for their effort,” said La Salle head coach Gee Abanilla after the team’s victory. “Our destiny is in our hands, and we did our part,” he added. “It’s all up to God now.”

The win was the second straight for the Archers and their ninth overall in the tournament, which gives La Salle at least a playoff for the last Final Four slot against the Tamaraws should they lose to the Bulldogs on Sunday. A win by the Tamaraws on Sunday, however, and La Salle will automatically be in the semis as the fourth seed.

With Norbert Torres pouring in seven of his 12 points in the first canto, Teng adding four of his own, and the La Salle defense limiting the Falcons to three field goals in the quarter, the game’s first ten minutes ended with the Archers carrying a 17-8 lead. But with Falcons Janses Rios and Allen Etrone awakening from their slumber in the second frame, the Falcons crept to within six points, 21-26, at the turn.

And with 7:04 remaining and the Falcons poised to take the driver’s seat courtesy of an and-one play by Ryan Monteclaro that brought them to within 25-27, La Salle unloaded a blistering 17-3 blitz that included two three-pointers from Almond Vosotros and two baskets by Norbert Torres to give the Archers a commanding 43-28 lead.

The wards of Leo Austria, however, remained relentless in their bid to end their season with a victory, as they were able to bring the lead down to nine a couple of times in the quarter.      But two timely baskets by Yutien Andrada off a couple of dimes from Teng in the game’s last minute and half all but sealed the win for the Archers.

But while the road that they will be taking to the Final Four is still shrouded until the game on Sunday, what is sure is that should the Archers make it to the Final Four, they will be up against the defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles.

“Ateneo is a strong team, but there is always a chance,” said a beaming Abanilla regarding the possibility of meeting the Blue Eagles in the semis. “Bilog naman ang bola.”

The Wave Effect (Implications of the Game):

“It’s all up to God now,” were the words used by Abanilla to describe the fate that awaits the Archers after their win against the Falcons. And he had the right of it.

Because indeed, the destiny of the Archers shall be decided in the replay of the controversial game between the FEU Tamaraws and the NU Bulldogs this Sunday.

The 87-75 victory of the UST Growling Tigers over the UE Red Warriors in the first game whisked away any hopes of a four-way logjam in the standings, as the Tigers finished the elimination round toting a 10-4 card which places them right behind the Ateneo Blue Eagles who have a 12-2 record.

If FEU WINS on Sunday:

-The Tamaraws finish the elimination round with a 10-4 record, which is identical to that of the Tigers. The two teams will then play a virtual best-of-three series: A playoff for the twice-to-beat edge, and the maximum of two games played by teams competing in the Final Four.

-La Salle will likewise get a free passage to the semis should the Tamaraws thrash the Bulldogs on Sunday, as NU will finish the eliminations with an 8-6 card. And because the Archers will complete the Final Four cast as the fourth-seeded team, the UAAP fans will be treated into a La Salle-Ateneo collision in the semis, with the Blue Eagles carrying a twice-to-beat edge.

If FEU LOSES on Sunday:

-A monkey wrench will basically be thrown right smack into the standings should the Bulldogs win on Sunday against the Tamaraws. For one, the UAAP will have to go to the scorecards, to steal a boxing term, which in this case means the quotient system, which will not bode well for the Archers.

-A win by the Bulldogs will allow them to grab the third seed outright, as they have a better quotient than the Tamaraws and the Archers. La Salle and FEU, on the other hand, will have to slug it out for the right to face Ateneo in the Final Four.

Notes: The last time the Archers finished with a 9-5 win-loss record was in 2007, which was also the last time they bagged the UAAP crown; they finished with a 10-4 card in 2008, which was the last time they made the UAAP Finals, and 8-6 two seasons ago, which was the last time they made the Final Four;

Box Scores:

La Salle-72- Teng-19, Torres, N.-12, Torres, T.-11, Vosotros-8, Van Opstal-5, Andrada-5, Webb-4, Mendoza-4, Revilla-4, Manguera-0

Adamson-59- Cabrera-17, Etrone-15, Rios-7, Cruz-6, Brondial-6, Monteclaro-4, Camson-4, Trollano-0, Petilos-0, Olalia-0, Deans-0, Cabigas-0, Agustin-0

Quarterscores: 17-8, 27-21, 49-37, 72-59