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La Salle begins title defense vs. FEU - UAAP Season 76

La Salle begins title defense vs. FEU

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Jul 12th 2014

Jeron Teng and the rest of the DLSU Green Archers begin their title defense against the FEU Tamaraws when the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament begins on Saturday.

It’s time.

De La Salle University hits the Road to Retention today as the defending champion Archers top-bill the 77th UAAP men’s basketball tournament’s opening showcase at the Araneta Coliseum.

The powerhouse Archers debut against a revamped Far Eastern University (FEU) side in the 4 p.m. main game with La Salle hoping to get into a rousing start behind a virtually intact line-up.

Season 76 Finals MVP Jeron Teng leads a stellar cast featuring twin towers Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres, versatile forward Jason Perkins, and the sweet-shooting Almond Vosotros, who nailed the title-clinching jumper in Game 3 of last year’s Finals.

Beefing up La Salle’s already formidable frontline are comebacking veteran Yutien Andrada and former NCAA juniors MVP Prince Rivero.

Reporting for another tour of duty with the Archers are point guard Thomas Torres, Robert Bolick, Kib Montalbo, and Matt Salem. Aside from Rivero, La Salle also landed prized recruits in Terence Mustre, Julian Sargent, and Abu Jahal Tratter.

Yet despite a more experienced and compact roster, La Salle coach Juno Sauler was quick to shed the Archers’ heavyweight billing.

"The other teams are as equally capable and talented. We just have to take it on a game-to-game basis. There are no guarantees in the UAAP," he said. "We have to play well as a team, especially on defense."

Against the Tamaraws, La Salle is in for a tough grind.

"They are a very strong team offensively. They also have big players. Even their guards are taller us," Sauler said. "We just want to capitalize on mismatches if there is any."

FEU coach Nash Racela though believes La Salle are a much stronger team this season. But the Tamaraws like their chances minus former UAAP MVPs RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo.

"La Salle is beatable. We just have to stay together as a team. They have the size and experience but we will be there fighting," he said.

Carrying the leadership mantle now for the Tamaraws are reliable holdovers Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, and Roger Pogoy.

Import Anthony Hargrove, Carl Cruz, Reymar Jose, and the returning Russel Escoto are expected to man the middle for the Tamaraws, who finished third last season after being knocked out in the Final Four by no less than La Salle.

The game will air live at 4 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action channel 23, BALLS HD SkyCable HD 167,,, TFC Bro and with a same day replay at 10 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny Cable channel 36