Posted Feb 16th 2014
Tigers re-open title drive vs. Archers
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Jun 29th 2013
University of Santo Tomas (UST) unleashes a fiercer and hungrier Tiger today, ready to devour the guys behind the arrows of a retooled De La Salle University when both teams collide for the first time in the 76thUAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tigers, last season’s runners-up, face the Archers in the second game at 4 p.m., hoping to jumpstart their championship drive – no less – on a winning note.
“Mas beterano kami ngayon. Siyempre gusto namin bumalik doon (championship). Pero para magawa ulit ‘yun kailangan muna namin manalo sa bawat laro,” UST coach Pido Jarencio said. “Lahat ng team sa UAAP malakas.”
Just like in the past, La Salle won’t be an easy customer for the Tigers, given a more experienced core now predicated on Season 75 Rookie of the Year Jeron Teng, LA Revilla, Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres, and Arnold Van Opstal.
Teamwork and more ball moment will again be crucial for the revamped Archers, who wound up fourth last season.
“I’m not just looking at just one player. Everyone has to do their role. If one player does not fulfill that, mahihirapan yung apat. (On any given night,) it can be (Arnold) Van Opstal, (Norbert) Torres or Teng (carrying the offense,)” said new La Salle mentor Juno Sauler in a past interview.
La Salle equally shored its frontline and backcourt during the off-season, getting high school standouts Kib Montalbo and Robert Bolick, Jr., and big man Jason Perkins to backstop Torres and Van Opstal underneath.
Yet Perkins, Torres and Van Opstal will have to contend with Cameroonian slotman Karim Abdul, arguably the league’s best inside operator to date and face UST’s gang rebounding crew predicated on versatile swingman Kevin Ferrer, Aljon Mariano, and team captain Jeric Teng.
If anything, the Tigers will be most challenged in setting the offensive tables with the departure of veteran playmaker Jeric Fortuna.
But Jarencio remains confident the rest of his guards – Ed Dacquioag, Clark Bautista, Robin Tan, and the comebacking John Sheriff – will step up to fill the void.
“Mas malalaki ang guard rotation ko ngayon. Maayos naman ang response nila sa mga laro namin kahit nung off-season. Panuorin na lang nila kami,” Jarencio said.
Reinforcing UST’s frontline this season are newcomers Jon Macasaet, Brian So, and Jeepy Faundo who strutted their big men-game in the NCAA juniors division.
The UAAP can be viewed live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167 and uaapsports.tv starting at 2 p.m. and BALLS HD 167 with a replay at 8 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34 or Destiny Cable channel 36.