Payback. Twenty two years ago De La Salle ‘s main gun wearing jersey # 10 lost the ball to sophomore guard Olsen Racela in the waning seconds of the championship game and his Green Archers eventually lost to their archrival Ateneo’s 76 -70. It was the end of a distinguished amateur career but unfortunately it had to end in a loss against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Today, Dindo Pumaren had that game in mind as he waited that long to get back at the very team that denied him of UAAP Glory as his young Green Archers beat the Blue Eagles 66 – 63 at the jam packed Araneta Coliseum.
Joseph Marata sank two triples in a span of 30 seconds as the Green Archers erased a 62 -53 Ateneo lead in the last four minutes of play with to close the game with a masterful 13 – 1 run to clip the wings of the Blue Eagles . The monumental collapse is reminiscent of the Blue Eagles first round loss to the FEU Tamaraws in 2008 where they squandered a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter after Rabeh Al-Husaini failed to convert in the endgame after scoring 32 points. This time, the Blue Eagles did not know what hit them. It was evident that their feet were too tired to run after the Green Archers who outhustled them and showed them a lot about heart.
Coach Dindo Pumaren has now won two straight games against the Blue Eagles this year with the first one coming from the summer league. He eventually knew what was lacking in the game of the Blue Eagles and how to stop their big guns. Nico Salva played below par today as he only managed to score 5 points which was way below his normal capacity since he scored in double figures in his first three games. Eric Salamat has not gotten back to the form that made him the most feared defender last year while Bacon Austria is in the mold of another Ken Barracoso – the High School MVP that never made a mark in College hoops.
The Green Archers stopped the Ateneo run of six consecutive wins that spanned two years. The last time the Green Archers beat the Blue Eagles was in the final game of the final four in 2007. This is the first time since the 1986-87 season that the Eagles have beaten the Archers for two consecutive seasons. The Archers won their first round encounter in 1988 by one point, a game that Pumaren vividly remembers for it was the first win of DLSU against Ateneo. In the future Ateneo – La Salle games, more Ryan Buenafe vs. Joshua Webb rivalries will be forged while other rivalries will be renewed with Art de la Cruz taking on HS rival Jarelan Tampus and JP Erram rekindling the old flame against Papot Paredes, a rivalry all the way from Cagayan de Oro.
The Archers are now 3 -1 while the Blue Eagles are now 2 – 2, a position that is quite unfamiliar for them the past two years.
Webb 12, Marata 12, Atkins 9, Tampus 6, Andrada 6, de la Paz 5, Tolentino 5, Mendoza 5, Vosotros 3, Villanueva 2, Ferdinand 1, Paredes 0.
Chua 16, Monfort 11, Long 9, Buenafe 7, Salamat 6, Salva 5, Golla 3, Escueta 2, dela Cruz 2, Austria 2, Tiongson 0, Gonzaga 0.
Quarter scores: 14-15, 26-30, 46-42, 66-63