Gritty Archers yield to Bulldogs in Fil-Oil Finals

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Flanked by a couple of blue shirts, LA Revilla hoisted a three-pointer that went wide over the right of the rim. The leather found itself in the hands of teammate Yutien Andrada, who hauled down the last of his five boards and saved the ball from going out of bounds.

Then it was the turn of Almond Vosotros, who let loose another three-pointer despite being bullied by three defenders. The ball clanged off the rim and went straight into the hands of Bulldog Gelo Alolino, who was fouled by Revilla to prevent an inevitable fast break.

Revilla, panting heavily, placed both his hands on his knees, with his head bowed, while Bulldog Bobby Ray Parks motioned to the vastly outnumbered Bulldog fans and whooped in celebration of the title that was going to be theirs in a matter of seconds.

Revilla might have kept his head down in a mixture of exhaustion and frustration, but the Green Archers themselves have a lot of reason to look up.

The game was lost, and the Archers, despite several spirited comebacks, had to settle for second, and yet the mood that hung over the San Juan Arena was one that is filled with optimism and even excitement, because of the valiant effort that the Archers had turned in, and the character that they have shown.

Anchored by yet another sterling performance from tournament MVP Bobby Ray Parks, the NU Bulldogs used the final canto to distance themselves from the hard-fighting Green Archers and nab the Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-Season Tournament championship, 64-54, today at the San Juan Arena.

The loss relegated the Archers, who had last won the Fil-Oil crown in 2007, as the tournament’s runners-up, while allowing the Bulldogs, who will be the hosts for the 75th Season of the UAAP, to win their first Fil-Oil title and protect their unblemished record for the tournament, as they wound up with an immaculate 11-0 card.

Parks netted a game-high 19 points, spiked by two triples, the last of which he rifled in despite Archer Jeron Teng’s defense with about a minute left to play, thereby putting the game out of reach.

The basket came before a rally by the Archers, who were egged on by their fans, after being down by as much as nine in the fourth. Revilla, who top scored for La Salle with 14 points, rifled in a three-pointer which cut the Bulldog lead to six, 56-50. A lone charity by Denice Villamor gave National U a seven-point cushion, but the lead was brought down to five, 57-52, by yet another La Salle basket, this time coming from Vosotros.

Spurts was the name of the game during the contest’s early goings with La Salle beginning the second canto with an 10-1 barrage that saw them notch a 26-17 lead, forcing the Bulldogs to sue for time. But the Bulldogs returned the favour before the turn, unloading a 10-nil blitz of their own, capped by a jumper by Alolino just before the halftime buzzer sounded, to give his team the slimmest of margins, 28-26.

The tournament’s best defensive player, Bulldog Emmanuel Mbe, also able played the role of sidekick to Parks, banging in 13 points and grabbing 15 boards, with Alolino adding 10 markers.

For the Archers, it was Norbert Torres who backstopped Revilla, scoring 13 points, while Andrada, who fouled out in the game’s waning seconds, finished with eight.

Torres, who averaged a double-double of 12 points and 10 caroms per contest in the tournament, was the lone Archer to be selected in the all-UAAP Mythical Five alongside Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena and Greg Slaughter and the aforementioned Bulldogs Parks and Mbe.

The Archers may have lost, but considering the fact that this was a team that had never made it past the quarterfinals of the same tournament in the last three years, it was something that will be relished, especially with the UAAP cage wars looming near.

Notes: La Salle only had 5 foul shot attempts in this game, converting on 3 of them. The Bulldogs committed only 10 fouls as compared to 18 by the Archers. Ateneo defeated San Beda in the 3rd place game. Bulldog Mark De Guzman graduated from LSGH and went to CSB for a couple of years before transferring to NU.  UAAP Season 75 starts on July 14.

Boxscores

NU-64- Parks -19, Mbe-13, Alolino-10, Villamor-8, Javillonar-5, Neypes-5, De Guzman-2, Betaneye-2, Rono-0, Ignacio-0, Labing-Isa-0

DLSU-54– Revilla-14, Torres-13, Andrada-8, Vosotros-5, Teng-4, Webb-4, Tallo-2, Mendoza-2, Gotladera-2, Manguera-0, Reyes, G.-0, Paredes-0

Quarterscores: 15-16, 26-28, 44-41, 64-54

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