Just like last season, the Green Archers seemed to want to go the hard way.
Bungling its chance to secure solo 2nd and the all-important twice-to-beat advantage, the Green Archers lost to the Blue Eagles, 65-57, at the final elimination game of the Men’s Basketball Tournament of UAAP Season 71 at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Green Archers will fight the FEU Tamaraws, who were earlier beaten black and blue by the UE Warriors, in a virtual best-of-three series. The Archers and the Tamaraws will figure in a playoff on Thursday (Sept. 11) to determine the 2nd placer and the holder of the twice-to-beat advantage, before facing off again in the Final Four. The team are even, as the Green Archers won the first round while the Tamaraws exacted revenge in the 2nd round.
The Green Archers shot only 33.8% from the floor against the Eagles’ 48.1%. More glaringly, the defending champions failed to capitalize on their strength from the three-point area, converting only 3 of the 23 tries for a 13% clip, a far cry from their 30% average this season in that region.
It was also an off night for JV Casio who was limited to only 5 points for the entire game and 0 in the first three quarters and 0 out of 5 from the rainbow territory.
The Blue Eagles had a strong start zooming into a 9-point lead at the end of the first quarter. They continued to pound the Green Archers in the 2nd, and ended the first half on top by 8 points.
After the half, the Green Archers tried to mount an offensive comeback via a 7-2 run anchored on the back-to back field goals, the last one being a triple, from point guard Simon Atkins. The mini-run saw the lead of the Blue Eagles dissipate to 3 points, 7:51 in the third. But the Katipunan-based squad countered with a 12-0 run, to seize their highest lead of the ballgame at 15 points, 3:23 left in the third.
Similar to their opening in the third, the Green Archers sizzled in the early minutes of the final quarter before it fizzled in the crucial stretch of the game. The stalwarts of Coach Franz Pumaren, who’s back from a coaching stint in Teheran, staged a 7-0 run to lessen the gap to only 6 points. The teams figured in a trade of baskets capped by Rico Maierhofer’s 3-point shot in the 3:35 mark that saw the Archers moving closer to the Blue Eagles, 62-57. But after Baclao made a jumper going into the final two minutes, the Green Archers again went on a shooting blank with Barua and Casio missing two crucial three-point attempts.
ADMU 65 – Al-Hussaini 18, Baclao 11, Reyes 10, Tiu 9, Salamat 8, Baldos 4, Escueta 3, Buenafe 2, Salva 0, Burke 0, Austria 0
DLSU 57 – Maierhofer 16, Atkins 9, Barua 8, Malabes 7, Casio 5, Villanueva 4, Mangahas 4, Walsham 2, Ferdinand 2, Webb 0, Bagatsing 0, Revilla 0
Quarter scores: 21-12; 36-28; 54-41; 65-57