We can go on and come up with excuses as to why the Green Archers were unable to defend their UAAP title. They no longer had Jeron Teng and several key veterans, Two of our three consistent scorers are only sophomores, the team was distracted from outside rumors and other stuff that are posted around social media – well the reality is, there are none. After 3 tightly-fought games in the finals, it was the team that showed more composure and wanted it more that prevailed in the end. Unfortunately, it was not ours.
At the beginning of the season, we already expected La Salle to have a big target at their back. Seeing how they dominated last year’s contest, other teams will retool their strategies in order to stop them from repeating as champions. And even if the team finished 12-2 at the end of the eliminations, many of those wins were not easy ones. At times in which they were inconsistent and showed signs of vulnerability, it was only a matter of time before their opponents would find a way to beat them.
Perimeter defense has been one of the team’s weakness all season and it was very evident in the finals. Ateneo simply torched the Archers from the outside especially in Game 3. And when the Blue Eagles were beginning to wax hot, the Archers were unable to adjust. The sense of urgency came too late and even if they were able to pull within 2 with under a minute left, a clutch three pointer from Isaac Go sealed their fate. We can only imagine what could have been had that shot did not go in.
The Green Archers have showed how good they can be if they manage to dictate the pace of the game from the start. This was not the case however in all their matches against the Blue Eagles. Though they managed to flip the switch and come back from a big leads, this is not how they should play against a very systematic and disciplined opponent. The resolve they show in times of desperation should be the same for 40 minutes.
A back-to-back title would have been a nice but sadly, it was not meant to be. Nevertheless, we thank the team for a great run. From erasing a 21-point deficit in Game 2 and nearly completing another comeback last Sunday, there’s simply no quit in all of you. Even with all the challenges and events that were meant to make you all lose focus, you guys still hung tough and were very close to winning it all once again.
May the team learn a lot from this loss and hope it would motivate them to do well next season. The best thing in sports is that there’s always another chance to make up for past setbacks. If Ateneo was able to become a much better team after losing to us a year ago, I believe the Green Archers can do the same.
We look forward to see the team and coaching staff intact and grow together in Season 81.