After failing to reach the Final Four for two out of the past three seasons, the Green Archers were ready for a massive haul in personnel. Enter Danding Cojuangco, who made his return as the main patron for the Green Archers. His first move was getting former DLSU assistant and long-time PBA assistant Gee Abanilla as the head coach. The next move was getting High School standouts Jeron Teng from Xavier and Thomas Torres from La Salle Green Hills. The Green Archers were also relying on the development of 2nd year twin towers Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres, as well as the veteran leadership of LA Revilla.
Despite the overhaul, the task of entering the Final Four was very daunting. The DLSU squad was talented and deep, but it was young and relatively inexperienced. They have to go through teams that were not only talented, but were more experienced teams. Ateneo was looking for their 5th straight title, UST was an up and coming team, NU was also ready to make their mark in the league and was led by reigning MVP Bobby Ray Parks and last year’s finalist FEU had the dynamic duo of former MVP RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. People weren’t sure how the Green Archers would fare given the talent level other teams had, but despite this were still in contention to be a top 4 team.
The Green Archers started Season 75 with a 4-3 record in the first round, they won games that they were suppose to win, but lost to contending teams like Ateneo, FEU and UST. The last game of the first round became Jeron Teng’s breakout game when he broke the rookie scoring record with 35 points, matching last year’s MVP Bobby Ray Park’s output. DLSU won by a point in overtime, which was also their first win against a Final Four contender this season.
The second round showed us a more improved Green Archers, improving their record to 5-2. This time they would only lose to Ateneo and NU, who exacted revenge against the Green Archers. This time they were able to defeat other contenders like FEU and UST, who they beat on a buzzer beater by Jeron Teng.
The Green Archers finished the season with a 9-5 record. Ateneo and UST would then take the top 2 seeds (and twice-to-beat advantage) with 12 and 10 wins respectively. NU, DLSU and FEU were then tied at 9 wins apiece. The quotient score would make the NU Bulldogs the #3 seed and set up a DLSU and FEU do-or-die match for the last spot in the Final 4.
Facing a battle ready FEU squad for the last spot was going to be difficult for the Green Archers. The Tamaraws are coming off their 2nd straight Finals appearance, and are looking for their fifth straight Final 4 berth. With RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo leading the way, the young Green Archers should have their hands full against them. The only advantage the Green Archers has is that their momentum entering the matchup. The Tamaraws, which started 4-0, have been a mediocre 5-5 since, including losing their last 2 games to end the elimination round.
The Green Archers showed their resiliency in the game, being down by as much as 10 in the fourth quarter, to pull of a miracle comeback with a 69-66 win to shock the Tamaraws. The win set them up with another final four match with their arch-rival Ateneo.
The Green Archers face the daunting task of preventing Ateneo’s bid for 5 straight titles. But in their matchup, DLSU proved they can go toe-to-toe with the Blue Eagles. Leading the way was the surprising Yutien Andrada, who was known more for his defense and rebounding, scoring 17 points, finding ways to score under the basket against Ateneo’s tall frontcourt. The Green Archers fell short in the end losing by just three points, thus ending their season.
Despite the Final Four exit, this time around DLSU had more things to be excited about. They were coming of their best season since 2008. We saw the improvement of a lot of the players, including the big man duo of Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal, and the Green Archers finally found their star in Jeron Teng, who ended the year with averages of 17 points and 7 rebounds per game, bagging Rookie of the Year and a spot in the UAAP Mythical 5.
Luigi dela Paz
Arnold Van Opstal