Three games into the Fil-Oil Flying V Pre-Season Premier Cup and the Green Archers find themselves toting a 1-2 win-loss record . Six newly-minted Archers have also made their debut wearing the revered green jerseys, and some of them have had auspicious starts which have made heads turn, while others have starred in less-than-stellar games.
However, since only guards Luigi Dela Paz and LA Revilla are logging in more than 20 minutes per game with 21.5 and 21.3, respectively, the coaching staff will still try to give each of these young guns room to prove their worth before the tournament ends.
But so far, here’s what each of these young bowmen have done for the team:
Norbert Torres has seen the most minutes among the rookies, averaging 17 minutes each game. The Fil-Canadian center had already started in two of the Archers’ first three outings, against the Arellano Chiefs and versus the San Sebastian Stags.
Torres is likewise the most productive among the rookies in terms of points scored, norming 6.7 points per game while making half of his shots. He has shown during the game against the Tigers that he is capable of making shots from beyond the arc, which makes him a threat both in the post and the perimeter. He hauls in an average of 4.3 rebounds per game, which is among the highest in the squad and second among the rookies next to Arnold Van Opstal.
He did a decent job against the big men of the Tigers, but struggled against the physicality of the slotmen of other teams, such as Sierra-Leonean Charles Mammie of the Chiefs and those of the Stags. He is also often forced to resort to fouls when playing defense, as evidenced by the 10 fouls which he accumulated during their first three games, resulting in reduced playing time and his fouling out in the final minutes of their game against the Chiefs.
His multi-faceted effectiveness on the offensive end is definitely an asset, but he should learn to play defense with only minimal fouling, as this can hurt the amount of his playing time.
Arnold Van Opstal
The De La Salle-Zobel standout has been logging in 12.3 minutes per game, the second-highest among the Class of 2011. He only averages 2.3 points per game, but, like Torres, he also makes 50% of all his shots. The paltry 2.3 scoring average, however, does not tell everything that he has done for the team.
His 5.3 rebounding average is the highest in the entire team, higher than those of their starters who are definitely spending more time on the court. During their game versus the Stags, he hauled down eight rebounds in only 11 minutes of play.
Like fellow rookies Torres and Ponso Gotladera, Van Opstal also bears the unenviable task of guarding the big men of opposing teams, and he has embraced this role, using his heft and seemingly limitless energy to hound them while limiting his fouls.
It will be interesting to see how he will fare against the big men of teams which the squad will face in the future, especially once he becomes an offensive threat.
Sara is the only other rookie who has started in a game for the Archers, manning the point during their first game against the UST Growling Tigers. He committed three turnovers during their match against the Tigers, possibly due to the fact that it was his first game donning the Green-and-White jersey, but he has since done a better job of taking the care of the leather.
The former San Beda Red Cub has been averaging 10 minutes on the court, bagging 3.7 points each game while shooting at a 56% clip.
Like Van Opstal, Sara’s contributions on the court go beyond his point production, as his role on the team is to be more of a distributor than someone who bears the offense on his shoulders. He employs a pass-first mentality like sophomore Almond Vosotros and rarely takes shots. He was able to ably backstop point guards LA Revilla and Vosotros and will continue to alleviate their ball-handling chores as the tournament progresses.
Another San Beda Red Cub, Gotladera has been averaging 9.7 minutes per game. Although he is seeing less minutes than the rest of the aforementioned rookies, he has used every bit of playing time to make an impact, as he averages 4 points while making 55% of his attempts.
He of the nifty spin move also proves to be an asset in the rebounding department, grabbing 4 per contest. Most of his points also come from offensive rebounds and put-backs of the misses of his teammates. He corralled eight boards during the game against the Chiefs and scored eight points, four of which came from the misses of his teammates.
He also tag-teamed with batchmates Torres, and Van Opstal in keeping the bigs of their opponents in check, and he has also proved to be able to withstand the physicality of the oft-times bigger opponents.