The Games that Play Us: Back from the Grave

UP had the Archers on the ropes, until the Greenies
carved their way back into the game.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/

DLSU Green Archers over the UP Fighting Maroons, 73-72

This game can make for a good case study on this oft-repeated sports adage: keeping a lead is harder than building one.

Even if the lead is 20 points.

Oh, UP, what is to be done with you?

The Maroons fought their way to a 20-point bubble mid first half, exploiting DLSU’s shaky backcourt play with German efficiency on the way to several points-off-turnovers. Pao Romero shook his head in delight as he shot two straight lefty runners that found the bottom of the net to erect the Diliman quintet’s biggest lead, 33-13.

And then UP’s luck ran out, and La Salle, finding themselves backed into a corner and on the verge of another shattered Final Four dream, slowly jabbed and parried, closing the gap inch by painful inch.

The Archers ended the 1st half on a 10-2 spurt that gave them a semblance of a chance, and they didn’t let that chance go to waste in the final 20 minutes. The Greenies eventually snatched the lead near the end of the 3rd canto on Almond Vosotros’s floater, but Mike Gamboa, waxing hot in this one, beat the buzzer from rainbow country to retake the advantage entering the final stanza, 50-48.

Both teams traded punches and barbs in the last quarter, but the difference was La Salle’s execution. The Archers utilized superior team play to neutralize the spirited individual efforts of UP’s Mike Silungan and Miggy Maniego in the clutch. Vosotros combined with Luigi dela Paz and LA Revilla to secure just enough breathing room and pull off the back-from-the-grave win, and, in the process, retain a sliver of hope at a playoff for the final Final Four slot.

LA Revilla's heady play in crunchtime helped
pilot La Salle's roaring comeback.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/
It won’t be easy for the Taft five, however, as they’ll have to hurdle both their remaining assignments – the also-ran NU Bulldogs on Thursday and the on-the-rise FEU Tamraws on Sunday. If the Archers lose just one of those games, then the long, hard look at what went wrong this season begins. If they win both, though, and provided UST loses all its remaining contests, then a playoff is in the cards.

On the other hand, what’s in the cards for UP is another shot at solving the riddle that has riddled their program for a long time – what can make the team better? They have talent. They have good, experienced coaching. They have a good young core. Is it alumni support? Is it better recruiting? Whatever it is, it’ll be another round of soul-searching. That much is for sure.

Mike Silungan covers his frustration as the
Fighting Maroons lose another heartbreaker.
(image by Joseph Nebrida/

DLSU 73 – Torres 15, Vosotros 12, Revilla 11, dela Paz 8, Van Opstal 7, Tampus 5, Villanueva 4, Atkins 4, Paredes 4, Sara 2, Marata 1, Mendoza 0, Gotladera 0
UP 72 – Silungan 19, Maniego 14, Romero 12, Gamboa 12, Montecastro 6, Juruena 5, Manuel 2, Gomez 2, Mbah 0, Gingerich 0, Pascual 0
QS: 7-23, 23-35, 48-50, 73-72

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