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UAAP: Archers stump Eagles, 65-60, to face Red Warriors

September 30, 2007 5:29pm
The La Salle Green Archers stumped a stubborn Ateneo Blue Eagles, 65-60, to make it to the finals of the 70th UAAP men's basketball tournament Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Archers will face on the University of the East Red Warriors, who had gone straight to the finals with a rare 14-0 sweep of the double-round eliminations. The best-of-three finals puts in competition two coaches who happen to be brothers – Franz Pumaren of the Archers vs younger brother Dindo Pumaren of the Warriors.

This is the second time in four years that brothers will face off in a UAAP men's finals series. In 2003, then Ateneo head coach Joel Banal faced his younger brother, then FEU head coach Koy Banal in the finals, with the latter winning the title-series for his team.

Pumaren attributed the victory to a more solid execution of their offense that spelled the difference, especially in the last minutes of the game.

"We played smart and we executed our plays well compared to our last game," Pumaren said after the game. "I think it's the first time that two (wins) is greater than three (wins)," Pumaren said, referring to the number of times his team won against Ateneo this year.

"We will do our best to win," Pumaren added. "UE will be tough, but we will prepare for them."

This is Pumaren's eighth finals appearance as coach.

The arch rivals are playing to a jam-packed crowd of 23,315 paying fans, according to box-office figures. The attendance – tickets had been sold out by Friday – was probably among the biggest drawn by any basketball game at the Big Dome.

Among the spectators were a number of showbiz personalities, former players from the two schools, and government officials – Ateneo alumnus Sen. Richard Gordon, brothers Randy and Rowel Santiago, singer Nicky Gil, TV personality Bianca Gonzales, former Ateneo players Rico Villanueva and LA Tenorio, national basketball team coach Chot Reyes, former Trade and Industry Secretary Jose Pardo, and former La Salle player Dino Aldeguer.

Game 1 of the UAAP Finals will be on Thursday, starting at 3 p.m., also at the Araneta Coliseum.

Crucial fourth quarter

Veteran guard Cholo Villanueva was named best player for the game for scoring 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, and a steal for the Archers.

Villanueva, a 6-foot-2 fifth year guard, was at his best especially in the crucial minutes of the fourth quarter when he drilled a three-point shot to give his team a comfortable nine point lead at 58-49, with less than three minutes left.

After Ateneo made the score at 60-55 after a 6-2 run, Villanueva again struck in the next play. After he collared a rebound off a miss by main man Jvee Casio, Villanueva buried a jump shot from the right corner to give his team a seven-point lead at 62-55, with 1:03 left in the ball game, prompting Eagles coach Norman Black to call a timeout.

The next play saw Ford Arao, who's playing his last year for Ateneo, being fouled by PJ Walsham on a layup drive. Arao calmly sank both charities to cut the Archers' lead to five at 62-57.

Guard OJ Cua was then fouled by a Blue Eagle, stopping the clock with 23.9 seconds as he went to the charity line. But he missed his two freebies with the Eagles getting the rebound.

With no timeouts left, Chris Tiu, the Eagles' hero in the last Thursday's game, had to scramble and give the ball to the waiting hands of 6-foot-6 center Nonoy Baclao who made a three-pointer from the center to cut the Archers' lead to two points at 62-60 with 13 seconds left.

Casio was then fouled, stopping the clock as went up to the charity line with 11.2 seconds left. He calmly sank both freebies to give his team a four-point lead at 64-60 with four seconds left, eventually sealing their victory.

After being fouled, Rico Maierhofer, hardly able to suppress a grin, put the final nail on the Blue Eagles' season by making one of his two free throws that put the final count at 65-60.

Missed shots and free throws

The Green Archers registered the biggest lead in the first half with a score of 15-6 as the Blue Eagles failed to get their game going due to turnovers and poor shot selection.

But the Eagles managed to creep into the lead as the Archers went scoreless in the last six minutes bridging the end of the first quarter and early minutes of the second quarter to take a four point lead at 20-16.

What compounded the woes of the Archers was their failure to make their shots and free throws and giving away turnovers.

Casio, however, broke the spell after a lay-up inside to put the score at 20-18, with 6:30 left in the second quarter.

Tiu again gave the Eagles their biggest lead – four points at 26-22, after two free throws. But the Archers had the last laugh: After closing at halftime with a score of 29-26, they made a third quarter closing run of 9-2.

The Blue Eagles shot better from the field in first 20 minutes of the game. although they were down by three points in the first half. They made 34 percent (11 of 32) shooting compared to La Salle's 30 percent (12 of 39) from the field.

The Archers got more rebounds, 29, compared to Ateneo's. Ateneo, however has more assists with eight compared to DLSU's and more turnovers, eight to seven.

Quarter scores (DLSU-ADMU): 16-14, 29-26, 48-43, 65-60

- GMANews.TV

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