By Gio Gloria
Five years is a long time, especially in a rivalry as storied as the DLSU Green Archers and the ADMU Blue Eagles. Within that span of time, the Blue Eagles pretty much had the Green Archers’ number despite their best efforts and talent, and the championships Ateneo won certainly rubbed salt on DLSU’s wounds.
But on October 9, La Salle flipped the script.
Being down double-digits to ADMU was nothing new in recent times, as the Blue Eagles would either go on their vaunted third-quarter runs or get hot at the right time. Things seemed to be playing out as expected as Ateneo pulled away early in the first half thanks to strong effort on the boards that resulted in a ton of second chance points. But then, Schonny Winston and the rest of DLSU clawed their way back into the game and emerged victorious.
Elation among the Lasallian community was a given, and while a win was bound to happen eventually, that it happened was still something to celebrate. The joy among those who patiently waited through the down times were proud of the team and the steps they took not just this season, but in the past to prepare for that moment. Funnily enough, those that drifted away or were drawn to other eye candy suddenly came back, but nonetheless it was a great day for Green Archers nation.
When the emotions settled down, though, one has to remember that there’s more basketball to be played. Much of the discussion following the game focused on how the win was great, but a long road lies ahead of La Salle and the victory is just the start.
The furor over DLSU’s offense has lessened since Season 84, but consistency and ball movement remain crucial when the shots aren’t falling. When the likes of Winston, Kevin Quiambao, Evan Nelle, and even Michael Phillips are willing passers, there are a lot of shots to go around. Free throws will likely continue to be a thorn on the Green Archers’ side considering how it remains a perennial problem, but as long as La Salle can make them when it counts, they should still be okay.
Defense was what helped DLSU inch closer and take the victory from ADMU, and a year together has helped the core group of the Green Archers run Derrick Pumaren’s system well. Furthermore, exploiting mismatches on both ends of the floor added to how La Salle took the Blue Eagles out of their element.
Obviously Ateneo will regroup and bounce back, so DLSU should do the same. A team approach to basketball and of course, riding the hot hand have been helpful for the Green Archers, but the numbers and past experiences get thrown out the window when in-game adjustments and strategies take precedence.
One game will rarely define a season, but the DLSU Green Archers earned a much-needed breakthrough win over their archrivals the ADMU Blue Eagles after nearly five years. Celebrations and excitement are in order, but when the feelings die down, the job’s not finished until championship is back in Taft Avenue.
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