The L Word

The DLSU Green Archers lost their fourth straight at the hands of the UP Fighting Maroons, 83-78. That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially if you’re one of those who have followed this team since the 90’s, or probably even earlier than that.

The first time I got to cheer for the Archers was back in ’97, when they had Mark Telan and Dino Aldeguer running the show. Back then, the Ateneo Blue Eagles were in their darker days, save for that three-point barrage that the Sison brothersĀ  rained on the Archers one time. Anyways, while UST was king, the Archers were close behind. A few years after, they were able to score Ren-Ren Ritualo from San Beda, and took over the UAAP in the early 2000’s with a 4-peat.

They years kept coming, and they couldn’t stop winning. Mac Cardona, Mike Cortez, Joseph Yeo, TY Tang, Jvee Casio… how can you lose with these kind of players?

Today, however, you would find it hard to see anyone in their current roster who’s even close to be on that list above. The tables have turned, as they say. The Eagles (with the FEU Tamaraws behind them) are dominating. The Archers, on the other hand, seem to be facing their own dark times. James Mangahas and Peejay Barua, supposedly DLSU’s top gunners, are a dissapointing duo. While they led the scoring for La Salle in yeasterday’s game, their leadership and Animo has been missing all season.

The young guys are playing quite decent. Save for the fact that guys like Joshua Webb, and sometimes Arvie Bringas, prefer to get more into their opponents’ heads than to actually get their own heads in the game. Quite a talented rookie bunch, but it’ll take time for them to play in sync and to win games themselves.

And sometimes, you can’t help but look at their rookie counterparts, Jeric Teng of UST and Mikee Reyes of UP, who dropped 25 markers yesterday against La Salle. These newbies are playing as if they’re veterans. You have to wonder when the Archer rookies will play like what Teng and Reyes has been playing. Also consider the fact that these two were passed over by DLSU during the summer.

Bader Malabes? Decent perimeter defense. Overrated, however, on offense. I think all of us know that by now. Add to the fact that he seems to be the most hated guy on the green side as of the moment for his in-game lapses and… ahem… airballs.

I know it could be tough to stomach for the Lasallian faithful, but this Archer lineup is under reconstruction. They are facing their worst season ever as they could potentially end the elimination phase not included in the final four picture. Coach Franz Pumaren has been called by some to quit his post. Quite ridiculous and disenheartening, knowing that coach Franz has done a plethora of accomplishments that other coaches could only dream of. Like, c’mon guys, if some of you can’t take this, then you should not consider yourself to be a die-hard Lasallian, or whatever friggin’ DLSU fan club you’re in.

Of course, they still have a chance of making it to the next round. However, if they don’t, it does not mean that DLSU will face a dark stretch wherein they will continue to be near the cellar for years to come. The Archers have the blue chip recruits, and this year’s experience will only do these guys better going forward. Remember the after-Arwind Tamaraws in 2006? They sucked, but their recruits were topnotch and became dangerous gunners today, hence, their championship-esque standing this year. It will only be a matter of time before the Archers’ class of rookies can be as dangerous or even better.

The Green Archers can take the L’s for now, but watch out. They are on pace to achieve a lot of W’s and probably a C or two in the coming years. Give the plum to the Eagles or the Tams this season, but the Green and White will definitely be back to shoot the competition down. Animo!

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