Archers, Tigers join hands for UAAP thriller
SPORTS FOR ALL - Philip Ella Juico (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2013 - 12:00am

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers captured the coveted 76th season UAAP men’s basketball in an emotion-filled and dramatic game before more than 23,000 fans at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Saturday afternoon, 71-69.The Archers overhauled a 15-point deficit, 25-40 midway in the third quarter on their way to upending the well prepared University of Sto Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers. The come-from-behind victory revived memories of the 1956 NCAA basketball championship won by the Archers who overcame an eerily similar 25-40 lead of the Mapua Cardinals at halftime to win 79-74.

Halfway around the globe, Sunday morning in Manila (Saturday evening in Las Vegas), Timothy Bradley Jr. successfully defended his WBO against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on a split decision: 115-113 and 116-112 for Bradley; and 115-113 in favor of Marquez. Like Marquez, we thought that the Mexican did enough to win by a close decision, 115-113, even if he was staggered in the last few seconds of the 12th round by a Bradley left hook. Unlike the Green Archers-Growling Tigers, which was entertaining and showed the best of Philippine collegiate basketball, the Bradley-Marquez title fight turned out to be unentertaining as we had warned in last week’s column. 

Bradley, on instructions of his trainer Joel Diaz, avoided a slugfest with Marquez and box “smartly.” As Diaz said, “Tim followed the game plan perfectly. I told you no one can beat Tim if he boxes the way he should, and he didn’t have a mark on his face. Marquez never touched him. No one can outbox Tim Bradley. I told him, ‘Don’t get reckless.’”

Well, Bradley is in the wrong business if he wants to remain unmarked in boxing – he should have probably joined one of the international beauty pageants like what Miss World Megan Young did with great success and honor for the Philippines. An even more curious outcome of the fight is Bradley declaring himself number three in the best fighters’ pound-for-pound list.

The  Archers-Tigers produced the human drama that Bradley-Marquez also intrinsically had except that Bradley took away so much of it by fighting a “smart” fight, refusing to engage Marquez except in spurts in the dying seconds of each round.

One poignant element in the DLSU-UST tussle is the stuff of which good movies are made: rivalry between siblings who belong to a close knit family. All throughout the season, the brothers Tieng, Jeric (UST) and Jeron (DLSU) would cheer for each other with the rest of the Teng family led by dad, Alvin (himself a former Tiger) and mom, Susan. Jeron would be in the stands in yellow when Jeric had a game. Jeric would return the favor and wear green when Jeron was seeing action for the Archers.

The Sunday before the epic championship game, Jeron and Jeric graced the opening of the Ryu Ramen house at the new Ayala-land developed UP Town Center in Diliman. The two arrived with their two younger sisters and Alvin. Missing was Susan who was nursing a fever reportedly triggered by the highly exciting second game won by the Green Archers, 77-70, to even up the three-game series.

 The two gamely stood for pictures hamming it up after being egged on by my sons Vincent and Joseph to strike a fighting pose like two boxers doing their bit for promotional materials. Guests at the restaurant opening expressed admiration at the four Tengs good manners and amiable conduct.

One could easily empathize with Jeron therefore when he sought Jeric after the game and raised the latter’s hand to show to one and all that the beaten brother (Jeric)was, in his (Jeron’s) heart, the true winner. In his post-game interview, Jeron said that Jeric is the true MVP – certainly a comment that embodies genuine respect and admiration and not pity for the loser.  It is during such awkward moments when one is caught up with one’s own goals and the need to do one’s best at the expense of others that one’s character and basic decency is tested.

What however could have marred an otherwise display of pure competitive spirit and sportsmanship was Kevin Ferrer employing multi-martial arts tactics in games one and two. Ferrer’s unsportsmanlike fouls in these two games resulted in free throws given to the Archers plus ball possession. The fellow is a versatile player but is allowing his emotions to get the better of him.

If there is any message that this series ought to deliver to its nationwide (and overseas) audience, especially the youth, it is: if young men want to go far in basketball (in sports and, in life), they must learn to focus on the game and work at winning in a sporting manner. As we always say at the end of our Saturday radio sports program over dwXL, “The opponent is not an enemy; he is a colleague in the playing field.”

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with