Finally, a clear and decisive victory.
The Green Archers upended Adamson, 68-61 last Saturday for a much-needed win that brought them back into consideration as a playoff contender. The win gave the Archers a 2-3 record going into the last week of the first round.
The win over former Green Archer coach Pumaren’s Falcons came after some had already given up on the Archers after their devastating mid-week loss to FEU.
The Archers had a difficult start to the game, allowing Adamson to take a 12-point first quarter lead behind a couple of long treys by Falcon one-and-done guard Chauca. The green-and-white coaches went to their bench early, and the role players managed to narrow the gap to 15-21 at the end of the first.
The second quarter was much better. Joaqui Manuel proved to be the sparkplug off the bench, bothering Ahanmisi while hitting two inspired 3pointers to help the Archers grab the lead 41-33 behind a great defensive effort in the second quarter. That decisive quarter saw the Archers outscore their opponents, 26-12.
As expected, Adamson made a fight of it in the second half, fighting back 16-11 in the 3rd to cut the lead to just 3 after 3 quarters. But the Archers would not be denied, leaning on Team Captain Caracut’s consecutive treys to repel the persistent attempts of Adamson to rally. Also factoring in the final push was Aljun Melecio, held scoreless in the first 3 quarters, who pumped in 4 crucial points in the late stretch.
The Archers’ aggressiveness netted them 29 free throw attempts, of which they made 18 (62%). Thankfully. Not that good, but just enough. The Archers’ board work was also better, as they dominated Adamson 54-42 despite not having an import. The more active defense also forced Adamson to resort to the long ball, which they only made 7/27.
Justine Baltazar shook off a bad start to topscore with 21 points, including a pair of treys. He had ample scoring support from Caracut (15) and Malonzo (12).
Together with the results of yesterday’s games, this weekend’s outcomes further muddled the standings. At 2-3, the Archers now sit tied for 6th with FEU, but are only half a game behind their victims who are at 3-3. If they win both remaining games against UP (4-1) and UST (4-2), they could conceivably tie for 2nd if UP loses their remaining games.
It’s turning out to be a most interesting season. Anything can still happen, and the Green Archers are definitely in the thick of things.