No Final Four for La Salle



The De La Salle Green Archers are out of the UAAP Final Four in hurtful fashion. After losing to the NU Bulldogs, 56 to 40, the Archers can only settle for fifth as it catapults the UST Growling Tigers to a sure fourth spot.

So let’s check out why La Salle blanked out this season.


FRANZ PUMAREN

The former San Miguel Beerman and the winningest coach of DLSU history had a plan. Because he served mentor for the 2008 RP Youth Team, he wanted to get these players to his squad. Amongst the players are Norbert Torres, Samuel Marata, Philip Paredes, Mark Mendoza, Joseph Tolentino, and Gabriel Banal.

Pumaren paid dearly when he chose to fly to Manila while competing in the RP Youth tourney. He eventually resigned from his post and gave great deals to his RP Youth players. Up to this day though, the Archers have yet to gain from their acquisitions. Why he didn’t get RR Garcia, Kyle Pascual, Ian Sangalang, and former RP Youth aspirant Jeric Teng baffles me. As of the 2011 season, Tolentino and Banal are not in the lineup.

Basically the plan hasn’t gained anything... yet.  

The question is when though.


DINDO PUMAREN

Hey, it’s the other Pumaren brother! The Bullet is a prized playmaker but when he took over the reins from Franz, he can’t seem to get the team going. For a community pampered by the likes of Jun Limpot, Mark Telan, Don Allado, Renren Ritualo, Mike Cortez, Mark Cardona, and others that is determined to find quick results from the guy that almost led the UE Red Warriors to the title, getting extreme beatdown from UP and UE is unacceptable.

And then there’s the Tim Cone situation.

I’m pretty sure Pumaren will have his head because of their debacle. I’m just really sad for the guy. Again in some ways, Franz had a hand in this. None of the players he took in that RP Youth squad are superstars. You can batch Joshua Webb, Yutien Andrada, Jarelan Tampus, and Luis Dela Paz with this.


LEADERSHIP

Even in 2010, this was the team’s biggest problem. You know you’re doomed when the only veterans in the squad are Simon Atkins, Maui Villanueva, and Ferdinand.

Ferdinand!

In 2011 we said goodbye to Ferdinand and we await the return of LA Revilla in the lineup. Actually at the start of the season, Revilla was looked upon as their savoir. I think every baller named LA is awesome. Revilla plays like LA Tenorio and at one point gave the impression that La Salle means business. However, his rise meant Simon Atkins’ fall. Atkins, now serving his last year of eligibility, failed to make a nice impression. When Pumaren gave Atkins more minutes, Revilla’s game suffered. As for Villanueva, his final year with the team is also disappointing. With the way these two are playing, I doubt if they’ll even get drafted in the PBA.

And then the team lost Andrada to injury.


SCORING

This is the kicker. In theory, a typical National squad has no main man. Check out the numerous Asian Games teams mainly composed of PBA superstars. La Salle can’t live without a go-to-guy. No player in La Salle as of this moment is averaging in double digits... just like last year. When LA Revilla was doing wonders with the squad, the Archers were on top. However, when Revilla got checked, no one consistently stepped up.  

Webb and Marata have regressed in their growth while Tampus and Andrada have a long way to go. Revilla can be productive but the Archers need a steady presence like what they had in the past.

If you remember the teams of the yesteryears, Limpot partnered with Tony Boy Espinosa, Telan had Dino Aldaguer, Allado had Cortez, Rico Maierhofer had TY Tang...

And the list goes on. 

I’m a betting man and even if I suck at betting, I doubt if Tim Cone will coach the DLSU Green Archers. It’s fun to see Cone re-energizing his rivalry with Ateneo’s Norman Black. However, in a league where poor shot selections, mindless decisions, and unforced errors, the triangle offense might be a problem for the youngsters. But then, Joel Banal had the same approach when he coached the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a championship in 2002.

It was an awesome sight.

But that team had Enrico Villanueva, Rich Alvarez, Larry Fonacier, LA Tenorio, Jec Chia, and Wesley Gonzales.

Whether or not Pumaren sticks with the team though, they need to address their problems.

Or else, the team that once never missed a final four will end up getting trashed over and over.

Game over!

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