67TH  UAAP  SEASON:  ARCHERS'  BIG  DEFENSE  STUNS  TAMARAWS

MANILA,  July 19, 2004
 
(STAR)
By Abac Cordero  -  La Salle caught Far Eastern University sleeping on the job last night to run away with its second straight victory, 69-54, and a share of second place in the 67th UAAP season at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers played their hearts out, diving for loose balls, dying for rebounds and taking elbows for fouls while the Tamaraws left their hearts at home as they were outshot, outrebounded and outassisted all game.

"We really showed that we can play good defense. My players stayed within the system and I think we really scouted them well," said La Salle coach Franz Pumaren after his team moved up to 2-1 in a tie with Adamson and FEU.

La Salleís victory left Ateneo as the only unbeaten team so far this year following wins over La Salle and Santo Tomas.

Center Mark Benitez, forwards Marc Cardona and Ryan Arana and pointguard TY Tang all lived up to expectations. In contrast, FEUís main men Arwind Santos and Denok Miranda were hardly a factor.

Pumaren singled out Arana as the key player who delivered 16 points, four rebounds and a lot of hustle in only 18 minutes of action, giving the La Salle coach hardly any need to field Joseph Yeo in the entire fourth quarter.

"I have so much confidence in him," said Pumaren of the left-handed fighter who kept on pushing despite undergoing hernia operation last May. He hardly had any practice leading to La Salleís season opener against Ateneo.

Adamson pounded National U, 69-53, in the first game for its second win in three outings. The loss was the Bulldogsí third straight. A fire almost broke out inside the Adamson locker room when the teamís utility men left a water heater on and unattended for the entire first half, causing a short circuit that covered the entire room in smoke.

The Falcons were forced to transfer to another room as they prepared for the final half but kept their focus as they posted their biggest lead at 56-34 with only eight minutes left in the one-sided contest.

After the game, Adamson coach Luigi Trillo quickly looked forward to their next assignment against La Salle, a team known for its dreaded and relentless full-court press. The game is set Saturday.

"Things are going to be different against La Salle. Itís a team that has always given us fits," said Trillo, hoping to steer the Falcons to their first Final Four appearance since the format was introduced in 1994.

The loss was another bitter pill to swallow for the Bulldogs who lost to Santo Tomas by 15 points, to La Salle by 20 and now to Adamson by 16. They will take a six-day rest before facing University of the East in what could be a closer game.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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