Posted by: sportsandbeans | August 24, 2006

The Positive Side of the Archers’ Suspension

Milo by Milo

Hello Sports And Beans fans! After coming from a relaxing vacation break in the beautiful beaches of Boracay, I’m here back once again to give you my insights on the world of sports.

They said that the UAAP without the de La Salle Green Archers would be boring. Many believed that due to the suspension of the de La Salle Green Archers, the season 69 of the UAAP would turn into a flop resulting in word fights in message boards, slightly lower sales this season, and the loss of many major sponsors like Globe and Milo in the UAAP. We’ve seen quite so many articles dealing with this subject alone.

Yes, DLSU brings the skills, the sponsors, the money and the unbeatable image in the UAAP. Year after year, they have the best set of athletes, rookies, and pull in more money than any other team in the UAAP. This god-like status of the Archers make them a powerful force in the UAAP in any way you look at it, and any team who manages to beat them is a newsworthy article that might even top a rightful headline of a newspaper.

Yet, believe it or not, but season 69, sans the hype that DLSU brings, there is a positive side to this loss, and it may still pave a positive mark in UAAP’s history. I want to bring you the flipside of the Archers’ departure.

Hear me out. I’m not clamoring for the de La Salle Archers to be scratched off the UAAP for eternity. So please, if ever you want to give your opinions, no “nananalo ang Eagles dahil wala ang Archers” type of attacks. We cannot build on constructive opinions if we resort to school bashing. I’m also not here to defend or root for the suspension of the Archers in basketball as well as the other sports in UAAP. I do not know who’s right, wrong, who’s presenting the truth or lies so I do not want to play with fire on that topic. I do not have evidence on such matters so I am not the right person to talk about those things.

What I have in my hand now are just positive facts and observations that are happening in Season 69 sans the men from Taft only. Nothing else.

1. Let’s Run Run Run!

If you’ve not noticed by now, let me tell you that the scoring averages and the speed of the games nowadays has blown the proverbial ceiling average of the UAAP, and are at an all-time high. Back then, 70-75 points was already a high mark in the game, but now, as early as the latter part of the third quarter, 70 points can be reached. Yes, you can claim that the departure of La Salle has nothing to do with this current trend, but the suspension of the dreaded defense most especially the Green Archer’s full court press has more or less contributed to birth of an allegro tempo in Season 69. Think about it, the full court press forces teams to stop and wiggle their way in the backcourt trying to beat the ten-second mark. If they manage to slip by the press, the opposing team must settle for a half-court game of passes and plays turning the game into a slower pace. And much like the Phoenix Suns, speed draws spectators and fires up excitement into the action.

2. It’s More than Ateneo against La Salle

The break in the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has led to the birth or should I say nurturing, of new and other rivalries and “storylines” in the UAAP. Examples of these are: The Battle of Katipunan – UP against Ateneo, The Giant Slayer – NU, Jervy Cruz – the future of the Growling Tigers, So Close (The Winged Battle) – Ateneo against Adamson, and many more. New rivalries are what the UAAP needs. Rivalries = more spectators. Imagine more sold-out venues in a season due to the rivalries. Imagine how sponsors would eat out of the UAAP’s hands just to take advantage of this. Wow, UAAP would hit payday.

3. The Other Four Teams – More Competitive

When I mean the other four, these are Adamson, UST, UP and NU. With the absence of La Salle, maybe, just maybe this opened up an opportunity to these teams who are more often than not, do not make it to the final four. A juggernaut like La Salle will often, if not always procure one slot every year due to their outstanding basketball program and formidable recruitment. Ateneo, UE and FEU are also known to send in strong teams also equipped with good basketball programs and support in the mix so in the recent years, these teams will always be the same ones everyone will see in the final four.

This fact alone may cause teams to get discouraged. Why try when you can almost be assured of the loss?

Now, one spot is vacant due to La Salle’s suspension, and Adamson, NU, UP and UST are fighting over it. Even perennial bottom dweller, NU, is scrounging their guts out in the middle of the pack, even beating a top team like FEU and recurrent just-outside-the-final-four contenders like UP and UST. Suddenly, these four teams have shown significant improvements in their offense and defense. No longer can one easily predict the outcome of any match-up.

And it is probably because of this that this season of the UAAP is still surviving. Sure, the games nowadays would not draw crowds or sponsors as much as an Ateneo-La Salle game, but judging from the attendance I see in each game, only a small average of it has been staved off due to La Salle’s suspension. Despite the slight increase in ticket prices, the spectators coming from UP, UST, NU and Adamson have grew in number because for once, the teams are closely bunched up in the middle, and any team has a shot of making it into the final four.

As of today, Ateneo, UE, and FEU have the top three slots of the tournament as many predicted, with Ateneo already clinching a spot due to their spotless record. UE and FEU have been blazing hot these past games that they more or less also ensured themselves of a slot in the final four. This leaves one vital slot for the other four teams. That dream of making it now seems to be more of a reality than a pipe dream.

As I see it, one can expect to have more and exciting games to come in this season of the UAAP especially when the teams try to answer the question on which team will take the last slot of the final four.

And UAAP is thankful for this.

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