The Arellano University Braves are in the playoffs, just like the Arellano University Chiefs.
This is what I was trying to tell a young sportswriter named Randolph.
For the second straight year, both have made it to the Final Four semifinals, with the Braves reaching the next phase of the junior division of the 92nd National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Junior Basketball wars.
They made it through, the Arellano University Braves did, after they came up with a five five-game winning run last August, and with the game of one of their top rebounders Carlo Abadeza picking up
-Arellano Braves 78, San Sebastian Staglets 65
Last Aug. 18, top gunner Guillmer de la Torre and the 6-foot-4 Abadeza led the way for the Braves when the smothered the San Sebastian Staglets, 78-65.
It was the beginning of a 5-game winning run, and their second straight win put, or kept the Braves in a share of the lead with the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs.
De la Torre finished the game with 27 points and six rebounds, while Abadeza did a lot of work with 13 points and seven rebounds.
(Guilmer de la Torre).
Their game was not that challenging. But when it was over, Abadeza was elated because he was finally getting his groove and his shape back.
Statistically, he is third top performer in the Braves roster with his averages of 13.1 points, five rebounds and 1.7 assists.
He is behind de la Torre and the Braves’ no. 2 player Lars Sunga.
“Sobrang saya ko. Nakuha ko na ang range ko. Kasi, nung mga past games, hinahanap ko ang range ko,” said the 19-year old Carlo.
Abadeza, who was having weight issues in the first round, started getting hot in the second period.
When he got off the bench in the last 6:20 of the second period, and replaced Sunga, things started moving fast for the Braves.
(Aaron Fermin (18) watches as teammate Lars Sunga (4)goes for a basket.
With Abadeza patrolling the lanes, the Braves let Staglet Damie Cuntapay score on a split free throw before they made their big moves.
A 23-0 blast followed after de la Torre struck with a three.
Then, Abadeza followed up de la Torre’s trey with two charities off Cuntapay during their pullaway.
In all de la Torre hit 15 points during that 4-minute scoring binge, and the Braves went on to post a 44-21 halftime lead.
Abadeza joined up with other big men like Aaron Fermin in shutting down the Staglets’ scorers.
His use of speed and intimidation under the boards helped keep SSC from scoring crucial points.
(Koby de Leon).
And, with Cuntapay as the Staglets top scorer with 15 points, did not get any scoring support from another prolific teammate Kenneth Villapondo after he was held to just 2 in the third.
With it, the Braves stayed ahead by 15, 57-42, at the end of the third.
When it was over, coach Braves coach Tylon Darjuan said boys are finally doing what they were supposed to do.
“Aware na sila sa mga pumapatay sa aming laro. Una, pinababayaan nila pag nilayuan. Tapos, hahabol ang kalaban. Sabi ko, wag nang bigyan nang kumpiyansa ang mga gumagawa,” said Darjuan.
He later talked about Abadeza’s good showing that morning.
“Kilala ko ang laro. Alam ko na may ilalabas na laro iyan,” added Darjuan, noted that Abadeza’s consistency under the board last season made him a member so the season 91 Mythical Five and Best Defensive Player.
- Carlo Abadeza and his need to lose weight
The last time Abadeza played, he made only seven points and nine rebounds when they beat the Emilio Aguinaldo College Brigadiers, 90-64, a win which serves as the start of their five-game winning run.
And that’s below his average. Fermin picked up the slack with 17 points and 11 boards.
This time, things turned around with what he’s doing.
“Hirap ako sa shape ko. Sobrang wala ako sa shape. Kaya pinilit kong magbawas ng timbang,” added Abadeza.
He admitted that he got overconfident during his off-the-court preparations, and did not see the need to lose weight at first.
But Darjuan noticed that he had gained bulk and weighed over 200 lbs.
“Umabot ako ng 200-lbs. Buti na lang nag-stepup si Aaron(Fermin),” said Abadeza, who is his final year with the Braves.
With the loss, the Staglets have dropped to the bottom of the standings.
- The Arellano University Braves and the La Salle Greenhills Junior Blazers share third and fourth position with similar 13-5 win-loss records.
- They will meet on Tuesday to determine which among the Red Cubs and the Red Robins will be their semis opponent.
- This scenario is taking place after Sept. 22’s game when big man Will Gozum provided both speed and muscle under the boards as the Malayan High School of Science Red Robins overpowered the Emilio Aguinaldo College-ICA Brigadiers, 112-75, the last elimination round game season.
- The Red Robins who finished their 18-game assignment with 15 wins and three losses.
- This formally earned the Red Robins the no. 2 seeding in the Final Four semifinals.
- The Red Robins are behind the top finishing squad, the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, who took the no. 1 with their 17-1 win-loss slate.
- On Sept. 19, sharpshooting Evan Nelle and Robi Nayve struck with 19 and 16 points for the defending champion San Beda Red Cubs, who got back at the Arellano University Braves, 92-74, and formally earned the top Final Four seeding.
(Footnote: Out of zeal, I asked a rookie scribe Randolph, who is one year in the sports beat, about who among the Braves are the best players who can lead the team to glory.
Well, he knows something about Jiovani Jalalon and Donald Gumaru being among the best players in the Chiefs lineup.
And he knows nada about Guilmer de la Torre, not one of their bigs Carlo Abadeza, and even Lars Sunga, as being among the top players in the Braves roster over the last three years.
As a 30-year veteran, I was dumbfounded that he did not take the initiative, nor taken the extra mile to learn more about the Braves. This far in the tournament, the San Beda College, Mapua Institite Technology, Arellano University have teams in the Final Four, both in the senior and junior divisions (Many scribes who are a year or less in the beat are usually curious, and will find things out on their own, just like Ramon Bonilla).
And to ease this pain of mine that the College of St. Benilde Blazers won only one game this season, knowing that La Salle Greenhills is also in the Final Four is refreshing.
(Since I am attending a marriage retreat this weekend, and thinking about Randolph before bedtime, I just included him in my prayers. And its with the thought that someday, he will grow up to be a better person. And so, I will just let all this pass and continue on).
Anyway, this piece ain’t about Randolph.
Its about initiative and taking, and going the extra mile.)