ndrei Caracut of De La Salle University drives against a phalanx of National University defenders. (

Green Archers take opening day win

One step at a time.

That, for sure, worked for the De La Salle University Green Archers who are back in Davao City to defend their Kadayawan Invitational Basketball title. An 80-72 win over UAAP rival National University on Sunday night kicked off things just right for the reigning champions. Not too beautiful, but good enough.

The long-term goal, for sure, is the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball title. But winning the Kadayawan pocket tournament would be a feel-good jumpstart.

The Green Archers, parading four Fil-Am recruits, went to one of them and rolled with the old. Keyshawn Evans sparked a Green Archers juggernaut in the second half while old reliables Andrei Caracut and Ralph Cu scored in the clutch to give coach Jermaine Byrd his first W in the Davao hoopfest sponsored by the city government of Davao in cooperation with Samahang Basketbal ng Pilipinas (SBP) Region 11, Escandor Cup, The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Matina Enclaves and Arcadia.

As is with teams having new players, the Taft-based cagers struggled through the first half which was dominated by the Bulldogs. Dave Ildefonso and brother Shaun, sons of retired PBA star Dannie, exploded for the Bulldogs who led by as much as 11, 31-20 midway into the second period.

Robert Minerva caught fire early for the Bulldogs with five straight markers that stung the Green Archers. As soon as the defending titlists got into the groove, the baskets started to fall as they finally took the driver’s seat in the third canto and never to relinquish it.

The closest the Bulldogs got to was within one halfway through the final period.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go came home to his ‘homecourt’ Davao City Recreation Center to open the 4-team tournament with SBP 11 regional director and Presidential Adviser for Sports Glenn Escandor.