DLSU v UST and UE – Getting there, but not quite yet.

After 2 games in the second round, the De La Salle Green Archers are at 5-4 after losing a heartbreak to the UST Growling Tigers but winning against the UE Red Warriors.

Similar Tactics, Two Different Games

It’s interesting how these two games are more similar than what most people would think. The fact that there seems to be a set rotation in place already, there are questions over the substitute center.

Rivero has been given the starting role but it’s his replacement that has been different – Tratter or Muyang. These two players are very different and offer the Archers a variety of options depending on whom their big man is. Against UE without an established center, it was strength and rebounding power of Muyang which was preferred over the athletic ability of Tratter. However against a powerful center like Abdul, it was Tratter who played.

Besides Caracut who is sick, the Archers fielded the normal starters and with their subs – Navarro, Sargeant, Tratter/Muyang, and Langston coming into the ballgame. More often than not, Coach Juno would play Thomas or Teng in the court always solidifying the 9 man rotation of the Archers. With Caracut re-entering the rotation, Langston performed admirably and could potentially be the 10th man to help spread out the minutes of the Archers.

Often the players found space to create for an open shooter. The last 4 shots De La Salle took against UST during the closing minutes were very good looks and Torralba, Teng and Torres really should have made those shots which could’ve tied the ball game. These players were executed similarly during the 3rd quarter against the Tigers where the Archers made the shots. Against the Red Warriors, the Archers initiated the same plays again where they made some of their baskets.

In a similar fashion, the Archers also found ways to get their big men involved, often with a drive and dish play that gave the Archers, in particular Rivero easy points.

It’s interesting that the Archers have executed efficiently over the last few games, veering away from an isolation oriented offence for the Archers and instead, have made the extra pass for the easy score. However, this is a team that is getting used to new plays and adjusting where there could’ve been more extra passes on certain occasions, particularly when Sargeant, Langston, and Torralba free for either a lay-up or a good jump shot.

La Salle has been playing very good basketball on the court that point to a potentially great team, there are strategical issues that require to be addressed in order to take the game to the next level.

Issues to Address

The Archers continually have difficulty breaking the zone despite have the players capable of attacking it. Teng and Torres are known slashers more than shooters and it’s a question as to why they do not attack more often. The strength should be taken advantage of given that opponents dare the Archers to shoot from the outside.

It’s interesting what could’ve happen had Teng drove against UST instead of taking several three point shots. In a similar fashion, that during the big run of UST, had La Salle attacked the zone, they may have gotten to the free throw line more often or would’ve fished more fouls against the aggressive players of UST.

Beyond the on-court concerns of the Archers would also be the timing of how to maange opponent runs. Coach Juno has often said that basketball, in particular UAAP basketball, is a game of runs and it’s about the management of runs that will decide a win or a loss. Perhaps the players are trained how to manage these runs, but more often than not, Coach Juno would elect not to call a time out when faced with a run. This is what happened in the losses during the first round, against UST when they started the fourth quarter strong, and even against UE where they started the third quarter with a run.

Calling a time-out is strategic not only in refreshing the players physically and mentally while giving them instructions, but also breaking momentum and slowing the game down. However, while admirable that the coaching staff has decided to trust their players in managing these runs, the players also need help from their coaches when a big run is happening.

Turnovers against the Red Warriors were expected, but big turnovers during the last 2 minutes could’ve easily been avoided with cooler heads and by bringing the ball up the court. The sequence where the players outpassed UE who was double teaming the ball handler was a tactical masterclass with 4 players all on the perimeter just passing the ball. The potential and knowledge is there. But the execution often fails especially during high pressure situations which the team has to manage.


FEU is a big game for the Archers given that beating them would slightly increase their chances for a potential twice to beat advantage and solidify their hold on a final four spot. However, they need to progress greatly over the week in beating the dribble drive offense of the Tamaraws while shutting down all the players of FEU.

The Archers have shown marked improvement over the last few weeks especially after several disappointing loses. In fact, for some losing against UST did not feel like a loss because the Archers played very well. This is compared to our wins against NU, Adamson, and even UE in the first round where it felt as if we just pulled over the finishing line.

The Archers are getting their. A little more push, a stroke of luck, and a lot of faith will see us through and see the team we have been expecting for a long time

Animo La Salle!

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