Game Reaction: Green Archers vs Fighting Maroons

Jeron Teng

The Good:
DLSU’s offense was just clicking all-game long yesterday. Since DLSU was able to control the boards 51 to 32, the Green Archers were able to run and score easy baskets. The Green Archers ended the game with 24 fast break points compared to the Fighting Maroons’ 16. More importantly, La Salle was able to knock its perimeter jumpers with good efficiency which is 7-for-12 from deep. Thomas and Almond had three triples each while Luigi had one.

Since the Green Archers were able to knock those threes down, it opened up the lane for Jeron to make his inside incursions, the better thing in yesterday’s game was Jeron was not just penetrating for layups, Jeron was penetrating and converting 13 to 14-foot floaters and jumpers. He really took the mismatches that he saw especially there was no, one good individual defender on the side of UP to stop him unlike last year that Alvin Padilla was there to mark Jeron all game long. Coach Ricky Dandan did not gamble putting in Wong on Teng after Wong did not fared well against Jericho Cruz in UP’s opening game.

From the outside, to the mid-range, now let’s discuss the paint guys for the Green Archers. As seen yesterday, La Salle started as always by looking inside at the post. But unlike last Saturday’s game against UST, decision making was faster this time around, if there was not a good look for an entry pass, DLSU runs a pick and roll right away for Jeron with Thomas and Almond spacing it out on the outside. Spacing was better, allowing Jason, Arnold, and Norbert to make their moves inside.

As a matter of fact, because of this spacing, Thomas was able to find Arnold thrice for an easy score inside the paint. Jeron was able to find Arnold as well for the slam back in the 2nd quarter. Hi-Lo plays were also seen yesterday especially Jason putting himself at the top of the key then Norbert flashes in the middle for an easy move towards the basket. Jason also had his way at the post especially in the 4th quarter to thwart UP’s run. This was expected though as UP do not have the personnel to really match La Salle defensively inside the paint.

Thomas had a career game yesterday as he won the stat of the game among the DLSU players and for the game for an all-around effort. Thomas ended the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals. Ball movement was faster on half court sets and La Salle looks to bring down the ball aggressively once they secure the defensive rebound. DLSU also had the better in the assist department over UP, 21-11. He outplayed Asilum in their match up yesterday, in spite Asilum’s scoring burst in the 2nd quarter where he made 9 markers out of his 12 for the game.

Luigi De La Paz’s scoring and overall play has to be commended as well. With this short rotation that Coach Juno has been using so far this season, any stellar play from the bench will be important and will indeed be a bonus. He played his role well, trying to spare Jeron Teng or Almond Vosotros minutes and at the same time, taking the task of limiting Sam Marata on the defensive end.

The Bad:
Of course in this game, it was evident that after giving up 63 points thru overtime last Saturday (51 points in regulation play), La Salle suddenly gave up 84 in this game. Kyles Lao took advantage of a smaller Almond Vosotros guarding him and showed that he can indeed play in the UAAP. Knowing the mismatch in front of him, he constantly and relentlessly attacked inside and was successful in going to the free throw line. Lao’s 8 out of his 18 points in the game came from the free throw area.

Another point of discussion as well was Marata and Asilum lighting it out from the outside. Both guys have combined for half of UP’s three-point conversions in the game. UP converted 14 treys for the whole game, Marata getting 5 while Asilum burying 4 from deep. UP’s treys came from different circumstances. On pick and roll, every time La Salle defenders go under the screen, UP made DLSU pay by knocking the jumpers given to them.

Marata was able to find his groove as well by using the screens effectively and moving without the ball enabling him to get into his sweet spots on the floor to make his shots. Of course, there were instances that Marata’s individual talent took over but it was just not enough to carry the Fighting Maroons in the game. Another notable performance also for the Fighting Maroons was former Ateneo Blue Eaglet Kyle Suarez.

After getting involved in Arnold Van Opstal two-handed jam poster, Kyle scored nine points in a span of eight playing minutes in an array of moves, attacking the basket, hitting the three-ball, and hitting a mid-range jumper in a crucial 3rd quarter which saw UP scoring 23 points in the quarter. It was in the middle quarters that DLSU had problems stopping UP on offense as the Fighting Maroons scored 25 and 23 points respectively in the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

There were instances that since DLSU wanted to put away the game early, the Green Archers committed turnovers while running the break resulting to UP fast breaks on the other end. These were the tendencies that should be adjusted once the team faces Ateneo on Sunday. Ateneo is a disciplined team and mistakes as such could prove to be costly in that game.

Final Thoughts:
A win is still a win no matter how it was achieved. DLSU was favoured to win yesterday and the Green Archers made sure that all their advantages will be used in order to win the game. More or less, it was a balanced attack from the starters. They were able to produce the points necessary from their position: Norbert and Jason inside, Almond and Thomas from the outside, and Jeron providing the slashing attack points. If the team had a potent offense like this last Saturday, DLSU would have been 2-0 by now.

From UST struggling anything from deep (they can’t even get a clean look), UP found otherwise in yesterday’s game. But then, come to think of it, gambling on low percentage shots is still better than giving the opposing team comfort in converting high percentage baskets. Due to UP’s success in the middle quarters; UP fell in love with it and took 28 attempts from the three-ball region all game.

In those missed three ball attempts by UP, La Salle was able to score on their offensive opportunity due to more options available on offense. In this game also, La Salle had different starters and different off the bench players which showed the coaching staff’s adjustment from the loss against UST aside from the fact that they are imposing their game plan based on the strengths and weaknesses of the Green Archers’ opponent.

We may see another set of tactics, line up, and player exposure that will be used on Sunday against Ateneo. Even this keeps everyone guessing on how the Green Archers will perform each and every game this season. Normally the first round is really a feeling out round in the UAAP because the basis for scouting is the preseason performance of each team so it is normal to see extreme games, meaning either low scoring or its exact opposite, just as what was seen yesterday.

This just makes the season interesting seeing the Green Archers evolve from one game to another.

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