Postscript to the UP Game 8/22

For years, the Archers have been known for their excellent guard corps. We’ve had players like Dino Aldeguer, Mac Cuan, Mike Cortez, Ty Tang, and even JV Casio. This year, paradoxically, the weakest spot in our rotation (the point guard), is turning out to be a critical element in our losing yesterday’s game, as it was for the games we lost earlier in the season.

Defensively, it was the same thing over and over again. Lester Alvarez, Eric Salamat, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, and now, Mikee Reyes, all guards, were the key to beating us, using a combination of penetration and good outside shooting. Unfortunately, the Maroon who did the most damage was Mikee Reyes, who came from La Salle Greenhills. Even sadder that he did not sing his former school’s anthem, unlike Maui , Joel, and Sam did for us, and the way Migs and Martin Reyes did for UP. Something to prove, perhaps?

It was another guard who contributed to the Archers’ downfall, only this time it was one of ours. On the last offensive plays, Hyram Bagatsing made two crucial mistakes in the last minute. He wasted too much time on a play starting from 34 seconds down to 19 seconds, only to drive the ball, UP up by 3 pts. This should have been a two for one situation if a 2 pt. shot was the battle plan, or a three point shot was the play design with that much time left. As it turned out, neither happened, and he just split his charities. The second mistake was he dribbled off his foot with just seconds to go.

Overall, the defense was NOT THERE, PERIOD. It was another shootout at the OK Corral. Losing is forgivable. Giving up 81 points to UP is not. Offense will NOT win any games for us. Except for Bader’s back-to-back steals off the box press, and the 6 turnovers we forced on Mikee Reyes, our press defense seemed to have come out from the laundry, soft like fabric with Downy instead of from the dug-out. UP, on the other hand, had a much stronger triple team press on the ball carrier, which forced some turnovers and anxious ball carrying moments.

Remember, our system thrives on our guard rotation. The press is the first step. Coming into the half court, the primary defense on the guard penetration is the second. This is where we are lacking this season. Unfortunately, our first string pg Simon, was out due to injury.

We were not beaten by UP plays mind you. This was a double barreled shoot-out by cross-over moving Mikee and the steady Woody Co, a much improved three point shooter this year. Also effective for UP was Mark Lopez, an athletic swingman who was aggressive on both ends of the court.

Now, on the positive side, Peejay Barua has regained his shooter’s touch. James Mangahas, Maui Villanueva, Joshua Webb, and Bader Malabes played good offensive games. Of the four, however, only Bader played a very good defensive game. Joshua still showed that he has a lot to learn on defense, as he was mostly out of defensive position. The three point shot of Migs De Asis from the left side was his responsibility. Webb should also focus on the game rather than on getting into the head of the opponent. Yesterday, he spent most of his time on the court trash talking. That is a double edged sword which can either take your opponent out of his game or pump him up even more.

A bright spot for us defensively was Yutien Andrada, whose gives us some shot blocking ability on the post. His back to back post blocks were made at a crucial time to keep us in the game.

Mark Lopez of UP also had a monster defensive game. His block shot on James Mangahas was “right down his throat”. He also was able to get rebounds from behind, another defensive weakness I see in our defensive rebounding game – the box out.

We now have to win ALL our remaining games if we want to make it to the playoffs. Anything less, and our track record of making the final 4 every year will be at risk. It’s an issue of “if we want it this year, or lay down and die and try again next year.”
Can we beat the teams we were supposed to lose to??? The attitude should always be YES!!!!!! Now, it’s up to the team to make it happen.


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