Pregame: Green Archers vs Fighting Maroons Round 2
The Green Archers will look to solidify their hold on fourth spot in the standings when they face the luckless UP Maroons on Thursday, August 19. Instead of our usual pregame routine of dissecting the match-ups and discussing what the Green Archers should do in order to win, we’ll just cut to the chase here and tell you what they should not do, and that is to Relax!!
The Maroons are in dire straits with a zero in the win column so far in the tournament. For a team that was widely regarded one of those with a legitimate chance at making the final four before the season started, they have been a disappointment. Even the early coaching change after 3 games of the first round did not help reverse their string of bad games.
The Archers have every reason to be upbeat about this match-up. Alvin Padilla is suspended and the entire UP team is injured (emotionally). Ah yes, the perfect recipe for complacency. If you think about it, it’s kind of scary to go up against a team with zero pressure because of the tendency to take them lightly.
Despite all the things that have gone wrong for them this year, expect the Maroons to still fight it out in their remaining games and play the spoilers role. That is why we can’t stress enough how important it is for the Green Archers to play with the same energy as if they are going up against a contender.
This game may even be more important than their upcoming games against Ateneo and FEU. Why? Because this is winnable for the Archers if they just play their usual “A” game. La Salle is still not yet assured of a final four spot so it is critical to get the necessary wins especially against teams at the lower half of the standings. We wouldn’t want to see the team repeat last season’s painful episode of playing catch-up in the race for a semi-final berth. At 5-3, the Archers need to win at least 3 more games to ensure at least a tie for the final 4 slot. There are no more “can afford to lose” games. Each game will count.
So to the Archers, please don’t treat UP as patsies and play hard-nosed La Salle basketball for 40 minutes. Blow them out early and never give them even the slightest opening to creep back in. The Maroons will be playing purely for pride, and will be looking for any scalps to take back to Diliman as a consolation prize. As far as they’re concerned, the Green Archer scalp will do very nicely as their first victim, so please make sure that last year’s second round result doesn’t happen again. Our comfortable 18-point win against them in the first round is ancient history. When the game begins, the score will be 0-0. When the game ends, please make sure that the score is heavily in our favor. Forget about that much-awaited match against the Blue Eagles on Sunday. There is still a game to be won before that. One game at a time.