Pregame: Green Archers vs Growling Tigers
Still reeling from last Thursday’s double overtime loss to FEU, the Green Archers will next face the streaky Growling Tigers this Sunday. UST is the only team La Salle was able to defeat twice last season. This is the team they have consistently beaten for the past 9 seasons. The Archers’ only loss to the Tigers in the 2000s was in Season 70 when UST wiped-out a double digit deficit with only a minute remaining to escape with an overtime win.
The Growling Tigers are coming off a win over NU last Thursday. They love to shoot the three-ball so much that they have basically made it their primary offensive option. So far they have been doing well as they lead the league in conversions beyond the arc. Even their big guys have the ability to shoot from the perimeter. They are starting to mirror the image of their coach who was known for his accuracy from downtown during his playing days.
UST’s frontline is as thin as ever. Camus and Afuang are the only experienced bigs in the team and they don’t even play low-post. Finally, we could very well say that La Salle has the advantage here and I don’t see any reason why our guys can’t control the boards and score heavily in the paint. The Archers should make the most of their size advantage and pound it inside.
The Tigers are solid in the backcourt with gunners Fortuna, Teng and Bautista. These three have been scoring in droves as of late and have been consistent with their shots from the outside. Wingmen Mariano and rookie Daquioang have also the ability to hit those jumpers. Though they can match up quite well in quickness and perimeter scoring, the Archers’ advantage is that our guards can also take it strong to the hoop.
Expect UST to do the same run-and-gun offense so the challenge is to effectively defend them from the outside and not giving their shooters clear looks. Without any inside presence, the Tigers need to wax hot from the perimeter in order to win. They Archers should be wary of their bigmen who can also run the floor and score from medium range. Take note that UST’s losses so far came from teams with good inside scoring. If La Salle maximizes their interior presence and keeps their defense going, they will be in good shape to win here.