Pregame: Green Archers vs Tamaraws
After a morale-boosting win over Ateneo last Saturday, the Green Archers will try to grab a share of the top spot in the standings as they take on another formidable foe in the FEU Tamaraws. La Salle lost both elimination round matches to FEU last year. In tomorrow’s match, we hope our team can retain their confidence and high level of play to give the Tamaraws its first loss of the season.
FEU is coming in undefeated with a 4-0 slate and are probably playing their best basketball since they last won the title in 2005. They are just like the Archers a couple of years ago; a young group that has now gained enough maturity and experience to dominate this league. Now in their 4th year of playing together, the core of Cawaling, Ramos, Knuttel, Sanga and Cervantes, plus sophomore sensation Garcia and rookie Romeo, are now the most veteran squad and clearly the favorites to win it all in UAAP Season 73.
FEU clearly has the upper-hand in all positions. The trio of Ramos, Cervantes and Noundou are a force down low and will exert their dominance over our thin frontline. Sanga, for his size, has the ability to light it up from downtown while Cawaling, though he hasn’t shown much yet this season remains to be dangerous scorer from the wing. On a half-court set we might have difficulty matching up against the solid FEU frontline but if the Archers can dictate a fast-paced game, this would give Joshua, Maui, Yutien Papot, Ferdi and Jovet more opportunities to do their thing.
Garcia has been instrumental in all of the Tamaraws’ wins so far. Despite this just being his 2nd UAAP season (though he is already a college senior), he has already shown the maturity and on-court mindset to make him already the heart-and-soul of this FEU team. Romeo on the other hand played well in their last game against UP. He was a scoring machine back in high school so we all know that he is capable of torching the net on a good day.
Simon and the other guards should put the clamps on Garcia. Give him no clear path to the basket and challenge his shots. They should also be wary of Exciminiano who is an excellent defensive specialist. Exciminiano will most probably be assigned to check Sam especially if he continues to sizzle from beyond the arc.
FEU leads all schools in scoring with an average of 83.25 points per game, while the Archers score at a 70.75 clip, good for third behind UST’s 73.50. On defense, the Archers are the stingiest, holding opponents to an average of 61.75 points per game. FEU ranks only 5th because they allowed opponents to average 73 points against them, behind Adamson (63.25) NU (63.50), Ateneo (65.00), and UST (72.75).
From the numbers, FEU relies more on their explosive offense to outscore their opponents, while the Green Archers win by keeping the opponents’ scores down.
Interestingly, both La Salle and FEU have played against the same teams: UP, UE, NU, and Ateneo, so the comparison is a bit more interesting.
Overall, after 4 games, the Green Archers rank #3 on offense, on defense #1, and #2 in point differential.
Based on these numbers, La Salle stands a good chance of winning if their offense is on high-gear and limit FEU’s scoring by putting their hard-nosed defense to work. It will be difficult but it can be done.