Go Archers -

Pregame: Green Archers vs Tamaraws 9/16

Norbert Torres4PM MOA Arena

Previous Encounter: FEU def DLSU, 48-46

The shots weren’t falling. The whistles weren’t blowing. And Bobby Ray Parks nailed basket and basket and made it seem as if the rim was as wide as the Manila Bay right outside the MOA Arena. But despite the stinging 72-62 setback suffered by the Archers against the fourth-running Bulldogs, they can still nab the final slot in the Final Four, provided that they win their last two matches.

And their climb to the Final Four which had been made a tad steeper and more slippery by their loss to the Bulldogs will begin this Sunday against the team that handed them their first loss of the season: The FEU Tamaraws. The first match between the teams was one of the lowest scoring UAAP games in recent memory, with La Salle (who played then without LA Revilla and Luigi Dela Paz) shooting only 27% from the field and FEU only faring a little better by having a 30% showing from the field.

But many things have already changed since that fateful July 22 match, and this time the Archers can get right back in the hunt for the fourth and even the third final four seed with a victory over the Tams.

The Ripple Effect (Implications of this game):

A WIN by La Salle will:

-Give the Archers an 8-5 record. Barring any upset in the first game between NU and UP, they will again be tied with the Bulldogs with only a single game left to play for both teams (La Salle against Adamson on September 20, NU against FEU on September 23 ).

Allow the Archers to draw within a full game of the Tamaraws (9-4) for the third spot in the standings. Should UST (9-3) lose in their Saturday tiff against the Blue Eagles (11-2), they will fall into a tie with the Tamaraws and their lead against the Archers will likewise be down to a single game, with each of the three teams having one more game to play.

A LOSS by La Salle will:

– Assuming that NU will win against UP in the first game, the Bulldogs (8-5) will have a half-game lead over the Archers (7-6), making their last game against the Falcons a must-win if they wish to at least force a playoff for the fourth and final semis seed.

-Any hopes of contending for the third and second spots will likewise be doused if the Archers lose to the Tamaraws on Sunday, as they can only finish the elimination with an 8-6 record, while UST and FEU will still finish with identical 9-5 records even if they fail to hurdle their remaining assignments.

-In addition to this, the Archers’ fate will be decided in the replay of the NU-FEU game on September 23. A loss by the Bulldogs to the Tamaraws and they’ll have a playoff for the fourth spot. A win by NU, however, would send La Salle crashing out of the eliminations for the third time in the last four years.

Pregame Points:

The Tamaraws’ three-point sniping: The Tamaraws lead the league in the number of three-point field goals made, as even some of their big men shown the outside touch and can dial from long distance. During their first meeting, the Tamaraws failed to connect on any of their 16 attempts from deep, thus enabling La Salle to keep the match a hotly contested one right until the final horn.

The absence of Mike Tolomia: Seven points, two assists, and the game’s most important shot are the contributions made by Tolomia in this game. But with an injury forcing him out for the rest of the season, his presence will be sorely missed.

Terrence Romeo: With RR Garcia struggling on the offensive end for most of the season, the streaky-shooting Romeo has become the Tamaraws’ primary offensive weapon. And when one of his shots swishes through the net, he might as well be blindfolded and he’ll still make the next ones regardless of his distance from the basket. But like all streaky shooters there are days when most of his shots will clang off the rim, and the previous game between the two teams saw him finish with only 10 points and making only four of his 16 attempts from the field. If his production will once more be limited, this will bode well for the chances of a La Salle win.

The Free Throws: Charities had been a controversial statistic for the Green Archers in their last game against the Bulldogs, but that is another matter altogether. Free throws is an area of concern heading into this game because aside from the fact that their previous meeting was decided by a mere two points, both teams actually groped for form on the line and muffed a combined 20 freebies during that game (La Salle shot 16/26, while the Tamaraws had an equally atrocious showing from the line at 8/18).

The Battle of the Boards: The 32-47 rebounding disadvantage of the Archers during their game last Sunday against the Bulldogs was probably the biggest that they gave up for the entire tournament, and it will be interesting to see how Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal, Yutien Andrada, and Jovet Mendoza will rebound after being outplayed by the NU frontline. The Archers out rebounded the Tamaraws during their first match, 49-40, and lost by only two.