Go Archers -

The Clipboard: Odds are in La Salle’s favor in Final 4. But why do we feel Anxious?

Sole possession of the number one seed and a twice-to-beat advantage, the Green Archers were in full control of their own fate this season. Compared to the past several years where they need to go through so many complicated situations and scenarios, in most cases just to earn a spot in the Final 4, It is nice and exciting to see the team assert themselves this season and claim the top spot at the end of the elimination round for the first time since 2002.

Speaking of 2002, we can’t help but feel anxious because in a way, there are some similarities between that team and the current squad. We sadly remember that year when La Salle was on the verge of sweeping the elimination round only to lose their last match against Ateneo. From thereon, the team’s fortunes went down and were unable to clinch the title. We hope and pray that this season won’t be a repeat of what happened 14 years ago.

The playoffs begin tomorrow with the Green Archers looking to claim the first finals seat with a win over Adamson. But then again, even with the odds in our favor, there is that apprehensive feeling on our part heading in to this semis matchup with the Falcons.

First, the Green Archers have not been their usual “Mayhem” selves in the last two games. Losing to the Blue Eagles and barely beating the Tamaraws, you may ask yourselves “Did they peak too early? Has the opposition already found a way on how to stop us?” It sure looked that way in those games.

The Adamson players made some press statements saying that they strongly believe that they can shock La Salle in the Final 4. Honestly, that’s something to be worried about because it only means that their confidence in defying the odds is sky high. And with Franz Pumaren as their coach, a guy who is no stranger in defying the odds, that’s scary.

Reaching the semis is already a bonus for this rebuilding Adamson squad. You can’t help but feel amazed on how Coach Franz significantly turned things around in just one year. They will definitely be a serious title contender in the next couple of years so expect them to play loose and just enjoy the moment.

The pressure is on the Green Archers to close this series out tomorrow. If this goes to a decider, there is a big chance the advantage swings to the Falcons.

Both teams defend at a high level, love to shoot from the perimeter and score in transition. Depth and experience is definitely on the side of La Salle but their chances of  winning will still depend on well they will execute especially on the defensive end.

Basic keys to this game is to challenge the outside shots and get Papi Sarr into foul trouble. Sarr is the only Falcon averaging double digits in rebounding (16.5 while the next guy averages just 4) and no other player in their roster can fill the slack when he sits on the bench.

Here’s hoping that the Green Archers would finally break out of their slump and rediscover their usual level of play.

The real battle starts tomorrow and it is all up to the team to cast our worries aside and rise to the challenge.