The View From the Armchair – Game 13 vs UE
Playing with barely a day’s rest in between games, the Green Archers came out looking to win a shootout with UE, and fell, 74-80 in their penultimate game in the eliminations. The 5th loss dented the Archers’ chances of figuring in a race for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs; however with Adamson’s loss to NU, the final placing will be determined in our game with the Falcons on Thursday.
The Archers got another quick start, allowed UE to grab the lead, 8-11, then poured it on to take a 10-point lead at 22-12 behind a hot start by Papot (8 points) and Spider (6 points) before settling into a 25-20 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The 25 points we scored was enabled by our accurate shooting from the 2point area, where we made 12 out of 19, but unfortunately we missed all our 5 3point attempts in the period. The relatively high score was an ominous sign of how the game would be played.
Our shooting dipped in the second quarter, where we made only 5 out of our 16 attempts. UE’s energy level, on the other hand, seemed to exceed ours as they matched us in rebounding for the quarter with 14 boards, and their tenacious defending forced us into 7 turnovers which they translated into 5 points in contrast to UE’s 4 turnovers. UE again pounced on our sluggish defense to score 20 points in the quarter, capitalizing on our foul trouble to sink 13 out of 15 ft attempts in the half. Fouls limited the playing time of Simon, and this possibly was a factor in his sub-par performance in the game.
Taking a cue from UST, UE also pounced on our occasional inattention after we score to go for a quick break in the 2nd half, succeeding in getting 10 easy fastbreak points in the last 20 minutes. The 3rd quarter saw us commit 6 more turnovers, while we were limited to only 7 attempts from the 2point area, making 3 fgs while making only 1 out of our 5 3point tries. We did capitalize on UE’s foul trouble to make 7/9 fts in the 3rd. However, we just matched UE’s output of 16 to end the quarter still tied at 56.
The defense unraveled in the 4th and UE managed to sink 7 out of their 8 2point attempts and 1/3 3pointers for a high 73% from the field on top of 7/8 fts. UE also had 3 steals as they seemed to be fresher at the end. Our free throw shooting went south in the last 10 minutes, where we made only 1 out of 7 tries. Our 5 turnovers in the last 5 minutes derailed attempts to come back after UE took a 64-71 lead with 2:45 left in the game. Sam hit his only trey out of 6 attempts to cut the lead to 3 at 74-77, but we failed to score while UE sank 3 fts on our desperation fouls to close out scoring.
What went wrong
The defense took a day off, perhaps after the Archers’ grueling game against UST two days ago coupled with the need to crack the books for the final exams. It’s very uncharacteristic for the Archers to allow an opponent to score more than 20 points in more than 2 quarters in a game, and to yield 80 points in regulation. As I mentioned in the Game 11 Armchair article, it is risky for the Archers to allow the opponents to run up the score, because our offense is inconsistent at present. Again, the team was caught napping after we scored, with UE inbounding the ball quickly to a streaking guard for an easy layup. Hey, that’s what we like to do to the opponents, but this time, the tables were turned. They also had a “nakaw” play off an inbound under their goal.
Turnovers cost us dearly. We had more (19) than UE (14), which gave UE 18 points. And the Warriors were more successful thieves, taking the ball away 6 times against our 2. UE also adjusted better to the referees’ calls, employing a physical game which tested the limits of the officials’ discretion. The bumping and pushing unsettled our players enough to create some uncertainty in the offense. Our players will need to understand how the referees will call a game, and change the way they play accordingly.
Foul shots. Again. Seems like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, but it was Mr. Hyde who took the free throws against UE. We had almost as many foul throws as UE, 23 to 26, but while they made 23/26 (89%!!!), we flunked the exams in this area. Only 11 out of 23 for 48%. How may points was our deficit at the end? Six? Oh, and we missed 12 foul shots. Unacceptable, if we are to get deep into the playoffs. Our opponents will most likely have the hack-an-Archer as one of their game plans when they play us.
We also have problems when our 3point shooting is off and the opponents clog the paint. Today, UE allowed us to take 17 shots from the 3point area, but we only hit on 3. Our misses allowed us to grab 21 offensive boards, but we gave away many of these chances because of our turnovers.
Off days by Joel and Almond kept them on the bench for the majority of the game, forcing Coach Dindo to play rookies Luigi and Nico at pg together with Simon.
What went right
Spider Webb had another good game, scoring 14 points for the second consecutive game, behind a highly efficient 7/9 shooting from the field. Luigi also contributed 13 using his underrated slashing ability. Papot scored 8 in the early going to power our first half offense. We put up 74 points, which ordinarily is enough to win a game. Except that UE scored more.
Our defense also put pressure on the UE shot clock, usually a positive factor, but their individual efforts allowed them to get away to score, exemplified by Paul Lee’s 19 points. Our players just have to keep up the pressure, because it is unlikely that opponents will be as consistently good as Ateneo and UE were against us in the second round. The defense works, and the Archers just have to have the faith that it is their main weapon.
Rebounding again was good, 52-35 and we did pull down 21 offensive rebounds, but turnovers and missed shots negated this advantage off the boards. Our bigs Papot (7), Yutien (7), Maui (7), and Jovet did the heavy work on the boards, assisted by Spider (5). We did have 17 assists on our 30 field goals, and this is a good indicator of the developing teamwork of our young Archers.
The rookie watch
Luigi played the most at 25 minutes and had a good all-around game with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. With his steady play, he is one of the key Archers in Coach Dindo’s rotation, and should be considered as a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year honors. Papot had an excellent start, scoring 10 points on top of 7 rebounds and 3 blocks, but faded in the second half. Nico put in 9 minutes at pg, hit a 3 to give us our last lead of the game, but showed his inexperience in that last botched pass to Sam in the last minute. Almond’s slump continued, and he was able to notch 2 assists in his 11 minutes on the floor. Oda tallied 4 points but showed that he still has yet to make a successful adjustment to the college game and turned over the ball twice. There was a Martin Reyes sighting, and he contributed 2 rebounds.
Sam continued to struggle from the rainbow territory, making only 1 out of 6 tries for his only points. Yutien had a quiet game, 7 points and an equal number of rebounds to go with 1 block. Joel was limited to 8 minutes, all in the first half; he was probably benched after Paul Lee stole the ball from him as he was setting our final play to tie the game at the end of the first half.
Gab and Aiki
Simon and Maui seem to act as thermometers of the team – if they have quiet games or are ineffective, our game suffers. Both failed to make an impact on the scores, Simon had only 6 points and Maui had 5. They will have to be more active offensively and be more of a threat to open up the lanes for penetration.
Adamson remains as the only team we have not yet beaten so far. We should win this game to avoid having a 2-game losing streak going into the final 4. With this young team, confidence is all important, and a win on Thursday will help them get that mental edge in the playoffs.
KEEP THE FAITH!