You win some, you lose some.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles got their second loss of the season against their “favorite” opponent, the De La Salle Green Archers. Jeron Teng probably woke up in a ridiculously good mood as he dropped 32 huge points to steer his team to the top of the standings, tied with Ateneo and FEU. He started the show early, scoring 15 of La Salle’s 19 markers in the first quarter. He was 44 percent (7-of-16) from the field, and – GET THIS – 85 percent (17-of-20) from the charity stripe! Yes guys, the King Archer finally found his free throw stroke.
Kiefer Ravena challenged Teng with his own 15-point outburst in the second period after struggling in the first ten minutes. He was bothered by the defense of Julian Sargent and Robert Bolick, forcing him to resort to difficult shots (8-of-23 field goal shooting). I think most, if not all, of those eight made baskets were seemingly impossible ones that went in anyway. The Phenom finished with 22 points, six rebounds, six assists, and a steal.
Chris Newsome played limited minutes due to early foul trouble, but he immediately delivered when he was subbed back in. He contributed 15 markers, including the final five points of Ateneo, and five boards. Former Green Archers Nico Elorde and Ponso Gotladera and sniper Von Pessumal also scored in double digits with 14, 10, and 10 respectively.
Quarterly Score and Four Factors
Review of the Keys to the Game
FOCUS ON DEFENSE
Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins made life difficult for the Ateneo defenders. Teng kept on taking it strong to the hoop while Perkins scored both from the inside and outside (nice fadeaways by the way), including that clutch long two after a Ravena miss in the final few seconds. Hefty Lefty had another double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Newsome had some defensive lapses especially in the opening quarter when Teng exploded for 15. Arvin Tolentino just could not match up with either Perkins or Norbert Torres. Gotladera gave a good challenge in the paint and also took care of the rebounding duties, contributing 15 of Ateneo’s 46 boards (La Salle had 41). I remember thanking him a couple of times in the end game when he was able to grab crucial rebounds. Ateneo made some adjustments in the latter part, but overall, their D still needs a lot of work and their rivals did a better job stopping them than the other way around.
DROP LONG BOMBS
Kiefer, Von, Nico, and Gwyne Capacio made two triples each, while Arvin and Newsome contributed one apiece. They edged the Archers from downtown and in perimeter shooting in general, scoring 42 from outside the paint versus La Salle’s 28.
CAUSE FOUL TROUBLE
|Team||FTR (Before This Game)||FTR (This Game)|
Ateneo clearly lost in free throw shooting – the very thing that bailed them out the last time around. As mentioned, Teng was almost flawless in this category. We’re talking about a guy who used to shoot 56.7 percent (Season 75) and 53 percent (Season 76) from the line.
Three guys in green (Teng, Sargent, and Norbert) got into foul trouble, alright, but Ateneo only attempted 24 charity buckets, compared to La Salle’s 32. No luck in the fishing expedition as Ravena settled for a lot of jumpers, Tolentino was too soft on his attacks, and Newsome was on the bench for a prolonged period due to early foul woes.
Game Notes and Other Observations
- I thought Coach Juno Sauler would stick to using Almond Vosotros against Kiefer. It was a good move for the Archers to put Sargent and Bolick on him instead. These two have the length advantage over the leading MVP contender, and it’s a bonus that they also contributed on offense, scoring 11 and 10 points respectively. A sign that their defense was working aside from limiting Kiefer to zero in the first Q and seven in the entire second half? The Blue Mamba was visibly exhausted in the final period. Of course it’s also a factor that he only got under three minutes of rest all throughout.
- Elorde has been making things happen for the Blue Eagles – 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists. One of my favorite moments in this game was when he made a putback over the outstretched hands of three (or was that four?) huge defenders sometime in the third period, when he was leading Ateneo’s rally. What a fighter; definitely an Elorde.
- In the battle of the Rookie of the Year leaders, Prince Rivero outplayed Arvin. He especially stepped up in the second canto when the Eagles were taking advantage of Teng being off the court. The former La Salle Greenhills standout finished with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, five rebounds, and two assists. Arvin, on the other hand, had seven points, a steal, and a block (complete with his slowly-becoming-a-trademark staredown) on Teng.
The Eagles outscored the Archers in all quarters except in that first canto where they were down by nine points. This is the second consecutive assignment where the Katipunan squad had to rally from behind, albeit with a different ending. Ateneo needs to find ways to start better in their next matches to avoid being in the same situation where their endgame campaign may be a little too late and Kiefer may not be able to save the day.
Feature image by KC Cruz, GMA News