For the first twenty minutes of this game, returning coach Rey Madrid was appearing to be the much-awaited answer to the prayers of the faithful UP community as the UP Fighting Maroons were edging the talent-laden and championship-caliber squad of DLSU Green Archers – that was until second half happened. The Green Archers proved to be too strong and too deep as they outpowered the Fighting Maroons, 85-63, thanks to their dominant performance after the halftime break.
DLSU had a good start but UP was able to keep up and eventually took the lead in the second quarter, thanks to the good shooting by the likes of Henry Asilum and Raul Soyud. However, it was a different story in the second half. The Green Archers were undeniably dominant while the Fighting Maroons became the complete opposite of what they were in the first half.
A Jekyll and Hyde
To match the very imposing frontcourt of Green Archers, UP went with a relatively big lineup to start the game. Soyud slid down to power forward position while rookie Andrew Harris manned the 5 spot. It was DLSU who started strong as they consistently pounded the ball inside. Harris had a hard time dealing with the wide-bodied Norbert Torres and went into early foul trouble. His backup, Martin Pascual, did not do any better and also went into foul trouble. However, UP was able to make good shots thanks to their good ball movement. It also helped their cause that DLSU’s perimeter shots were not falling in.
|1st Half Stats||Pts||Rebs (Off)||Asts||FG||3 PT||FT||FB pts||2nd chance pts|
|UP||42||22 (4)||11||15/32 (47%)||5/15 (33%)||7/13 (54%)||0||0|
|DLSU||35||29 (14)||5||11/34 (32%)||2/8 (25%)||11/22 (50%)||2||2|
The Fighting Maroons seized the lead and held it for some time in the second quarter as Asilum led UP’s three-point party with back-to-back triples. The party was capped off by Pascual who sank a three off Joseph Marata’s pass to beat the buzzer at the end of first half. On the other hand, the Green Archers were experiencing not-so-good times inside, unlike in the early first quarter, which forced them to take more perimeter shots. Also, they were not able to optimize the free throws they got from a ton of UP fouls as their chronic illness of missing free throws resurfaced, shooting only 11-22 from charity stripe.
Second half was just an entirely different story for the Fighting Maroons. Tables turned, lessons learned, UP got burned by the juggernaut that DLSU truly is. The Green Archers made a conscious effort to attack early in the shot clock to evade UP’s defensive sets. They were tallying second chance points from the offensive rebounds they clobbered. And this time, they are capitalizing on the free throw line as they strike an 83% (15-18) conversion rate.
|2nd Half Stats||Pts||Rebs (Off)||Asts||FG||3 PT||FT||FB pts||2nd chance pts|
|UP||21||20 (13)||0||9/38 (24%)||1/14 (7%)||2/4 (50%)||0||6|
|DLSU||50||26 (10)||11||17/32 (53%)||1/6 (17%)||15/18 (83%)||10||9|
Meanwhile, UP just went free falling beyond. There was lack of ball movement as evidenced by their zero assist. There were a lot of one-on-one plays called. The three-point party in the first half was long forgotten and did not continue after the halftime break as they shot a miserable 1-14 from the downtown. Also, foul trouble by their frontcourt players finally haunted them down the road to which Jason Perkins and Norbert Torres capitalized as they feast on inside.
Review of the Keys of the Game
1. Less Marata
|Marata stats||Pts||FG||3PT||FT||Asts||Mins||Usage Rate|
|1st half||5||1/6 (17%)||0/5 (0%)||3/5 (60%)||3||16||29.2%|
|2nd half||6||2/9 (22%)||0/2 (0%)||2/2 (100%)||0||13||36.6%|
|Total||11||3/15 (20%)||0/7 (0%)||5/7 (71%)||3||29||32.5%|
For the first few minutes, it appeared Marata was bound to have another day in the office as he took three triples, none made it inside the rim though. However the good ball movement of the Fighting Maroons for the remainder of first half denied him to take the ball for most of the time in their possessions. He took also relatively few shots as his teammates were shooting the ball well.
As things went sour for UP, Marata, being the team’s superstar and savior he think he is, went back to his old ways. He was taking the ball too much in UP’s offense. There were a lot of 1-on-1 plays which vegetated the ball movement. But he was not the only one guilty of this individualistic manner. Asilum, who shot well in the first half, was also taking the matter in his hands which did not serve the Fighting Maroons any better for the remainder of the game.
However, we cannot take away the fact that he was more aggressive attacking inside instead of settling for the three-pointers as evidenced by his season-high seven free throw attempts. I hope he continues to do it in the final five games.
2. Better rebounding effort
It was expected that DLSU will win the rebounding battle. Unfortunately for the Fighting Maroons, they were already handicapped prior to the game with Chris Ball, team’s second best rebounder, missing the game as he suffered an ankle sprain. Soyud put up a huge rebounding game, amassing 16 boards. While Pascual and Harris combined for 13 rebounds. Beyond the three, there was little rebounding effort. The rest of the team only had 13 boards.
Meanwhile for DLSU, there were a lot of contributors on rebounds. Aside from the usual producers, Perkins who had 16 including 10 offensive, Norbert who had 14, and Arnold Van Opstal who had 4 (below his season average), the Green Archers got ample support from the backcourt players — Almond Vosotros (4), Jeron Teng (4), and Oda Tampus (4).
3. Will it rain threes again?
First half: 5-15, second half: 1-14. While it did rain threes in the first half, it rained maroon-colored bricks in the second half. Enough said.
As expected, there were some changes being place by Coach Madrid especially in the backcourt. Asilum was shuffling at 1 and 2 position while rookie Kyles Lao had some time manning the point guard spot. Coach Madrid also expected that the three-guard lineup for few minutes would perhaps speed things up and offset their size disadvantage. But one game is too small of a sample to judge the new coach. Give him a few more games and we shall see.
It is pretty frustrating that the Fighting Maroons just can’t play consistently for 40 minutes of basketball. They simply wither very badly just when you thought they were bound to get the first W of the season. But there was little (or none at all) expectations at the first place that we’ll beat this very strong DLSU squad. I, for one, predicted that this will be a blowout. Edging them out for the first 20 minutes was an encouraging sign. Nevertheless,they have to move on and prepare for their next assignment — against Adamson Soaring Falcons who are struggling as of late.