Not a bad way to start the second round of the UAAP huh?!

La Salle

Vosotros saves the day for the Archers! (Photo Credit: Kyna Nebrida, Go Archers)

La Salle got its first overtime win of the season as they defeated the Adamson Soaring Falcons 70-69 in overtime to start the second round of the UAAP. After a two-week FIBA-Asia break, both teams started the match flat and rusty. Both teams barely scored during the first few minutes of the game. Fortunately, both teams picked up the action late in the first quarter and we were treated to another nail-biting UAAP game, and this is in a season full of close games. During the second half, La Salle built an eight-point lead, and several Lasallians started to hope that the Archers can build a huge lead and beat a strong team like Adamson in a convincing win. But Jericho Cruz and the very popular Rodney “Matt Evans” Brondial had other plans. Brondial had a career game, scoring 19 points and grabbing 23 huge rebounds, 10 of them on the offensive side. Jericho had a nice game, scoring 15 points and quarterbacking well for the Falcons. Jericho is one of the best guards in the league and he will only get better as the tournament progresses. With the game tied during the dying seconds of regulation, I thought Jericho Cruz would do a Roi Sumang against the Archers. Fortunately for the boys from Taft, Adamson blew three chances during the dying seconds of the fourth quarter, forcing overtime.  It was a nip and tuck battle during overtime. During the last possession of La Salle, the Archers were close to turning the ball over and hand the victory to Adamson, but the basketball Gods smiled on us this time around. Almond Vosotros’ short jumper went in, but not after a few bounces around the rim that left the entire Araneta in a state of pause. That gave La Salle a one-point lead with 1.8 seconds remaining. A poor inbounds pass by Adamson led to a desperation three that went air ball, and from that, La Salle went to a possible seventh place in the standing to solo fifth place. Poor free throw shooting and several turnovers led to another Adamson heartbreak.

Review of the Keys of the Game

AVO should dominate

I should have said “ A good game from AVO”. AVO did not dominate, but he played a good game. He scored 13 points on 6 of 11 shooting. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists. He should just learn to read the double teams better, though his two assists were because he passed the ball when he was double teamed, his first assist was for a Matt Salem three during the first quarter and his second assist led to a crucial LA Revilla three during crunch time of the fourth quarter. Assistant Coach Jun Limpot must be very proud of his prized pupil.

Stop Jericho Cruz

An X-mark for this one. Jericho scored 15 points.  Though he did struggle from the field, his leadership kept the Falcons afloat for most of the match. If he can improve his jump shot, he will be nearly unstoppable.

PUSO

A check mark for this one! La Salle could have panicked when Adamson made a rally and regained the lead. But La Salle fought back and got the W. La Salle executed well down the stretch and followed the system and the game plan.

The Good

Vosotros had a good game, scoring 19 points, including the first game winner of his UAAP career. The man they call “Vosotres” also had three triples. He also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals, good all around numbers for the combo guard.  AVO also had a good game. The absence of Thomas Torres and Luigi De La Paz led to playing time for highly touted rookie Kib Montalbo and veteran Jarelan Tampus.  Montalbo scored three points, via a triple, the first points of his UAAP career. He also showed that he is a smart point guard as he quarterbacked well for the Archers for most of the game, a good feat for a rookie that barely got playing time this season. Tampus scored four points, his first points of the season. This showed just how deep La Salle’s guard rotation is. Our starting point guard and back up shooting guard did not play but there are others ready and able to take their place.

The Bad

La Salle started flat. This should not be the case for the next games of La Salle. Fortunately, Adamson also struggled during this game. For the second straight game, Jeron Teng was limited to single-digits as he scored only nine points in just 4/14 shooting. I don’t expect him to have a third straight low scoring game, I expect him to explode against FEU this Sunday. After being perfect from the three-point region during the first round, Salem just went ¼ from downtown for this game.  But he should just keep his confidence up as his three point shooting is important to stretch the defense out. Gabby Reyes finally got some playing time, but he did not score. Hopefully, he can regain the confidence he had during the summer as I believe that he can contribute for the Green and White.  Though he scored three crucial points during overtime, Norbert “The Bear” Torres struggled during this game. Several bad decisions, and indecisions, from the big guy from Canada. DLSU needs an effective “twin towers” combo of AVO and the Bear in order to make some noise this season. Perkins was saddled with foul trouble during this game and eventually fouled out. He should learn to avoid being in foul trouble as the thin front line rotation of La Salle will be in jeopardy.

Final Thoughts

Next stop for La Salle is a hungry FEU team. FEU suffered their first loss of the season in a heartbreaker against NU. I believe a FEU team that just suffered a loss is more dangerous than an undefeated FEU squad. If La Salle played this Sunday the same way they played against Adamson, FEU will win easily. La Salle needs to be more consistent in their next few games in order to remain in the Final Four hunt, and perhaps even a twice to beat advantage. La Salle is a loaded team. The Archers just need to play like a real team and forget all the egos. A loaded squad, that plays like a team, and without egos. A team that plays for the name on the front and not the name on the back and plays for the people that believes in them. Sounds familiar, right? I still got some FIBA-Asia hangover so please allow me to be cheesy to end this article. La Salle needs to play with Animo the next few games in order to climb the standings. I other words, La Salle needs to play with PUSO.