There is no saving this game.
Three baby steps forward, one giant leap back. Everyone’s expectations about this rookie team about how they were too inexperienced, too undercoached, too untalented and too whatever just came true in one fell swoop. You could literally count their made field goals with your fingers with one to spare. Any semblance of growth they might have gained from their past three games is gone. From here on, Coach KD is starting not only at zero, but at negative. Considering the amount of time he had to prepare before handling the team and before the start of the UAAP, this is just terrible.
You don’t need stats to see how the Falcons did so poorly, but here’s the stat analysis anyway.
1– the number of field goals the Falcons had in the first quarter
3– the number of points the Falcons scored in the first quarter.
4– the number of points the Falcons scored from the free throw line. Also the number of minutes it took for the Falcons to score their first points.
9– the number of field goals the Falcons made the entire game.
25– the final score of the Falcons.
37– NU’s lead over the Falcons this game.
17,000+ – the number of Adamsonians who are now hiding their heads in dismay over this game.
1 – the number of losses incurred as a result of this game.
Review of the keys to the game
They had eight attempts at the line all game and made half of them. They were pushed way below their own average by their lack of ability to run an offense. NU’s 10 blocks tell us why Adamson shied away from attacking the hoop. Every time they attempted a shot close to the basket, NU’s shot blockers were there to swat it away.
The Falcons averaged 28.3 attempts at the line prior to this game. Had they shot 100% from the free throw line (which is possible) while matching their average frequency at said line, they’d have outscored themselves this game. Missing their free throws meant missing a huge chunk of their offense. It also meant crazy low scoring for them and nowhere to turn to.
Execute on the half court
They simply couldn’t even if they tried. NU slapped on a semi-2-3 zone on them and neutralized both their inside and outside game. They were forced to take ill-advised mid-range jumpers which they often did not look confident shooting.
Yes, the ball was moving, but the players were often stagnant. Why the offense involves little to no off-ball movement, I will never know. Their screens aren’t losing anyone, all NU had to do was switch on them and the play was already disrupted. There was no point of attack that when the Falcons got the ball to player X with player Y defending him, he would see the mismatch and attack it. Even then, there was no point in their play where running a good screen or read would leave them with an open shot.
The players are out on the court running whatever plays the coach calls out and executing based on the coach’s directions. The duty of making adjustments falls squarely on the coach as the person calling the shots on the team. It’s hard to believe that a coach who has prepared for as simple a scenario as the opposing team switching on screens would not be able to teach his players how to adjust on the floor.
More and more, the true colors of the Falcons are showing. Matthew Aquino is just a rookie carrying his father’s last name, Ivan Villanueva is just a rookie with a wide waistline, Don Trollano, Jansen Rios, Ryan Monteclaro and Axel Iñigo are just veteran role players who are forced to be more than that. This game is not a wakeup call for the boys, they’re playing, executing and giving it their all on the floor, and they’re doing their part. This is a warning siren for the coaches. With each game they are unable to find a way to be competitive, they sink into becoming gimmicks, marketing stunts using their success in the professional league to boost ticket sales and attendance.
So far, the coaches have been performing less like a basketball team and more like the very circus that landed them on their jobs. They face the defending champions next, a team that beat NU, they’re at negative right now, getting back to zero would be an improvement.
Featured image courtesy of Mark Cristino, Pinoy Exchange