By now it’s clear, the Adamson Soaring Falcons cannot stop anyone from scoring.

Unlike the team which first drew the Adamsonian crowd that flocks to arenas game after game, this set of Falcons are simply unable to stop anyone even if they tried.

The NU Bulldogs were not a good offensive team coming into this game. Before they met, NU was only producing a below average 80.1 points per 100 possessions. After the game their score jumped up four points to 84.2 points per 100 possessions, landing them closer to UE. For the game, NU’s offensive rating spiked to offensive Goliath proportions, mimicking FEU’s trouncing of Ateneo on opening day at 101.9 (for life) points per 100 possessions.

How bad is Adamson at defending? The image of Alfred Aroga facing up Ivan Villanueva comes to mind. From the three-point line, Aroga got the ball, took a jab step, started his dribble, and just ran past Villanueva as though he were Jayson Castro running circles around Hamed Haddadi. First of all, Villanueva is barely tall enough to be excused for being slow… and Aroga IS… and Villanueva got beaten by Aroga off the dribble. Let that sink in.

Thankfully there were small glimmers of hope as Simon Camacho took all of his… 100? 110? Pounds and somewhat bothered Aroga’s shots for the few minutes he was on the floor. Had he not been such an offensive liability, the Falcons might have been able to keep him on the floor longer to somehow at least annoy Aroga enough to discourage him in the paint.

But why? Why is Adamson so bad at defending?

Last year, I could easily point the finger on two numbers “2-3”. They used to zone all game long to their own detriment. Today they’ve been mixing it up. Without head Coach Mike Fermin calling the shots, it’s a relief to see that the staff had enough sense to pull fullcourt presses when they needed to. For the first 10 minutes of the game, the Falcons led because they were pressuring the ball all the way from the backcourt. NU was getting rattled and some of their passes were easily tipped by the energetic and pumped up Falcons, leading to a spectacular steal leading to a dunk by Papi Sarr.

But basketball is played with coaches. NU had a good one, and he was able to instruct his players on how to break the press. How? By spreading the floor and not relying on entry passes.

In the second quarter, NU relied more on perimeter ball movement with Aroga setting screens rather than posting up. This caught Adamson’s defense flat footed… like in their last four games.

Again and again, after getting used to coming up with steals by collapsing, the Falcons defense collapsed on either Javelona or Alolino who had the ball, letting them set up an open teammate to start the ball rotation or for the open jumper. The over eagerness to get a steal caused them to always leave someone open, especially on the weak side.

Review of winning conditions

Papi Sarr USG% less than 21%- 25.9%

They cut it significantly since the DLSU game and were smarter in getting him the ball. But his rawness leads to a situation where they are better off moving the ball away from him. His touches went down but his offensive output plummeted with it too, thanks in most part with having to deal with Aroga down low.

Alfred Aroga USG% held to 20%- 30.3%

NU found Aroga again and again. They got him the ball at will and he torched Adamson with a high offensive output. With Ivan Villanueva the only one with the weight to push him out of the paint, Aroga was having a field day down low. Denying him the ball from the entry pass would have softened the impact, but even that seems to be a tall order for this Falcons team.

Gelo Alolino eFG% less than 40%- 45.5 eFG%

Alolino is the zone breaker for NU and his efficiency dictates how well the offense will flow for them. Getting him to miss shots and take bad ones was important because it would have thrown NU’s offense off rhythm because A) it’s not Aroga taking it and B) it’s a miss or a tough one. But Alolino got drives, open jumpers, layups and putbacks, making him effective and making it harder to guard the team as a whole.

Adamson Soaring Falcons TOV% less than 30%- 21.3% TOV

I have to hand it to them, they are at least getting better at taking care of the ball, however what they made up in lack of turnovers, they shot themselves in missed shots. The team was shooting 38.4% from everywhere, meaning NU didn’t have to force the turnover to make the stop.

Adamson Soaring Falcons OREB% is more than 40%- 37.5 OREB%

I was counting on the Falcons missing a lot of attempts. The second chances would have been crucial to making up for their lack of efficiency. Even if Joseph Nalos flubs the three, if Sarr cleans up, it’s two points.

While they did a decent job on the offensive glass, it clearly wasn’t enough and the fact that they just couldn’t get anything to go added to their woes.

Take away

Getting outclassed on both ends will and should leave a bad taste in their mouths. The Falcons run a decent pace that allows them to be exciting, but they need to realize that they are making a lot of mistakes on defense, which makes whatever effort they put into their offense null and void.

The key to success is learning from failure. Fail fast, fail hard, fail with purpose.


Featured image credit: SLAM Philippines