Sixty-two games had been played and now we are down to the last and deciding game of UAAP Season 76 Men’s Basketball – the winner-take-all game 3 between the UST Growling Tigers and the De La Salle Green Archers. After the two grueling matches in the Finals, the players and coaches are given the much-needed one week break to recharge their draining batteries. Come Saturday, October 12 the one of the two hungry teams will be in be fed with the prestige of being crowned as the 2013 Men’s Basketball Champions.

Without much introduction, let’s now focus on the things that matter – our key points that will be instrumental in bagging the championship trophy.

Keys of the Game

OReb and 2nd Chance Points

I have noted this before and I am re-iterating it in this post. My God, De La Salle Green Archers have been eating the Growling Tigers alive in the offensive rebounding and second chance points departments in this series.  In the two finals game played, the Archers accumulated 45 offensive rebounds scoring a total of 30 second chance points. On the other hand, the outworked Tigers have to settle for only 17 offensive rebounds and tally in a very poor eight second chance points. The huge discrepancy in the offensive rebound and second chance points are mainly due to the towering presence of Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, and Jason Perkins. These three hefty front men of De La Salle are just too huge for the Growling Tigers. UST’s zone defense doesn’t help their cause in the rebounding department as it allows the Green Archers to have multiple possessions and score at the second, third, or even fourth attempts.  I have nothing against UST’s zone defense, I saw some glimpses of hope in that zone defense especially in game 2. I just hope that they’ll exert some more effort in securing that rebound. I know this is easier said than done but heck this is a winner-take-all game, championship trophy is on the line everyone have to give their all. So, Growling Tigers please work on helping each other in rebounding and you’ll be a step closer in bringing that trophy back to España.

Abdul and Van Opstal battling for rebounding position (Photo Credit: DLSU Sports)

Abdul and Van Opstal battling for rebounding position (Photo Credit: DLSU Sports)

Foul Trouble

I just have to say – that first quarter in game 2 is just frustrating to watch, imagine the UST Growling Tigers being whistled for seven personal fouls while the Green Archers ended the quarter without a single personal foul. No wonder the outspoken coach Pido Jarencio left a statement “Perfect ba defense nila? Masyado yata silang magaling.”

To make the matter worst Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer and Paolo Pe each had two personal fouls in the first quarter alone.  These foul troubles not only disrupted the rhythm and focus of the three Tigers but it also allowed the front men of the Green Archers to further strengthen their domination inside the paint. I’m not pointing this out just to make an excuse for the Tigers. I actually want the Tigers to learn from this. They should not let the bad calls ruin their focus. Instead of wasting their energy in complaining, they should channel those energy in things like communicating with their teammates on the court to better improve their team defense and the like.

Kevin Ferrer and Jeric Teng complaining to the referee on a foul called against UST (Photo Credit: Czeasar Dancel, NPPA Images)

Kevin Ferrer and Jeric Teng complaining to the referee on a foul called against UST (Photo Credit: Czeasar Dancel, NPPA Images)

Free Throws

In a deciding match like this we can expect free throws to play a crucial role in determining who will end up victorious. In this series, UST has been shooting very well from the line making 79.5 of their free throws whereas La Salle is making 63.0 percent of their own attempts. Surprisingly, even though the Tigers have been called with much more fouls than Green Archers (UST averaging 22.5 fouls in the finals as compared to 18.0 for DLSU) the number of free throw attempts (FTA) are almost the same, UST having a total of 44 FTA while La Salle has 46. If UST can sustain these good numbers in free throw line, especially in the crunch time, with their poise and experience they can definitely use this as a weapon to shoot down the archers for good in this season.

Predictions

In all honestly, with the way the Archers dominated the painted lane and taking in to account the foul trouble woes that UST has been going through as of late, I don’t know how the Tigers will figure out a way to stop La Salle. No matter what, I’m still positive that the Tigers still have something to give. I just don’t know how they will do it but they will (who knows, endless Thomasians prayers do its wonders).

Karim Abdul offering a prayer after game thrilling win in Game 1 (Photo Credit: Keno Carlo C. Enriquez, Varsitarian.net)

Karim Abdul offering a prayer after game thrilling win in Game 1 (Photo Credit: Keno Carlo C. Enriquez, Varsitarian.net)

After all, we are talking about the team that has gone through three consecutive do-or-die games – lo and behold they’ve survived all those to have the right to face La Salle in this final series. UST will again be in history book, being the only fourth seeded team to be crowned as the champions.