Normally I don’t think it’s nice to kick people when they are down, but for this game, I think Adamson Soaring Falcons can make an exemption.
Off a lackluster defensive showing against FEU Tamaraws which led to FEU looking like an offensive juggernaut, Ateneo Blue Eagles is vulnerable, and it is exactly this vulnerability Adamson must capitalize on.
I’ve already played the “first game jitters” card in their first game, so that excuse will not be available come Saturday. Instead, Adamson has to jump Ateneo while they can. They’ve already proven they can run with the big boys, clawing back from a 17-point deficit and going toe-to-toe with a poised veteran team in UST.
For the past five seasons, when we speak of Ateneo, Kiefer Ravena comes into mind. And why wouldn’t he? He is a phenom, I will give him that. But the best bet of Adamson is to let the phenom be phenomenal on his own.
Against FEU, Ravena was his usual self, putting on an offensive showcase leading to a 127.6 offensive rating. The problem for Ateneo was that nobody came close to matching his contributions on offense. Gwyne Capacio, who played nearly as much minutes as he did, only managed an 80.3 offensive rating with everyone else putting up even less.
If Adamson can force Ateneo to have the same problems again, not only will the game be close, but Adamson will have a strong chance of breaking into the win column. But taking advantage of an opponent’s woes has to start by fixing their own.
Coughing up the ball every three possessions will not do against a team that still has the muscle memory of the Norman Black fastbreak offense. If they are going to cause Ateneo to have problems on offense, they can’t be gifting them transition opportunities. Force Ateneo to play on the halfcourt, play good and solid defense, execute on offense and the win is ours.