Remember last year when the first round matchup between these two teams was so heated it came down to a controversial call?
Forget it! It’s not happening.
Adamson against De La Salle will be a clash between offensive polar opposites. The Archers have one of the best half court sets in the league right now with the ability to score at will through Jeron Teng isolation plays at the top of the key. The Falcons, on the other hand, have yet to effectively use their half court sets, exposing their utter lack of preparation in their embarrassing loss to NU. Throughout their games, La Salle has an 88.3 offensive rating, third in the league behind FEU and Ateneo; Adamson on the other hand is sporting a 67.5 offensive rating landing them dead last in the league. The Falcons might not do as poorly as scoring 25 in the entire game, but there’s a big chance they might lose by 37 again.
Keys to the game
Try to score from the outside
Yes, I’ve already mentioned how awful they are in getting points, but good news for the Falcons is that La Salle isn’t the best defensive team in the league. Adamson and La Salle have allowed 72.5 and 73 points a game respectively. If there is any flaw to the Archers’ game, it’s that they allow too many outside shots as opponents have torched them for 6.3 three-pointers made a game at 32.9% shooting. Remember Kiefer Ravena’s impersonation of Steph Curry? Yeah.
The Falcons aren’t the best three-point shooting team, but when they’ve gotten in rhythm, they’ve made their shots. They shoot a below average 21.8% from outside, but they take too few attempts to make it meaningful. There’s a saying that hitting the three erases a lot of sins. The Falcons will need a lot of absolution to even just avoid a repeat of their game against NU.
Stay in the zone
Preventing La Salle’s bigs from touching the ball would be wise. La Salle isn’t a good three-point shooting team. They average 17.7% beyond the arc, even worse than Adamson! This means staying put underneath the basket, denying the entry pass to Norbert Torres or Arnold Van Opstal would be a lot wiser than contesting Jeron Teng threes. For once, the zone might actually be the wiser option.
Oh, and don’t even think of pulling off a UE and trying to exploit La Salle’s lack of a point guard due to Thomas Torres’ injury. UE implementing the Pumaren press works like a well-oiled machine in forcing opponents to cough up the ball, forcing an average of 26.3 turnovers from their opponents. They are number one in the league in doing this and still La Salle found a way to break it. Just stay put underneath and force Almond Vosotros to take lots of shots he doesn’t like.
Be Gatsby ready
And by my title I mean be ready for their endorser, one half of the Teng brothers. Jeron Teng is among the top five scorers in the league today. He got to the top by being La Salle’s go-to guy. Among players in the league who average at least 30 minutes a game, Jeron is third in offensive output with a 92.3 ORTG. His shot attempts might not always produce points, but he is the absolute go-to Archer for his team, leading his team by getting the ball 27.5% of the time he’s on the floor, which is often as he averages 30.5 minutes a game.
The Falcons have to expect that Jeron Teng will eat them up at some point. They shouldn’t be surprised when he starts slashing past the perimeter defenders and gets the and-one on Ivan Villanueva. He is going to get his touches, he is going to make his shots, so what do the Falcons have to do? Make him work for them. Take his already low field goal percentage down. Make those 30 minutes he’s on the floor agonizing for him. At the very least, swing a decent defender on him and help whenever he gets the mismatch. He will chew up the likes of Ryan Monteclaro and Axel Iñigo, so Jansen Rios is your best bet as a defender. Limiting Teng will mean standing a chance at forcing an endgame, which Coach Juno will more likely win.
If the Falcons win this game, it will be by a mile… and a miracle.
Getting into the endgame will mean entering the part of the game the Archers are so well built for. Coach Juno Sauler is the basketball equivalent of Josh Waitzkin, focusing more on executing down the stretch rather than cooking up a quick opening surprise.
Coach Duremndes and his staff will be definitely outmatched this game. They don’t have the experience, discipline or creativity to one-up La Salle. They are far from the maturity needed to win championships in the UAAP. Case in point: When the Archers go into a timeout with their coach seeing things he doesn’t like, he instructs the adjustment on the white board for their next play and everyone chips in. When the Falcons go into a timeout with things he doesn’t like, he screams at them, everyone shuts up, he screams at them even more.