With our players already bidding one another “goodbye”, it’s quite easy to conclude that this last game of the season will be their final dance, for better or for worse.
In their previous outing, the final score did not reflect how one-sided that game really was. Were it not for the late game barrage by the Warriors’ Roi Sumang, it would have been listed among the other 30-point blow-outs this season. It seems like an eternity, but that pumped up team that pounced on a then Final Four bound UE squad in the first round is long gone. Now we’re left with a team of confused and demoralized players who just want to get the season over and done with. God only knows that their attitudes toward this last game is, but for what it’s worth, I just hope they make their swan song one that reverberates through time.
Keys to the Game
Eat more Mammie
The Falcons will be going up against the league’s best rebounder, again. Charles Mammie averages 18.6 rebounds a game, that’s nearly double the average output of Adamson’s leading rebounder Rodney Brondial with 10.2 rebounds a game. What those stats don’t show, however, is that Mammie is getting those 18 rebounds after being on the floor for an average of 33 minutes a game. That’s only 7 minutes of rest time every game, which can’t be good for his stamina. Like Mammie, Brondial also averages 32 minutes a game, but unlike Mammie, Brondial has help on the rebounding side by the name of Ingrid Sewa.
Sewa, who averages 8.9 rebounds a game, gets those rebounds within the average 24.2 minutes he’s given. The difference being Sewa’s numbers have been fluctuating from 3 rebounds one game to 15 rebounds the next, all on the same amount of time.
Preventing Mammie from getting his rebounds is key, but to ensure that, Sewa has to get his rebounds. Brondial is a constant on rebounding as his numbers do not go lower than 9 rebounds each game. Sewa getting at least 10 rebounds means the Falcons are beating Mammie to the punch on those boards, thus controlling the pace. Sewa has to become the behemoth in the paint he is and just gobble up boards for the Falcons.
Space the floor and move the ball
This is something the Falcons have had trouble with all season long. I understand that most of our players are streaky and are considered “cutters” instead of catch-and-shoot people. This forces a dilemma because opposing defenses can easily go over screens knowing the guy taking the screen probably won’t shoot (unless it’s Roider Cabrera). With this in mind, the Falcons have to give their offensive players room to operate.
Cruz is their best scorer off the dribble, playing him on a two-man game with Brondial on the pick-and-roll would be a good idea seeing how at the very least, with Cruz’ average 30% shooting, Brondial would be there to clean up after him. Still, none of it would work if you have the shooters too near that pick-and-roll that their defenders can easily help off them.
What they want to do is get the shooters touches. More attempts from Monteclaro, Cabrera and Petilos while limiting the attempts taken by shot creators like Cruz, Rios and Trollano. Why? This move the ball around a lot better, forcing extra passes to players who normally wouldn’t be able to get their shots off. At its best, the shot creators have to be a last resort for the offense, because let’s face it, once the defense clamps down on them, it’s really tough for them to even make their attempts and passing will only confuse their teammates.
If we can see another Roider BANG game like the last time, the Falcons just might be able to close the season strong.
Deny the post
UE is hobbling into the game. Roi Sumang had to be pulled out of their game against Ateneo on a stretcher which is never a good sign. Whether or not he will play, he’s definitely not at 100% percent at this point. This means the offense will run through Olivares who averages 11.4 points a game on 40 percent which is a smidge higher than Sumang’s 36 percent. They will be missing Sumang’s 19.3 points a game and will definitely need to find that production elsewhere.
When Olivares and everyone else start out cold and can’t find a bucket, where do you think they’ll try to attack from? Of course! The post.
Without Sumang, the Warriors won’t have an outside presence who can consistently score off his own dribble. This means the ball has to move around and find the best shot possible, which is often in the paint. Remove their option at the pain, force them to shoot mid-range jumpers all game and watch as their numbers plummet. If Adamson can deny Mammie in the paint while keeping everyone else out of there too, this game is theirs. Otherwise, UE can keep attacking the paint and then all hell breaks loose as they catch their shooting touch, making everyone on the team a shooter, forcing Adamson’s defense on their heels and poof! We have a repeat of the Fr. Martin’s Cup.
As long as the Falcons play the way they played in the first round, they should be able to take this game. What’s troublesome is their lack of spirit, knowing Coach Leo might not be back next year and that this year has been a big disappointment as it is.
After this game, win or lose, the Falcons will have to lick their wounds and get some rest as they prepare for the next season. The mighty Falcons will rise again, time will come when we get to say, “FEAR US” but it is not this day.