It’s going to be a battle of the top two offensive squads.
Ateneo just dealt with their first loss of the season, while FEU just grabbed their third victory. They are currently sharing the second spot of the team standings with identical 3-1 records.
What should the Eagles do to go back to their winning ways?
Ateneo Blue Eagles
Keys to the Game
FEU turns the ball over 25.3 times per 100 possessions (league worst), compared to Ateneo’s 15.0 (league best). In their previous game, the Tamaraws had a whooping 31 turnovers as a result of UE’s trapping defense. Ateneo needs to rattle the Tams and force them to lose possessions by employing more suffocating D.
STOP BELO AND TOLOMIA
Early MVP contenders Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia have been carrying their team this season, norming a combined 35 points per contest. If Ateneo wants to win this game, they will have to find a way to limit both. Putting Chris Newsome on Belo and Kiefer Ravena/Von Pessumal on Tolomia might work. Never lose sight of these two and force them to take awkward shots. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they also need to worry about Anthony Hargrove, Roger Pogoy, and Carl Cruz as these three could easily take over the scoring for FEU.
This match could be a story of who runs faster and who shoots better. Ateneo just came from a 19-of-62 field goal shooting and needless to say, they need to do better than that in order to bounce back. I hope to see Kiefer back to his beast self, showing no traces of his off performance against the Bulldogs. I also expect Arvin Tolentino to contribute (hopefully on both sides of the court this time), not just by draining triples but moreso by driving to the lane. No more of that coast-to-coast madness though.
Couple all these with a good field day from Newsome and Pessumal, and the Eagles will be good to go. It wouldn’t hurt to see the other rookies strut their stuff too, but I’m guessing they won’t get their minutes just yet. Not in this game.