Round 2 it is. After much discussion by fans, analysts and scalpers alike, the UAAP decided to push through with the scheduled Ateneo-De La Salle bout for the second time in the season.
Last time out, it was a close game leading to the fourth until that bad, bad man, momma, Kiefer Ravena, decided that it’s showtime and proceeded to maul the Green Archers in every and any, way possible. At the end of the day, it was just too much to offset that 29 points he pumped in along with Von Pessumal‘s 21 and Arvin Tolentino‘s first double-double game of his collegiate career.
Are the Archers going to drop this time again (Pio, mind your biases and fandoms please)? Or will they show the chops of a champion this time around?
BEWARE THE BLUE MAMBA
Last time around, DLSU couldn’t do anything against Ravena as he pumped points in the second half. He was not even hot during the first half, contentedly dishing to Pessumal and Chris Newsome to handle the brunt of the offense as they clawed their way from a 13-4 deficit. In case you guys noticed (and please tone down the Blue Eagle fan in you, Pio), Ravena has been content to drive and dish, drive and dish. But when it’s the fourth quarter, BAM! You’re dead, and the venom of the Blue Mamba has taken your nervous system.
With De La Salle down to nine men, who would you put on Ravena? Robert Bolick? He easily destroyed “The Bull” in their last FilOil encounter. Julian Sargent has more of a chance to actually keep in step with the current UAAP scoring leader due to his height and build to man the guard spots. Jeron Teng should be your fail-safe since you definitely cannot have Almond Vosotros who’ll get eaten up alive by Ravena’s new post game. Well, there’s Jason Perkins to act as your fail-failsafe, but that’s stretching it too much. Here’s where Jarelan Tampus and Luigi Dela Paz could’ve actually made value (not that they’d stymie the King Eagle).
It’s easier to say bottle him up with gang defense, but the court IQ of Ravena, sheesh, DLSU is in for a toughie.
Keys to the Game
POUND IT HARDER THIS TIME
Hefty Lefty went to town the last time out with a huge double-double game of 25 and 10 rebounds. That was his best game to date and has since tapered off. Is it DLSU’s reluctance to let him be in the mid-post to high elbow? Or is it his insistence to hoist up jumpers instead of plowing through the paint?
Same with RoboSon. Why is he insisting on letting the leather fly when all indicators say he will be a much better scorer driving to the rack? There’s no need to add to the incessant chucking of Vosotros. You have to at least find an equilibrium for that and that is heading to the rack where you are a handful at 6’2″ and visibly chiseled to waylay defenders off.
Posting up Norbert Torres or Arnold Van Opstal would seem tricky now that somehow, something way beyond my existence in this universe, AT can actually defend in the post. He’s had two back-to-back good defensive games against arguably the toughest men inside the paint in Karim Abdul and Charles Mammie. When Ateneo uses the small-ball lineup and zone with Arvin in the middle, life has been tough inside one way or another. And you know, he’s been rebounding the ball superbly at that.
LIVE WITH ROOKIES AND DIE WITH ROOKIES?
With Ateneo’s seemingly rotating door frontline, would it be smart to play Abu Tratter and Prince Rivero heavy minutes to throw off the Blue and White side? That’s a risky proposition I must say. Rivero may not be on the level of Tolentino but he can sure play. As for Tratter, he always has one good play and that’s it. Whether he figures it out on the floor or not, least of worries for DLSU, unless Norbert or AVO are unserviceable.
Sargent would be no doubt thrown out there with no point guard to man the spot Kib Montalbo has left (must resist a Kib joke here). He can do the ball carrying but should surrender the leather to Teng who has been their leader in assists. You can’t trust Vosotros since he can only see the ring, no matter how close, or how far.
It should be a close one unless the quartet of Ravena, Pessumal, Newsome and Tolentino all go HAM. With DLSU’s penchance for chucking, and Newsome and Tolentino being capable of rebounding, Ateneo’s going to run the Archers to the ground. Should DLSU reel in Vosotros’ tendencies, they’re in great shape to tie the season series.