The De La Salle Green Archers want nothing more than to bounce back, especially after a loss to the upstart UP Fighting Maroons. In their way are the FEU Tamaraws, who also wants to do the same thing after suffering a stunning loss to the UST Growling Tigers. This match between the two squads will be the first time they will face each other in the UAAP since that Mac Belo buzzer beater that brought the Tamaraws to the Finals last season. The Green Archers looked flat in their last game which led to UP taking advantage of their lackluster performance, but the Green Archers are aware that they can’t take things lightly and must be aggressive to start the game, like how they did against NU, to beat a team like FEU. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, showed in their first game that they were the team to beat this season after demolishing the Ateneo Blue Eagles by 24 points, but fell back to the ground in their matchup against UST.
In last season’s matchup, FEU had the upper ground against La Salle. They won the regular season matchup, 2-0, and eliminated the Green Archers, 2-1, in a virtual best-of-three semifinal series. The Green Archers simply couldn’t stop the Tamaraws’ offense, where they shot above 45% eFG. Leading the Tamaraws charge are Mac Belo, who averaged 20.2 points in five meetings against the Green Archers while having a true shooting percentage over 50%, and Mike Tolomia who did a lot of damage against the Green Archers, averaging 17 points while shooting close to 50% true shooting. These two players have been a nightmare for the Green Archers last season and if La Salle can somehow contain one of those two players, it would change the complexion of the game.
Even after losing to UST, the FEU Tamaraws are still considered the heavy favorites this season. And for the Green Archers, playing excellent defense is their only key in stopping the Tamaraws. FEU’s offensive game makes them hard to stop with their wide array of offensive weapons; it wouldn’t be wise to simply outgun them. While La Salle, in their two games, has showed us their good side like what we saw in their game against NU, playing good defense and moving the ball well. They have also shown us the bad side, playing passively and not being focused on the game, like what we saw in their game against UP. One motivation that the Green Archers will think about this game though: Mac Belo’s buzzer beater. But a repeat performance from last Wednesday will certainly doom us against FEU. (Just ask the Blue Eagles.)