Third chance to grab a victory. Third straight time to face a Final Four contender.
Will the arrows fly true? Or will they falter once more? Another loss and a retired DLSU super fan might just have had it and return to writing. Another loss and yes, maybe a bit of a panic alarm is now allowed to course through Taft. And this time, they will be facing a team who moved quickly from the loss of its superstar and played as if there is no drop off at all. If De La Salle has to make a statement, it has to be now.
How do you weave your magic now, Juno? Have you realized that your best player is no longer Jeron Teng but Jason Perkins? Are we still bedazzled by Kib Montalbo’s hype? I think it’s time to move on and utilize and maximize what we do have here. And temper some players’ habits. Anyway, I’ll have my three points to deal with as they get rolling for the 4 p.m. setto.
Double Aroga or Double Rosario?
National U may not boast of the same depth the Green Archers have. For comparison, the Bulldogs have Troy Rosario, Alfred Aroga, Glenn Khobuntin, and Henri Betayene. De La Salle has Norbert, Perkins, AVO, Tratter, Andrada. Out of those four, three are cinches to merit some defensive attention. Two require at least a double and very mobile big men to cut their driving lanes or contest their jumpers. One will probably feast on whoever you decide to plug in your second unit’s PF spot.
So, who would you double? Aroga or Rosario? Aroga is the more bruising big man from the twin towers of NU. However, he can run the length of the floor like a small forward, akin to UE’s Moustapha Arafat. He can put the leather down and is not shy about doing so nor clumsy at the same time. If you put Perkins on him, Perk would be giving up height and power. Make no mistake, even if Perkins looks chunky and bulky, Aroga has the muscle to power through him. If you go with Torres, if you’ve witnessed Aroga even before his UAAP debut, he can kill the Bear’s ankles (he did that to Ola Adeogun in FilOil play). Aroga’s lethal combination of speed and strength for a guy his size is just deadly.
And then there’s Rosario. He’s been turning heads since the recent FilOil preseason tuneups. He has vastly improved and matured into his role for the Bulldogs. Here’s a guy who’s 6’7″, can run the floor like Aroga, and is very active on the boards and on defensive close outs. He was supposed to take off in Season 76 but injuries derailed him and Altamirano favored Javillonar more than the young fellow, which was puzzling since Rosario offered more than what Javillonar has laid out on the table. He has a nice 15-17ft baseline jumper that creates space for Aroga and instinctively attacks down the lane when he recieves the ball at the free throw line. He doesn’t attack recklessly though, and reads very well on pick and rolls and pick and pops so that when he gets the ball, he’s pretty wide open for his driving or pull up options.
That’s a double headache I wouldn’t want to coach against. Again, your pick, Aroga or Rosario?
Who’ll man the point?
The best candidate to man the point would be Vosotros, who has paraded himself as an undersized shooting guard ever since he entered the UAAP . At that position, he was a liability for smart teams who put bigger guards in the post, but thankfully enough, only Ateneo and Kiefer Ravena takes advantage of those. He’s also an incessant chucker who shoots his team lately out of wins. 11 threes and rarely or invisible midrange game, are we witnesssing a better Migs de Asis? Sauler has to temper his chuck first,pass later mentality seeing that Montalbo is nowhere near UAAP level for point guard play. As one friend pointed out, yes, Kib is physical and tries his darndest to cover players. But he offers nothing offensively at this point and still gets torched badly on the other side of the ball. There’s no one else to man the point but Vosotros and he has his work cut out defensively as NU’s Gelo Alolino has been lights out so far. Teng and Perkins proved to be good passers against Ateneo but I would not bet my house and lot for consistency.
Will the real Jeron Teng please stand up?
It may just be me but I believe Jeron Teng can shoot better than how he’s doing currently. 10-of-35 for the season. In two freaking games! I may be taking that green crown off you sir and give it to Jason Perkins instead who has proven himself to be more reliable than you when Gang Green needs buckets. I don’t get why Teng confines himself to jumpers. He has that brute strength to throw his weight around on hard drives down the lane and has the upper body strength (or is it body upper strength, Coach Luigi?) to take the hit and still finish for the and-one. It’s just crazy that he is just there standing pretty with that super ugly jump shot form of his. And man, the free throws.
If the Archers are successful in cancelling out NU’s Big Three of Aroga, Alolino, and Rosario, then this should be a cinch. If they cannot, once more, then I’m looking at a 0-3 hole. Now, who would you have to shadow Glenn Khobuntin? This guy, no matter how much of a ball hog he may be at times (okay, most of the time), he’s still good at burn opposing second units. This guy, with his head screwed straight, is a handful. He can punish you outside or school you inside. He likes to get in dirty work too, pounding rebound battles crazily. Yutien Andrada would be best suited for this. But who will you have to score on the other end? A Sargent-Montalbo-Torres-Salem-Andrada doesn’t challenge the defense that much. Well, Norbert has some post moves but he tends to float away from that. As for an explanation, I don’t have any. La Salle also has to maintain its hot start. Twice they started out of the gates roaring but lose steam after the second unit checks in. You can’t have that for the third straight time guys. That’s just unforgivable.
If they maintain their hot start, Vosotros slides down to the one well, and Jeron Teng shows up to take the defensive heat off Perkins and AVO, then Taft wouldn’t have to pull the hairs out of their heads for a miserable start to the campaign. However, if Aroga and Rosario run amok inside, Gang Green is in for a loooooooong day.