Fresh off a very impressive win to end the first round against their rivals Ateneo Blue Eagles, the DLSU Green Archers look to bring their strong momentum going into the second half of the season. Welcoming the Green Archers in the second round are the league-leading UST Growling Tigers who have been the most impressive team so far this season at 6-1.
In their first round matchup which was played just recently, the Growling Tigers poured in a lot of triples to defeat the Green Archers 77-61. They were just waxing hot from downtown, draining 11 three-pointers at a high 45% mark. The Green Archers defense was atrocious, giving UST a lot of open looks especially in the third quarter, leading to a very efficient 50.8% eFG and a high 93.9 ORTG for the Growling Tigers. Leading the way for UST was one of the frontrunners for MVP this season in Kevin Ferrer, who had 17 points on a whopping 97% true shooting. Leading the charge for La Salle was their own MVP candidate Jeron Teng with 13 points. But aside from the terrible defense by the Green Archers, they were also pretty bad at the line, shooting just 44%. They also couldn’t find a basket from downtown, making just six shots out of 27 attempts. While the other stats to the game were practically identical, the difference was really how the UST were waxing hot and how the Green Archers couldn’t find a basket from outside and at the line.
We expect the second round of this matchup to be much different. UST will be looking to lock up one of the two twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, while La Salle will aim to secure a slot in the Final Four, riding on their momentum going into the second round. Historically, La Salle has also been playing better in the second round since head coach Juno Sauler took over the mantle, having a 12-2 mark in the second round the last two years. This matchup will start the stretch runs for both teams and we expect a Final Four-like atmosphere in this contest.
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