After a stellar start against UP Fighting Maroons, the Adamson Soaring Falcons now have both the momentum and confidence that they can build on to mark their place as Final Four contenders for this year. Their prowess will be put to the test early though, as their next assignment is by no means an easy one.
Going up against the defending champions is never easy, especially when you’re the team with much to prove. While both teams are coming off different sides of the win-loss column, the difference lies in the teams they faced. Adamson played with crazy efficiency against a team that does not have a reputation for stability (hi UP!), while FEU Tamaraws just barely lost against a team expected to sweep the eliminations (DLSU).
So… does Adamson stand a chance at beating FEU?
Well, yes, that’s why the game has to be played.
Are the chances good?
It’s hard to tell given how different their opponents were and how dissimilar their results were as well.
Let’s compare some key stats in their first outings
|80.8%||Effective Field Goal Percentage||43.15%|
The raw points comparison makes it tempting to just write it off as Adamson definitely having the clear advantage in this game. However what’s troubling is the effective field goal percentage comparison. 80.8% eFG is crazy. There is simply no way that will be sustainable. That’s a flash in the pan if we ever saw one.
On the other hand, FEU’s numbers are already quite normal and where we expect them to be. But they went against a sure-Final Four contender in DLSU, which debuted rebounding and blocking machine Ben Mbala, so it’s possible that against a less monstrous team their numbers still have space to grow. Not by much, but it’s definitely still possible.
So the main issue here is finding out how far the Falcons’ offensive output will dip when the initial offensive explosion is gone… or if this is just really how big their offensive output is and will be for the entire season, and we can just crown them right here, right now.
|Pape Sarr||Prince Orizu|
|7||Free throws made||4|
|10||Free throws attempted||7|
Glancing at their numbers from their first games, it shows what is on the minds of most fans, that Sarr has the advantage in this matchup. The difference lies in the rebounding numbers. While Sarr has two less offensive rebounds than Orizu in their last game, Sarr grabbed those off a team that shot 69% from the field.
Add to this to the history of refinement that Sarr has shown in his post game in the past, and Orizu’s best bet at winning this matchup is through sheer energy and hustle. If FEU can make the pace as frantic as they did against DLSU, Sarr’s presence might just be negated enough.
From the perimeter the battle will be between the top scorers of the teams, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Ron Dennison. If we base it on last game performance, of course Ahanmisi had the better first game. How do you top shooting 6 of 7 from three?
The question will be how FEU will defend Ahanmisi and how Ahanmisi will react to the defense. From now on Jerrick is a marked man, as Falcons head coach Franz Pumaren admitted. Teams will be wary of his shooting ability, and will work to prevent him from having his way. FEU still has the grit to defend well when they want to, so it will be interesting to see how this match-up plays out.
There is a lot of reason to be optimistic about Adamson’s chances given their production in their first game, but FEU is never a team to be counted out. Right after their honeymoon game, the Falcons are getting a taste of reality and their response to it will be a clearer indication of things to come.
FEU is the more consistent of the teams, so it is definitely up to Adamson to step up and beat them. However if there’s one thing I would take away from the FEU vs. DLSU game, it’s that FEU just barely matched the production output of DLSU the entire time, but it resulted in multiple “casualties”. Raymar Jose and Axel Inigo both had trouble finishing the game, going down with cramps toward the end. If anything, it’s an indication of the degree of exertion FEU needed to get their normal numbers, meaning that if Adamson can run with the same intensity as DLSU, they’ll have the advantage.
|TV: LIVE ON ABS-CBN SPORTS AND ACTION|
|TIME: 2:00 PM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|