It hasn’t been a kind season for the Falcons at all this year. Fortunately for them it’s now at the waning moments and they will finally be put out of their misery and get a chance to get ready for next season.
The Falcons will have to work for their first win of the season if they’re going to do it in their next game. At this point in the season, there is no doubt about it, Ateneo is the league’s best scoring team with a 99.5 offensive rating. This bodes poorly for Adamson as they manage a measly 71.8 ORTG. Both teams are matched when it comes to defensive rating giving up 93.5 points per 100 possessions so it will be offense that ultimately decides the outcome.
Keys to the Game
I’m pretty sure the Falcons have been watching the PUSO run of Gilas Pilipinas. Do a Jimmy and just let it fly from everywhere on the court. They have been unable to score points all season long as they’ve been looking to run a non-existent offensive system. Forget all those options and passes, find the slightest opening in the defense and let it fly. Don Trollano and company catching Ateneo off guard will be their best bet and that means deviating from whatever set plays they have in mind. Ateneo might not be the best defensive team, but Adamson doesn’t exactly have the best offense either (they have the worst actually).
GUARD THE LINE
Ateneo is without a doubt the best three-point shooting team in the league this season. They average 19.8 points coming from their long bombs. Taking this weapon away would close the scoring distance between the two teams but it will definitely not be enough. That said, it’s more important to force the misses rather than chase them off the line. For all Ateneo’s preference to shoot from outside, they won’t shy away from a drive. Contest the three ball, make Kiefer Ravena cramp up trying to step back from 22-feet away from the basket over and over again, and maybe, just maybe the score won’t look so bad.
There’s some truth to Roi Sumang’s claims. Ateneo and La Salle are the top two teams when it comes to attempts and points off the free throw line averaging 19.5 and 15.9 points from the stripe respectively. But this isn’t to take anything away from the two teams. Their field goal numbers are equally formidable and a lot of the fouls come from having to play in several endgame fouling situations.
Even so, if the Falcons can contest shots while avoiding sending the Eagles to the line, this would take away another one of the Eagles’ weapons. This leaves them with driving to the lane, mid-range jumpers, post ups and put backs… quite a lot, but at least they’ve been narrowed down, right?
While the Falcons are at it, it wouldn’t hurt for them to go hard at the basket every once in a while. After the first round, they’ve been sluggish on offense and their free throw numbers are down. They’ve gone from the top of league in attempts to nearly the bottom. Trollano and Jansen Rios can absorb some contact, so it’d be wise for them to put their girth to some use.
Hopefully some of that PUSO will inspire the Falcons to put up a last stand for the season. Nobody wants to end a season 0-14. The last time the Falcons went winless it spelled a long final four drought which was only broken thanks to Coach Leo Austria taking over and the MVP play of Ken Bono.