View from the Enemy: FEU Tamaraws
“Na-Nuyles, dre.” This was the common reaction to the outcome of Adamson and FEU’s first meeting in Season 74. This time, Adamsonians are hoping for, “Bakal na Cruz” (Metal cross) to fall upon the Tamaraws.
There has been a nasty trend for the Falcons this season. Every time a team seems to be on the verge of breaking, they pick up their pieces and get it together against Adamson. First Ateneo snaps their three game losing streak against us, now La Salle finally shoots freethrows well against us as well. While we are definitely not the doormat of the UAAP, it seems we are the bucket of cold water that snaps teams back to reality.
Well, this Sunday, we’ll look to become that very same bucket of cold water that snaps FEU back to reality from its euphoric six game winning streak. If we’re going to play streak-breakers all season long, it’s going to have to go both ways, right?
Keys to the game
Stay on your toes
FEU has a deadly backcourt trio in Garcia, Romeo and Tolomia, but their front court is not to be counted out either. The Tams will do the bulk of their damage from outside, but they won’t hesitate to take the inside shot should the opportunity present itself. Adamson must constantly be on their toes to challenge every outside shot (that’s all we can really hope for) while denying them the inside baskets. Adamson has no choice but to put on a defensive clinic against FEU if they want to win. The Tamaraws have some of the most potent scorers in the league today that even Cruz has a hard time keeping up with. The only way to beat them at this point is not to out-shoot them but to force them to shoot poorly, or at least try to. Yes, FEU has great shooters, but Garcia hitting a contested three pointer from the hash line does less damage than leaving Senchu open for a dunk (in the long run of course).
Bring an umbrella
Be ready to weather the three point barrage of FEU. FEU is the top three point shooting team, averaging 9.3 made three point shots per game at 32.9%. The idea here is to:
a) Answer back with three pointers of your own- Roider Cabrera is among the top three point shooters in the league averaging around three makes from beyond the arc a game, these three pointers should help to cancel out the barrage of FEU. If both teams meet their averages, Don Trollano, Harry Petilos and Jericho Cruz can all pitch in with at least a single three pointer of their own to keep the difference as close as they can.
b) Score consistently- Every offensive outing has to be a productive one. That means no turnovers and good ball movement. Adamson averages only 13.6 assists per game, this means a lot of their points come from single player movements (isolation plays, screens, rebounds). They have to ramp this number up otherwise their offense becomes too predictable and FEU can easily clamp down on them, thus not getting good offensive outings and then they will be found in a hole yet again.
c) Disrupt their passes- FEU averages 17.16 assists per game as a team. That means a lot of points come off passes, be it passes from the shooter or passes to the shooter. Denying the passing lanes can somewhat stop them from getting making their shots, because if all Romeo and Garcia are doing is heaving up shots, unable to find anyone inside or at the perimeter, they’re eventually going to go out of rhythm and miss (hopefully).
For three games we have been out-rebounded by our opponents. Losing the battle of the boards in this game will spell certain disaster for the Falcons. If you let a team that averages 40.9% shooting from the field rebound and get second chances, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.
This is a bit disheartening because FEU grabs 45.33 boards a game compared to Adamson’s 42.3 boards per game. This is a result of most of their players just being much taller. Belo is their leading rebounder, but not by much. As for Adamson, after Sewa and Brondial, they have a gaping rebounding hole on the floor, which we saw Ateneo, NU and La Salle explain in their games.
Winning rebounds is crucial to the Falcons’ success, simply because they don’t miss often and we don’t shoot often.
Cruz vs. Romeo
These two are the top scorers for their teams but from different places on the floor. Romeo is a deadly three point shooter who is not afraid to let it fly when the occasion calls for it; while Cruz is more of an inside bruiser who will push and shove his way into the paint to get his points. As of recent games, Cruz has become less aggressive in his drives, opting to look for his jumpshot more often. He’s not afraid to let it fly either, but Adamsonian hopefuls just wish he made more of his jumpers.
Both Cruz and Romeo can torch the other team on the offensive end, but Cruz will need to breath fire once more to repeat his pre-season 33 point outing to maybe be enough to give FEU its first loss of the season.
I remember how in 2011 at the Araneta locker room, Coach Leo was handing each of the players their cellphones back, Ryan Monteclaro was sobbing at the counter while everyone else had the biggest disappointed look in their faces ever. I hope they remember that too and channel it into this game. FEU embarrassed them in front of the local basketball scene by showing them up and ransacking a twice to beat advantage. Now is the time to get even. If they can’t break this streak, Adamson can kiss their place in the final four goodbye, because even if they make it there, a loss here will only prove they’re still not ready to win it all.
I predict a championship caliber showing. Adamson will want this game more than FEU, and once again, Adamson will show the league how to beat the undefeated.
It’s show up or shut up Sunday.