Welcome back UAAP fans!
I’m sure most of us are still hung up on the incredible run that the Gilas Pilipinas had. And for a whole two weeks, we were one as a basketball group.
Now that’s over and the second round of the UAAP season is upon us. Ateneo opens this round against the team that finished 0-7.
UP’s problems are very obvious – tons of midrange shots and poor interior defense tops out as the most glaring and obvious ones. Have they worked on that during the break? We’ll see. For now, let’s assume that they did and that Ateneo is hopefully close to 100 percent (Ravena, Buenafe, Erram). What should we see in the game for Ateneo to take this cake?
To copy from a great idea from my colleague, I’m doing a Linkin Park edition on this one (since they recently had their concert here in Manila). Enjoy, Linkin Park fans!
Keys to the Game
When you first come in the game they try to play you
Then you drop a couple of hits look how they wave to you
Does anybody remember La Salle’s 0-3 stunt now? Yeah, me neither.
Does anybody remember this? (Photo Credit: Adamson Falcons & UE Red Warriors Fan Page)
Ateneo is back in the driver seat thanks to a late spurt that saw them win three of their last four games. Ateneo must continue to do what they did right over that time span, deviating from that plan will just get us back to that frustrating 0-3 start. What did they do right?
Take Everything from the Inside
Take everything from the inside
And throw it all away
‘Cause I swear for the last time
I won’t trust myself with you
Ateneo played with fire a lot at the start. Did you know that they took 39 percent of their shots from three? That’s such a big chunk of your offense relying on such a volatile offense. It’s a good shot (most of the time) but doesn’t make it the best shot.
They changed it up a bit (especially with the arrival of Kiefer Ravena, restoring balance within Ateneo’s roster). They increased their percentage of shots inside from 38 percent to 46 percent and increased their makes from there, from 45.4 percent to 47.4 percent.
Ateneo’s defense from inside was also atrocious in their first three games, allowing teams to take 51.3 percent (above average) and making 48.7 percent from that area (average). Since then, they’ve allowed the opponent to take 44 percent of their opponent’s shots near the rim (below average) and making just 41.8 percent (below average).
The increased emphasis on attacking the paint (and defending it) has also had a trickle down effect on other facets of Ateneo’s game. Their offensive rebounding spiked because it’s easier to rebound a miss when it’s right around your coverage. The increased emphasis on attacking the paint has resulted in fewer attempts from the three-point line (although they took slightly more attempts from midrange). The fewer attempts has allowed Ateneo to make more of their attempts from downtown, converting 36.1 percent of their attempts from that area over their last four games. That is clearly a hot streak but there’s no reason to doubt that Ateneo could maintain an above average rate from downtown if they continue putting pressure from the outside.
In the End
I tried so hard and got so far
But in the end it doesn’t even matter
I had to fall to lose it all
But in the end it doesn’t even matter
I told you guys about how important those first few games without Kiefer was. It allowed the rest of our team to expand their comfort zones (almost by necessity). Hopefully, we’ll reap the benefits of it all in the second round, where the chemistry and the “on-a-string” execution will come along with the expanded comfort with bigger roles plus the return of a healthy Kiefer Ravena.
Sometimes, you have to experience failure to thirst for success. Or something.
I’m going to say this will be a close game – UP will be itching to get their first win. However, I think a well prepared Ateneo team will overwhelm them In The End. They’ll Take Everything from the Inside, and make UP’s defense Numb. Too much?
Ateneo wins this one and moves a half game behind a Top Four record (behind FEU’s 7-1, NU’s 5-3 and UST and UE’s 4-3).