View from the Enemy: UE Red Warriors
Cue the mixture of drum beats and horns that can only remind you of college basketball. The crowd, composed of youthful students, die-hard alumni and fans who just love basketball. The arena divided into two parts with their respective school colours. The UAAP experience, there’s nothing like it (could be a nice tagline for the UAAP, imagine a “Where Amazing Happens”-type of commercial with that line, thoughts?).
With each new season comes expectations. Last season, FEU’s body of work was eclipsed by the disappointment of not making the Final Four. The FEU team is coming off a season where they suffered a heartbreaking loss to La Salle that would’ve sent them to the Final Four, and also a controversial loss to NU which was a replay of the infamous lay-up from RR Garcia that was not counted.
This year, expectations will be just as high. With the history and tradition of winning for FEU, no less than making the Final Four will do for the FEU Tamaraws.
First game of Season 76 kicks off with the Red Warriors battling against the Tamaraws.
Keys to the Game
- Ball movement. Getting the whole team involved in the offense will be important for the Tamaraws. They should execute less isolation plays and I think it falls upon Garcia to get the team involved with his playmaking ability. We all know Romeo and Garcia are excellent scorers but they will need support from their role players to win against the Red Warriors.
- Keep UE Stars in check. Roi Sumang is one of the best point guards in the UAAP. He’s freakishly athletic. The defensive plan must concentrate on stopping his penetration to the basket and force him to shoot contested jumpers. Another option could be to double Sumang and live with the other Red Warriors taking shots. Hargrove and Sentcheu must also play good post defense on Mammie and try to limit him on offense.
- Rebound. With the Escoto ACL injury and with the Bringas brothers out of the roster, the frontcourt of FEU is really undersized against the bigmen of UE. The team must concentrate on its efforts in rebounding. If the rebounding margin between UE and FEU is too large, UE will probably cruise its way to victory. Grab the boards and FEU might win one against a UE team who was very impressive in the FilOil presason tournament.
UE will have the upper hand, entering this game. They will ride the momentum and the chemistry of their team, coming off a championship run from the FilOil Flying V tournament. UE is a more complete team right now than FEU. The Tamaraws will have to deal with a new coaching staff and finding their identity as a basketball team, not to mention that they lost major pieces in the offseason. Everything is going for the UE team right now and I think they will be the favorite to win this game. Prediction? UE wins.
The game will be on Saturday, January 29, 2:00pm at the SM MOA Arena.