The Red Warriors are back and will make an attempt to continue their three-game winning streak. In their last game against the UST Growling Tigers, where they lost 11 points, they played without their intimidating and intense center Charles Mammie. Chris Javier was left to put up against a much stronger Karim Abdul. Now, the Red Warriors have a chance to redeem themselves and prove that they could’ve had that Round 1 win against the Tigers.
The two-week FIBA break is over and the boys are back to grinding it out on the court. We’ll see if this break helped the Warriors figure things out in terms of a more structured offensive strategy or if it broke the three-game winning streak momentum that they had exiting the first round.
Keys to the Game
1. A structured offensive game
UST is one of the best defensive teams in the league, only allowing 67.9 points per 100 possessions. The chaotic offensive game of the Warriors, which is grounded in the individual talents of each player, will be easy for the Tigers to defend.
The Red Warriors need to add more structure to their offense. Sumang is one of the top pointguards in the league – he can shoot a jumper, he can pass, he can drive and he can finish. They should take advantage of that and employ more ball screens for the offense to capitalize on his explosiveness and versatility.
2. The Mammie Returns
Due to a one-game suspension, Charles Mammie was not able to test his raw strength against the more experienced center in Karim Abdul.
If it’s a question of brute strenght, Charles Mammie definitely has that. But more experienced big men know how to position themselves for the rebound or putback without taking someone’s eye out. Abdul has a decent jumper game in him and he will use that to lure Mammie away from the rim and into dangerous waters.
3. Bench needs to come up big
The UE bench have been on/off in Round 1 – providing fleeting production from the likes if Jumao-as and Alberto. In other words, come chaos time, the bench is quite unreliable.
On the other side, the UST team has a deep and more consistent bench. In Round 1, their bench averaged at approximately a 28-point production, compare that to UE’s 22.9-point bench contribution.
I will dare say that the Tigers will win this one. They have a deeper bench that can produce when needed and one of the top defenses in the league. Even without the King Tiger Jeric Teng, they’ve got a lot of horsepower to win this one.