View from the Enemy: De La Salle Green Archers
After being dealt by painful setbacks in their respective opening games, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and De La Salle University Green Archers will square off on the first game of a doubleheader on July 3 at MOA Arena.
La Salle is coming from a narrow 58-63 loss at the hands of University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in a very pulsating game last June 29 while UP was simply outdone by Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 79-67, last June 30.
History does not augur well with Fighting Maroons as they have not beaten the Green Archers in their last six encounters, dating back from 2010. It is also interesting to note that DLSU’s first wins in each of the previous four seasons were all at the expense of UP.
This game also marks Sam Marata’s first encounter against his former team of three years. Marata, who had a game-high 20 points against AdU, will be expected to carry much of the Maroons’ offense.
Keys to the Game
Grow up, Mikee.
It was August 22, 2009 when then-rookie Mikee Reyes put up his best performance as a Fighting Maroon with 25 points. And guess what, it was against DLSU. In their game against Adamson, he was the starting playmaker and managed four points on 1-6 FG and six assists. But he had a little argument with head coach Ricky Dandan after subbing him out at third quarter and never returned to the action. Being one of the elder players on the team, Reyes has to be more mature. He does not need to be flashy and wild. He is a capable scorer and playmaker. But his team badly needs him to be more of the latter.
Get them to the line.
Because it is against La Salle, we have to talk about free throws. It still puzzles most of us why the entire team is shooting horribly at the foul line. Their misery from the charity stripe was very much prevalent in their game against UST when they shot a dreadful 9-19. Meanwhile, UP had a decent free throw shooting versus AdU, making 14 of the 19 attempts. If the game is close in the final stretch, do not hesitate to get La Salle to the foul line because the returns, or the lack of it, will surely favor UP.
Give Marata support.
We really didn’t know how Marata will fare to his new role as the primary weapon on the offense until the game versus Adamson. It is fair enough to say that he has done well in his first assignment. But he has to realize that opposing teams will be putting a premium defense towards him. And that calls for his teammates to step up. Only Henry Asilum and Raul Soyud are the other players who scored in double figures in the game against AdU. UP needs more scoring firepower from others like Chris Ball, and perhaps Kyles Lao from the bench.
Raul Soyud vs Norbert Torres
The hefty battle of the interns of Extra Rice Inc. Expect these two wide-bodied big men go head-to-head inside the paint. They’ll be clashing for those rebounds like two brothers fighting for a piece of siopao brought by their mother.
Soyud, whose Season 76 start was marred by foul trouble, managed to clobber a near double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds in just 20 minutes. On the other hand, Torres had atrocious shooting game vs UST, converted only one out of eight field goal attempts to finish with eight points. But he was dominant in the boards as he grabbed 13 rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
By the way, you have to watch Norbert Torres’ misses on the free throw line. Those in-and-out misses should have at least worth 0.5 point each.
I dare say that this game is winnable for the Fighting Maroons. DLSU has tendency to play sloppy sometimes, as seen previously in their last game. UP must capitalize on their turnovers to win. The frontcourt of La Salle, though really huge, is really not that intimidating. Ball and Soyud can keep up with them. This battle might boil down to the battle of the backcourt. This game will be close. UP by single-digit margin.