View from the Enemy: FEU Tamaraws
Off to contrasting starts to the season, University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and Far Eastern University Tamaraws will face off prior to the much-anticipated Ateneo-La Salle showdown on Sunday, July 7 at MOA Arena.
UP will seek to barge into the winning column after losses to Adamson and La Salle. Meanwhile, FEU will attempt to maintain their sizzling start to the season after posting wins against Final Four contenders UE and Ateneo.
History tells the Fighting Maroons are the clear underdogs coming into the game, having bowed to the Morayta-based squad in 15 of the last 16 games they faced with the solitary win coming last 2011. In their second round encounter last season, UP made a good run for FEU’s money with a surge late in the game only to lose by three, 73-70.
Keys to the Game
4F’s for the Unibersidad ng Filipinas (Yes, Filipinas with the F)
Fight for the rebounds
UP was undeniably annihilated in the battle for the boards in the first two games as they were outrebounded by an average of 21.5 boards. Needless to say, that is a lot of possessions they gave away.
In this season, the frontcourt of UP’s total rebounding rate is at atrocious. Chris Ball’s is at 11.0% while Raul Soyud’s is at 11.5%, both rates are lower than their last season’s rebounding rate. However, FEU’s frontcourt is not doing much better either this season. Anthony Hargrove’s rebounding rate is at 10.3% while Roger Pogoy’s is at 10.7%.
There stands a chance that UP will be at par with FEU in terms of rebounding. Thus, it will give them more possessions and chances to score. However, it is interesting to note that FEU managed to win their first two games despite being rebounded on both occasions.
Feed Terrence’s circa 2012 ego
That is, let him and the porcupine in his head to be the individualistic scorer of last season rather than the playmaker he transformed this season. Let him take those long-range jumpers he used to love, instead of allowing him to find a wide open RR Garcia on the wing or a waiting Anthony Hargrove in the shaded area.
The table below shows Romeo’s stats in the games versus UE and Ateneo.
Clearly, it serves better for his team if he is more of a facilitator and not just the happy-go-lucky 3-point shooter in him. UP defenders must give some space for him to force jumpers. They should also guard closely the possible recipients of Romeo’s dishes like Garcia, Hargrove and Mike Tolomia.
Firepower from the bench
In the first game, it was Kyles Lao. In the second, it was Kyle Suarez. So far, coach Ricky Dandan appears to be a virtuoso in pulling off those magic “hugots” from the bench. And in this game, he’ll need to repeat his act in order to match with the talented Tamaraws bench bannered by former MVP RR Garcia.
Fafa Henry Asilum has to be the playmaker
(I apologize. I had to include that “Fafa” in order to keep the four F’s rolling. )
More than ever, UP will have to rely on Henry Asilum’s playmaking ability. In the first game without the man-of-the-moment Mikee Reyes, he was inserted into the starting lineup against La Salle. He managed to put up 12 points on 4 of 6 3PT shooting and 1 assist in 28 minutes. Yes, a solitary assist which equated to a 5.9% assist rate for the supposed primary playmaker. Those statistics are ridiculously low, perhaps lower than the position of Antarctica on the world map. He has to do a better job in setting up his teammates and executing team plays if they want to win.
Kyles Lao (124.5 points per 100-possession, 67.9% TS, rebounding splits of 4/6/5, 23.5 mpg) vs. Mike Tolomia (94.3 points per 100-possession, 50% TS , rebounding splits of 2/14/9, 25.5 mpg)
Watch out for the battle of x-factors. Lao and Tolomia were impressive in their respective last outings. Lao, on his first start for UP, notched 18 points and five rebounds against La Salle while Tolomia was the unsung hero in the overtime victory versus Ateneo, finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Though they’re not the primary offensive option for their teams, expect these two highly-skilled guards to provide instant scoring punch.
Expect this game to be fast-paced. Both teams relied heavily on perimeter scoring so we will be seeing a high-scoring game. Rebounds will not be a problem for UP this time as their frontcourt can keep up with FEU’s presence in the shaded area. This game might be close. Lucky breaks will probably favour FEU.
FEU will keep its unblemished record. UP will drop its third game. FEU by single-digit margin.