The next few games of the Red Warriors will probably be one of the toughest. With two players still out due to suspension (Mammie and Olivares), the Red Warriors will be facing the boys from Taft in a very important game.

In their last outing, the Red Warriors won the two of the Four Factors (offensive rebounding at 46.5% and free throws at 26.9%). However, these “wins” were produced by a line-up that has Charles Mammie in the frontline. In their two games without Charles Mammie, their ORB% has gone down against UST (Round 1) and against NU (Round 2).

How can the incomplete Warrior squad beat the towering Archers?

Keys to the Game

1.  Sumang needs to produce for the entire game.
(Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News Online)

(Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News Online)

Roi Sumang cannot afford to wait until the last few minutes to bring his A-game in the offense. Sure, he has been crucial in proving assists and creating plays for his teammates but his offensive prowess has diminished over the last few games. He’s still as fast and explosive as ever (man, that guy knows when and how much to accelerate) but his shots aren’t falling through. He’s also been struggling in the charity stripe, constantly splitting his free throws in the last two games.

If the Red Warriors want to implement a come-from-behind Final Four contention, they need to STOP coming from behind in their games. They have to open the ball game with good, explosive offense and a solid defense – something we haven’t seen for a while.

2. Post ’em up, Noble!

JM Noble has been very effective in the paint especially when it comes to posting up his defenders. He has the body build to withstand the defense and the body control to look for the better shot. When Mammie is on the court, Noble is reduced to very few minutes with little opportunity to score and create.

Noble has been underrated this entire season. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports PH)

Noble has been underrated this entire season. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports PH)

Mammie definitely contributes monstrously in the rebounding department (and maybe the free throw too in the sense that he can get to the line often), but Noble’s better at posting up his defenders and finishing the shot. He has a better stroke than Mammie right now and I believe that the Red Warriors can make something out of it.

3. Iron defense

The De La Salle Green Archers are a deep team – each player has their own gun and with fire at will if you give them enough space. They have Vosotros and Revilla commanding the perimeter, Perkins and AVO towering at the rim, Teng driving and slashing, etc. They have bullets everywhere.

The Red Warriors on the other hand, is one of the worst defender in the league. Without Mammie, they even lack the inside presence that made them so intimidating in every match-up. How can they defend against one of the best offensive teams? They have to pressure the offense from the perimeter and not let them drive because once they do, it’ll hard to stop them with only Javier/Noble manning the paint. Good for them that Casajeros, one of their better defenders, is back from his one-game suspension.

Prediction

All the signs point to the Red Warriors succumbing to the Green Archers. However, this team is at it’s wit’s end, trying to secure a spot in the Final Four. If they lose this game, they might as well bid goodbye to their possible contention. So I’ll go against the flow and say that UE might win this one by a very slim margin.