View from the Enemy: NU Bulldogs

Tough breaks for the UE Red Warriors.

After coming up short on the double overtime game against the FEU Tamaraws, the Red Warriors are now plagued by suspensions – Charles Mammie and Lord Casajeros are both suspended for two games. Add to that the fact that their next two games will be against NU and La Salle.

Mammie and Casajeros will be sitting out two game days. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

Mammie and Casajeros will be sitting out two game days. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

The Red Warriors are currently in the fifth place at 5-4. They’re just a half game behind the fourth placer Green Archers (6-4) and third placer Blue Eagles (also 6-4). With four games remaining in the elimination round, this suspension could not have come at a worse time.

Dialing back to the upcoming game, the Red Warriors are once again up against the NU Bulldogs. Their Round 1 match-up served as a turning point for the UE Red Warriors. After all the doubts surrounding whether or not the preseason champs can deliver in the UAAP, Roi Sumang took a in-your-face looooong three with the and-one over NU’s ace – Bobby Ray Parks, Jr.

The Bulldogs are on a hot streak right now while the Red Warriors are battling loss after loss (game loss and player loss). How will they win this crucial game?

Keys to the Game

1. Floor spacing and ball movement

It’s a throwback game for the Red Warriors without their intimidating and imposing center Charles Mammie. Once again, they don’t have a solid big man that can man the paint for them. Now, more than ever, UE needs to have good enough floor spacing to spread out the NU defenders. This will open up opportunities for Roi Sumang to drive to the paint and at the same time, pose a threat from the three-point line.

They will be limited at the rim (Javier will fill in for Mammie but his production is just way far from Mammie’s) – they no longer have a big Mammie that can muscle his way to the basket – and will have to rely on their perimeter shooting and driving to the lane. Both of which requires ample floor spacing and good enough ball movement.

2. Throw Parks off his game

Parks is the main driver of the NU offense – without him, their offense crumbles. This guy is really just steps ahead of the rest of the UAAP players. However, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing the Red Warriors can do.

The Warriors need to force Parks to his right (he doesn’t finish with his right as well as he does with his left), force him to take contested shots, block his passing lanes and force him to turn over the ball. Without Mammie obstructing the rim, he could take advantage and drive more to the paint.

Limit Parks and you can significantly limit the Bulldogs.

3. Sumang + ________

 

Sumang stalking his prey. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

Sumang stalking his prey. (Photo Credit: Yahoo! Sports)

For the first two or three quarters of the game, Sumang focuses on creating plays for his teammates. He’s not so intent on shooting for himself. This allows other players to get into their groove. We’ve seen Olivarez, Jumao-as and Alberto step up to Roi’s challenge of becoming the third producer.

Without Mammie (that’s around 16 points they’re missing), Sumang will have to detonate earlier. He has to take command right from the start to build a comfortable lead against the Bulldogs. UE is desperately in need of some consistency here from their players – we all saw flashes of brilliance but now, they have to show that they can contribute in the entire game.

Prediction

Losing Mammie and Casajeros for this game is a huge setback to the team that is slowly getting there. The players themselves will have a hard time adjusting and keep up hope for Final Four.

Signs point out that NU will take this game but hey, UE has always proven me wrong in the predictions so we’ll see!