After a poor first half, La Salle got its rhythm during the third quarter and never looked back. The Archers are now on a season-high three-game winning streak, building momentum for the big showdown against rivals Ateneo this September 1. La Salle is now at 6-4, and as of this writing, is in solo third place – just a few games behind the league leaders FEU and NU. UP dropped to 0-9 and is now the first team that is officially eliminated from the Final Four race.
It was a tale of two halves. La Salle played sloppy during the first half and played bad defense; UP played one of the best first halves this year. The Maroons were making contested jumpers and long three pointers. They had 11 assists during the game, all in the first half. The first half ended with a 42-35 lead for the Maroons. The UP crowd exploded after the half and they cheered like they have already won the game.
While surveying the La Salle crowd, there was no sense of panic. None at all! Of course, there were some Lasallians who were displeased that we were behind during the first half against the winless Maroons. But all of us know that at some point, we will dominate the second half anyway. And dominate the second half we did. La Salle ended the third quarter with a slim 61-56 lead. DLSU unloaded a huge 14-0 blast bridging the third and fourth quarters for the expected easy win.
Reviewing the Keys to the Game
Stop Kyles Lao
A check mark for this one as Lao only scored six points in just 2/8 shooting.
I was expecting him to take over the offense of UP but it was Asilum who carried the load for the Iskolars ng Bayan as the point guard from Cebu scored 18 points on 7/12 shooting, including 4/5 from the three-point line. Lao struggled because the offense, instead going through him, went to Asilum and he did deliver. Now, can the two of them co-exist? Well we might not find out the answer to that question for this season but UP needs to fix a potential chemistry problem to two of their top guards, the same problem of FEU with Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia.
Watch out for the La Sallian-Maroons
Former Green Archer Joseph Marata contributed for the Archers during this game as he shot a miserable 3/15 from the field, including 0/7 from the three-point line! Andre Paras played six minutes and did not score, but he made a lot of ladies happy with his good looks. JR Gallarza just played six minutes, perhaps a “victim” of the new rotation thanks to the new coach. He did not even bother to take a single shot. Andrew Harris started this game and got a lot of minutes for his standards as he played 19 minutes and scored four points, a relatively decent game for him as not much was expected from him anyways. So no dramatic “revenge” game for the “former Archers” for this season! But it was nice to see the “La Sallian Maroons” sing the alma mater song after the game, from their four players to some of their coaching staff.
An ‘x’ mark! A huge ‘X’ mark!
La Salle shot a miserable 26/40 from the line for this game for only 65%. La Salle just shot 11/22 from the charity stripe during the first half. Even the good free throw shooters of La Salle struggled today as Arnold Van Opstal shot 3/7 while Jason Perkins shot 5/11. Well at least, Jeron Teng shot well from the line, making 6/8 while “The Bear” Norbert Torres shot a very high 8/9 from the free throw stripe.
La Salle never panicked despite the poor first half as it executed well offensively and defensively during the second half. As I predicted, Jason Perkins had another double-double performance – he scored 19 points and grabbed 16 big rebounds, including 10 huge offensive rebounds! He really reminds me of Charles Barkley. He is not as athletic as Sir Charles but he really has a nose for the ball in getting those rebounds. I was hoping for a breakout game from him and I got my wish as The Bear scored 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. I hope he can be consistent for the rest of the season.
Almond Vosotros also scored 16 points while Jeron Teng chipped in 12 points.
Free Throws! La Salle shot a horrible 26/40 from the line and started the game poorly. La Salle can’t afford to shoot this way from the line and to start slowly against a Kiefer Ravena-led Ateneo this Sunday. Despite chipping in 12 points, Jeron Teng only shot 3/13 from the field including 0/3 from the three-point distance. He needs to improve his shot selection. I don’t know why Jeron was even fielded during the latter part of the fourth quarter when the game was basically over.
Gabby Reyes, who did not play a single minute during this game, should have played during the last few minutes of the game to build some confidence. After a good pre-season, Gabby is riding the bench this UAAP season and his confidence is really low. La Salle can use a big scoring guard in Gabby against the bigger and more athletic teams.
Luigi De La Paz, one of the heroes of the game against Ateneo during the first round, also did not play. La Salle might need the shooting of De La Paz during the next few games and I hope that he still has his confidence.
La Salle got the job done – a dominant win against UP for a three-game winning streak! La Salle is now just a few wins away from the Final Four, and perhaps even a shot at the coveted twice-to-beat advantage. Next stop is rivals Ateneo – a game very crucial for both teams – not only because of the rivalry, but because of the standings as well.
The La Salle community is hoping that the Archers can end the elimination round strong for a Final Four berth then take it from there. We are in for one hell of a ride this next several weeks! Once again, stay safe and dry my fellow UAAP fans!