It took 27 days, six matches, including two against Adamson Soaring Falcons, and a Henry Asilum explosion before the UP Fighting Maroons finally snag their third win in Season 78.
Wait, what? A Henry Asilum explosion?
I don’t know what is with the two UP-Adamson games this year. As if that random supernova performance of Jerome Garcia that delivered the first victory of Soaring Falcons this season was not enough, here comes Asilum with his own act of random greatness — pouring in 19 points on 11 shots in just 15 minutes of playing time to lead the charge for Fighting Maroons in snapping their five-game skid. Looking barely at those numbers without computing them will tell you right away that it was an efficient production from Asilum, right?
You see, Henry Asilum and efficiency do not come together in one sentence this season. That is until this game. Among the 60 UAAP players who average at least ten minutes per game and who use at least 15% of their team possessions, he is dead last in PER (-0.2) and net rating (-32.2 points per 100 possessions) entering into this contest. Adding to those numbers is his high turnover rate of 29.2% But those atrocious stats of him did not matter in this unicorn game of his as he came to save the day for UP. It was not as if he was doing things differently in this game. Simply the shots that he usually take (those one-handed floaters from the foul line and those pull-up jumpers from isolation plays) but miss (which leads to his benching more often than not), just went in today.
Magic Number 33
Aside from Asilum’s awesome performance that gave the victory for the Fighting Maroons, there are two noteworthy things that decided this game. The Soaring Falcons wasted a lot of possessions as they committed a plethora of turnovers, 33 in total. In any other game that would have translated to a blowout. So how come it was just a five-point contest in the end? That’s because UP engaged themselves in a foul fest, committing 37 fouls to which Adamson capitalized by converting 33 free throws. Papi Sarr was the primary cause of this foulfest as UP once again packed the pain to prevent him from pulling off a monster game. He made 16 out of the 22 free throws, which is pretty decent conversion rate. In the end, sending him to the charity stripe turned to be a great strategy for UP despite its ugliness and lack of entertainment value as the third quarter took almost an hour.
Game Notes and Other Observations
1. It’s raining corner threes for Adamson!
Had our editor-in-chief watched this game, I’m pretty sure he would be giggling. UP’s defense scheme to clog the paint pretty much for 40 minutes may have limited scoring chances close to the basket, but it gave the Soaring Falcons the opportunities to take those high-percentage corner threes. If my tally is correct, the Soaring Falcons knocked down seven out of the 13 corner threes they took. UP should make necessary adjustments in order to limit these corner threes in the future, should they continue this pack-the-paint scheme on defense.
2. Jett Manuel’s hibernation is over.
After going MIA the past few games, Jett Manuel has finally contributed. He tallied 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. UP desperately needs his production as they need to have a consistent source of points aside from Paul Desiderio.
3. Where is JR Gallarza?
For the second consecutive game, team captain JR Gallarza sustained a DNP which does not make sense to me. Gallarza is the closest thing that UP can have as a 3D guy. He was a deadly marksman last season, draining 36.7% of his three-point attempts. On defense, he has proven before that he can go toe-to-toe with opponent’s best player. Also, he was the only UP player who had a positive net rating last season (+12.9). He may be off to a slow start this season, but this does not merit a DNP at all. The team needs him on the court, as his historical numbers suggest.
4. The beauty and madness of Henry Asilum’s free throw routine
When Kevin Ferrer decided to stop the shoulder shimmy in his trips to the foul line, Asilum’s “Down on Bended Knees” free throw routine (which reminds me of Jerry Stackhouse’s) ascended to the top of my favorite random things in UAAP. However, it would be way better if he will shoot better than the 55.6% clip he is registering this season.