At the end of the elimination stages, FEU, DLSU and NU are tied at 10-4 on top of the standings and NU moves on to the number one spot by the quotient rule. The Green Archers and the Tamaraws now have to battle it out in a playoff game to get the second spot and twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. This makes it a virtual best-of-3 series with the winner advancing to the Finals. The series is sure to be an intense battle between to two teams unwilling to admit defeat.

DLSU 2nd round turnaround

4th quarters
DLSU 4th quarters 2FG 2FG% FT FT% Turnovers
1st round 37/90 41.11% 19/30 63.33% 4.1
2nd round 35/77 45.45% 33/51 64.71% 2.6

DLSU was 3-4 at the end of the first round. Then they came out of the break with guns blazing sweeping the 2nd round 7-0. What changed? Well a lot of their losses came from meltdowns and close games, so it was a very deceptive 3-4 record in the first round. Even though they lost four times, most of those games could’ve gone either way. One key to their unblemished 2nd round record was the improvement in 4th quarters.

Jeron Teng. (Photo Credit: http://www.pba-online.net/uploads/photo/jeron-teng-092712.jpg)

Jeron Teng. (Photo Credit: http://www.pba-online.net/uploads/photo/jeron-teng-092712.jpg)

DLSU was able to dramatically shoot better from 2-pointers which really helped their offense. They were also able to get to the line 21 more times than in the first round. Even though their FT% increase was minimal, the increase in attempts really helped them out. The Archers are a below-average team in FT shooting but it almost never pays off to send players to the line (Better to shoot FTs at 64.71% than take a two-point shot shooting 45.45%). Another impressive thing is that they’ve cut a lot of their turnovers in the 4th quarter. Here’s a shocking stat: in the entire 4th quarters and overtimes of the entire second round, Jeron Teng only had 1 turnover, amazing.

Player performances

Teng key statsJeron Teng has been key for the second round turnaround of DLSU. Two of the most important improvements are his decrease in turnovers and his better FT shooting. Teng is actually shooting 66.67% in fourth quarters in the 2nd round. In the last 3 games, he has shot an impressive 11/12 FT shooting in under 2 mins in fourth quarters/OTs.

Perkins key statsPerkins has absolutely been a beast in the 2nd round. He actually was already a beast in the first round averaging 10.7 ppg (48.30% FG) and 8.7 rpg but he played even better in the 2nd with 14.7 ppg (56.7% FG). All I can say is this man’s a monster. Perkins is a big that can rebound the ball and shoot well from the perimeter, unbelievably amazing.

AVO key statsOne shocking thing for me is AVO’s 2nd round struggles. I was actually expecting AVO to continue his amazing 1st round performance. I’m not sure if it’s confidence, fatigue or injuries but all his numbers have dropped. If you’re an FEU fan, you probably are hoping that this trend carries over to the playoff game.

FEU and DLSU matchup

DLSU in my opinion is the worst matchup for the Tamaraws. Two of my main reasons for that opinion: DLSU’s bigs and explosive wing superstar.

The Tamaraws got pummelled by the DLSU bigs in the post in their 2nd round meeting. They were also outrebounded by a monstrous 59-36 rebounding deficit in that affair. FEU was a pretty below average rebounding team in the first round (they actually got better in the 2nd round). FEU is also 7th  in 2nd chance points and 6th in points in the paint. It probably won’t help in those areas that they’re facing the DLSU frontcourt of Torres, AVO and Perkins.

Jeron Teng vs FEUThe bad news for FEU fans is that Teng actually plays best vs. FEU. In the past two matchups, Teng is usually covered by Pogoy and Mendoza. This is a mismatch as Teng can use his superior quickness to beat Pogoy and Mendoza off the dribble. Other times, he’s covered by Romeo or Tolomia, Teng can use his size and strength to back down these defenders and take advantage of the mismatch.

Actually, FEU does have an athletic wing defender that can keep Teng in check, Mac Belo. Belo plays the best defense vs. Teng and you can see he seldom attacks when Belo is placed on him. The problem is that Belo has to play PF and guard Perkins because of the lack of frontcourt depth for the Tamaraws. Here’s where you miss a guy like Russell Escoto (out for season- ACL injury). If Escoto was healthy, he could play at PF while Belo can guard Teng at the SF spot. Belo is really athletic, quick and has the size and strength to bother Teng. He also plays very physical and can make things very difficult for Jeron. Most likely Belo will be tasked to guard Perkins. The coaching staff has to address the problem that is Jeron Teng.

The good news
Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia. (Photo Credit: George Calvelo, NPPA Images)

Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia. (Photo Credit: George Calvelo, NPPA Images)

FEU’s backcourt is the Tamaraws’ main strength. The good news here is that the Tamaraw backcourt can exploit the size mismatch against the Archers. DLSU has one of the smallest guard rotations in the league with Vosotros, Torres, Revilla and Montalbo. With guards like Garcia and Romeo that are excellent post players, FEU can go to them everytime on offense. Terrence Romeo is also just on another level offensively. Even with the defensive ability of Torres and Revilla, Romeo has shown in the past two meetings that he can consistently break them off the dribble and use his dribble skills to penetrate the interior.

Anthony Hargrove blocking AVO. (Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News)

Anthony Hargrove blocking AVO. (Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News)

Even though the FEU frontcourt is not that polished offensively, they are pretty solid defensively. DLSU’s strength lies in their bigs but I think the FEU frontcourt can limit them enough to have a chance to win. Belo is a pretty solid defender and will be physical with Perkins. I really think Belo is an underrated defender. I can also see Hargrove and Sentcheu keeping AVO and Torres in check if they lock down on defense.

Keys to the game

Stop the two Js

FEU has got to stop Jeron Teng and Jason Perkins. It’s a tall task and both of them are beasts. The coaching staff has to prepare a good game plan to limit these players.

Rebounds

A critical aspect in this game (and for the series) is the Tamaraws’ ability to rebound the ball. They have to keep the rebounding battle close to be able to have a chance of winning.

The Threes Musketeers

The three point shooting of FEU has to be on point to be able to win against DLSU. The long ball is one of their main offensive weapons and has got to fall down for them to get the victory.

X-factor

Nash Racela and Juno Sauler. (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano)

Nash Racela and Juno Sauler. (Photo Credit: Jerome Ascano, Spin.ph)

Coaching in basketball is very important and I think has been overlooked as a key contributor in winning basketball games. Throughout the season I’ve quickly been a fan of both coaches: Nash Racela and Juno Sauler. Both are rookie UAAP coaches but both with high basketball IQ and coaching ability. In the end, I think its going to be about which team has the better gameplan and who can execute.