Off the top of my head, there are two positive takeaways for UP in this 74-53 obliteration by the defending champions De La Salle Green Archers: 1) UP, at least, did not give us any dash of false hope that they’ll snatch the victory, and 2) perhaps more importantly, they scored way over 25 points (excuse me, Adamson).
Just when UP was about to display its fighting stance, the Green Archers did not give them even the slightest of chances to compete as they ruthlessly mounted a huge 17-0 attack in the middle of first quarter. Jeron Teng suddenly found his shooting touch. The same went with the renowned brick layer Almond Vosotros. Norbert Torres dominated the paint as if Mark Juruena was just a life-sized standee.
On the other hand, UP couldn’t buy a basket against the sturdy La Salle defense. It also did not help their cause that they committed seven turnovers (by my count) in the opening quarter. The second unit, which were inserted earlier than usual, provided little to no impact. The team’s defense is at best shoddy. They can’t locate their man. Most of La Salle’s entry passes were not denied which led to easy baskets in the paint. The game was pretty much decided at the end of the second quarter. The second half , where UP performed better and even outscored La Salle, was just a mere formality.
Reviewing the Keys of the Game
KEEP IT UP FOR FORTY MINUTES
They did keep up for, at most, the first four minutes of the game. The rest was brutal, unfathomable and forgettable history. There is nothing more to explain in this matter.
GET A FAIR SHARE OF REBOUNDS
It’s a miracle. The worst offensive rebounding team grabbed a higher percentage of the boards in their matchup. But that’s because UP had a plethora of missed shots, converting only 23.8 percent of their field goal attempts (19-of-80) while La Salle striked a decent conversion rate at 45.9 percent (25-of-61). Also, La Salle’s great rebounders (Jason Perkins, Torres, and Teng) did not get their usual playing time because they did not have to, which meant less tougher opposition for UP in grabbing those boards. Special credit goes to JR Gallarza (with rebounding splits of 7/14/10), who showed tremendous relentlessness and hustle in all his team-high 32 minutes despite the huge and insurmountable deficit.
LEAVE THEM SOME SPACE OUTSIDE
La Salle, which averages close to 19 3-point attempts per game (second highest in the league) prior to this contest, took only nine from downtown against UP. This may be attributed to UP’s interior defense (or the lack of) which enticed La Salle to just take the action inside. Vosotros, who is a notorious three-point chucker (7.2 3-point attempts per game prior to this game), was not that trigger-happy this time (3-of-4 from 3-point area) and decided to facilitate La Salle”s offense instead (35 percent assist rate).
Game Notes and Other Observations
1.In a number of occasions, Kyles Lao posted up against his small La Salle defenders (Vosotros and Kib Montalbo) mostly from the right elbow but it produced none aside from a three-point play. Maybe Lao was thinking he could outpower his fellow little guys. Sadly, that did not happen.
2. Agustini Amar will shoot if he has the ball. In seven UP possessions (by my own count again) where he held the ball, he attempted six shots. As much as I raved about his skills and his size, I do fear that UP becomes very predictable on offense whenever he’s on the court.
3. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first UP game where Bong Hawkins sat on the UP bench. He was always there in the first row of spectators during the previous games. Could this be a sign of more responsibility (on the UP MBT) for him?
4. Can someone explain to me why Gallarza is removing his headband in the middle of the game? I think he should stop doing that as the combination of his grade school hair and headband is one of the more appealing things we can see from UP this season.
After six games into the season, UP are still winless which is not that surprising to most people. They’ll cap off the first round with a huge showdown against fellow winless Adamson Falcons. Without a doubt, that is a must-win game. Or else, they could be halfway to breaking the supposedly triennial 0-14 win-loss record.
Featured image courtesy of Mark Cristino, PinoyExchange.com