[UAAP Season 78] DLSU Green Archers: If they can believe, they can achieve

The stone is set. It has to come down to this. The DLSU Green Archers have one chance to extend this season and it will be against the heavy favorites FEU Tamaraws.

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In the eyes of any casual basketball observer, it was over before it started.

The loss of Ben Mbala and Arnold Van Opstal spelled doom for the green and white squad. Without a legitimate game-changing center, the Archers wouldn’t stand a chance.

Technically, its true. In Basketball, height is always might. No exceptions. With all the other UAAP teams parading a foreign 5, it will be doubtly hard for the undersized squad to contend.

It was quite obvious in the elimination round as the Archers would keep up with the tall teams up until the third period but would eventually be stifled by a rigid zone defense.  The come from behind win by Adamson was the perfect example of this, as Papi Sarr dominated in the end.

In whatever basketball continent you look a dominating center is vital in every campaign. Whether its in Spain with the Gasols or with Drummond and Howard for the US. But this is college basketball and anything can happen.

Looking at the Archers opponents in the final elemination game, the FEU Tamaraws, the task seems to be quite daunting. In the first round, the Tams were matched by the Archers in the first half but the Morayta-based squad shot the lights out in the second half to get the easy win.

It will be hard but if the Archers play their cards right, its a ball game as far as I’m concerned.

FEU has been solely a Mike Tolomia team and everything else seems complimentary at this point. but don’t get me wrong here, they’re really good individually. If there’s one thing odd about FEU’s campaign this year is the unusual snub of Mac Belo on the offense.  Something the Archers can take advantage of.

The NU Bulldogs just fought tooth-and-nail against the Tamaraws to secure their playoff spot for the final four. The SM-backed squad never gave up defensively and offensively for 39 minutes to hack out a win with superb execution in the final minute.

The Archers could learn a great deal from this. They have to understand that they could not give up in any circumstance.  NU didn’t give up which won them the game.  La Salle should to the same until the final whistle. The Tamaraws will make their shots, do spectacular plays. But the Archers should keep up, spectacular or not.

 

In all of the won games for La Salle, Perkins has been the constant presence althroughout. Jeron Teng will get his points, Prince Rivero will get his from broken plays, but the missing link has always been Perkins.

If La Salle focuses on the hefty lefty, it will change the game.  Coming into the season, Perkins was sculpted for a smaller position but circumstances have forced him to be a stretch five.

Yes, a five. He’s been forced to play center (mostly in defense) in almost all crucial situations and that has to stop. The coaching staff must find a way to streamline his excessive defensive duties for him to matter offensively which La Salle urgently needs.

Giving Tratter more minutes would definitely help this cause. It is very hard from a coach’s perspective, but La Salle has no choice but to roll the dice at this point.

Execution has been the bane of DLSU this season and from the way I look at it, all boils down to self belief.  The players this season have had decorated high school careers and all that experience should be enough to make a difference.

The bench in Carracut, Navarro, Tratter, and Larry Muyang should step up to undo this below-par season.  They have the skills but its up to them to deliver. Self-belief is the key.

By now the coaching staff is already working on cutting down the rotation and focusing on the standard and situational plays.  Now its time for the players to adapt and deliver.

La Salle has come in this season under-powered but not unbowed. If they were gonna make history, they should do it one game at a time.

 

If they can believe, they can achieve.

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