[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.

2013 FIBA ASIA Championship Semi Finals – Philippines vs Korea

After dispatching Kazakhsatan with the resurgence of Gary David, The Philippines takes on Korea for an outright birth to the finals and the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

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Another Good Start

The players showed a very promising start against the Kazakhs which eventually dictated the pace of the entire ballgame.  They need to repeat this performance against the taller and more agile players from K-Pop country. Controlling the paint will be key in deciding this semifinal matchup.

The Opponent

South Korea is a well-oiled machine as the team runs through their plays efficiently and always find the best shot in a possession. Star of the team is Sung-min Cho (#10 G/F) who’s an inside-outside threat together with Ho-Young Yun (#9 F) Seung-Jun  Lee (#14 F/C) form a triple-threat. Manning the middle are the tag team combination Joo-Sung Kim and (#11 F/C) Jong-Kyu Kim (#12 F/C) tall lanky guys with great jumping ability.   Korea has a good rotation of guards that can come in and contribute right away. Because of their efficiency and sound basketball fundamentals, anyone in the team can inflict damage to the opponent.

Defense

The Nationals should carry over their good defensive performance.  Gilas should quickly adjust to the pace of the Korean Pick & Roll + Motion offense.  If they figure out the switching of Korea, there is a big chance that they can win convincingly. It is critical for Aguilar and Douthit to limit their personal fouls against the Koreans.

Offense

Everything clicked for us against Kazakhstan outside. Timely 3 point bombs from David, William, and Norwood took the Kazakhs by surprise.  The performance should certainly work to our advantage and will give our bigs the chance to carve the paint. A good balance of inside/outside will bring us to the finals.

Winning Time

Playing against a tough opponent is not that bad when you’re at home.  Expect the crowd to really be a factor in today’s matchup.  With the momentum on our side and the sense of urgency on the players, I am expecting a victory tonight which will exorcise the demons of the past.

2013 FIBA ASIA Championship Quarter Finals – Philippines vs Kazakhstan

Gilas Pilipinas will be at the crossroads of history tonight as it faces Kazakhstan in a bid for a seat in the tournament semifinals.

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A Good Start

The Philippine team has played its biggest games when starting out strong.  Wins against Japan and Qatar were fueled by strong starts.  Tough games against KSA, Taipei, HK were all flat ones. We are the best 3rd quarter team in this tournament but a good start in every game next level.

The Opponent
Kazakhstan in my opinion has decent outside shooters and the most agile bigs in this tournament. Mikhail Yevstigneyev #7 is a bigger Noli Locsin  with solid post moves and enjoys the physicality of the game (I would have compared him to Beau Belga but he really doesn’t have the outside shooting). Against China, they employed the drop pass pretty well having Jeremy Johnson as the bait. Though Johnson is rumored to be injured, it will only slow him down.

Defense

Stopping Johnson is key as they do not have better point options on the bench to distribute the ball well.  Kazakhstan is a really good rebounding team even if they are against taller opponents. Japeth Aguilar and JunMar Fajardo should work harder in defense as Marcus Douthit is slowed down by a painful shin injury.   The Philippine team has played its best defense in 2 of their convincing wins and it they should do so against this Kazakh team. Defense wins … Championships.

Outside Shooting

Expect the Kazakhs to clamp down on Jeff Chan tonight.  LA Tenorio and Jimmy Alapag should break out of their mini-slump for us to have a better chance.  Jayson Castro William, the hero of the pre-tournament encounter, will be checked pretty well as the other teams have figured that he doesn’t have a consistent outside shot. Gary David needs a big game tonight in order to stretch the defense some more.  A big shooting night will disrupt all scouting reports when Gilas progress in the tournament

Final word

It has been proven that anyone can win this tournament. Rankings do not matter and is just a number.   Gilas should know this as HK beat them to the pulp in the first two quarters of the last game.  A good start, great defense, and consistent outside shooting will bring us to the semis. As Bob Guerrero pointed in his tweet:  There are only 3 cheers u need to learn when supporting Gilas in #fibaasia2013 : “Laban Pilipinas”, “De-fense” and “GA-RY! GA-RY!”

PS. Wear White and Cheer (and Jeer) like there’s no tomorrow