DLSU Green Archers

My La Salle versus Ateneo preview for www.rektikano.net

Preview: De La Salle Green Archers versus Ateneo Blue Eagles

Can a “Rivalry Game” victory turn the season around for the Archers?

As if this game needs any more hype.

The De La Salle Green Archers take on archrivals Ateneo Blue Eagles to close out the 1st round of the UAAP Season 78. The Archers are in the middle of the pack with an even 3-3 record, while Ateneo is in 3rd place with a 4-2 record.

After gaining some momentum with back-to-back victories over Adamson and UE, La Salle were rudely brought down to earth thanks to a 77-61 drubbing by the UST Growling Tigers. That game highlighted several persistent weaknesses of the Archers, flaws that they also displayed in earlier games. If the Archers want to turn this season around, they need to correct those mistakes and show significant improvements in all aspects of their game starting this Sunday. Here are the keys of the game for this rivalry game:

Jeron Teng should step up as a leader

Stats wise, Jeron Teng is having a good season once again. He is averaging 17.3ppg and 7.3rpg so far this season. His best game was against FEU when he exploded for 29 points; unfortunately this was a blowout loss for us. In the other games we lost, Jeron had subpar performances, at least for his high standards. He was either too aggressive, or was strangely passive during the losses to UP and UST, when some La Salle fans expected him to take over during those games.

If we want to beat Ateneo this Sunday, Jeron will have to strike the right balance between trying to take over the game and geting his teammates involved. IfJeron decides to play hero ball, Ateneo can just go with a “Stop Jeron and Stop La Salle” mentality, and that would be a disaster if that strategy does work.

Thomas Torres should play as a solid senior starting point guard, and not be the turnover machine that he is so far this season.. He is averaging just 7.2ppg and 2.0 apg this season in 23.4 mpg. Some might say that his scoring is decent for a point guard, but those assists numbers are way too low, considering the number of minutes per game he plays. And his shooting has been horrible so far, 25% from the field, and just 20% from the three-point line. With his accuracy so far, he’d better give the ball to a more capable shooter.To be effective, Torres will have to limit his turnovers and be less trigger. A lot of people consider the point guard position as the most important position in basketball, as was proven when we had LA Revilla, TY Tang and Cholo Villanueva as point guards. They made sure the ball got to the best person to take a shot, and when needed, they looked for their shot as well. But their focus was on effective ball movement, distribution, and finding the teammate in the best position to score. They ably quarterbacked their teams to championships with their decision-making. If Torres cannot emulate them, an early vacation is very possible.

Improve the shooting!

The Archers are just averaging 38.3% from the field, 20.8% from the three-point line and 62.3% from the line. Granted, those numbers are “average” compared to other UAAP teams, but if we want to contend this season, we need to shoot a lot better than that. The free throw shooting of the Archers has been infamous for the longest time. During the game against UST, we just shot a horrible 13/29 from the line for just 44.83%! Sunday’s game is sure to be pressure-packed in from of a overflowing crowd. Will the Archers, especially the rookies, be up to the pressure of 8,000 blue fans booing them when they are on the line while the 8,000 green fans are hoping for the best? The game just might be decided from the foul line so the Archers better be ready.

Closing Notes:

La Salle versus Ateneo is always a big game, regardless of the team standings. But this time, it would be crucial game records wise as well. A win by the Archers would tie us with Ateneo for 4-3 but a loss would drop us to 3-4. This just might be the real turning point of our season. A big win against our rivals might just give us the momentum we need, as we try to improve in the upcoming second round, and hopefully, a stronger second round would propel us to a long playoff run. Our team is down, but not out. They need us now more than ever. Let us continue to support our beloved La Salle no matter what.

ANIMO LA SALLE!

Green Archers Get Mauled by UST, Fall to 3-3.

What’s the best way to describe yesterday’s game? Horrible. Just, Plain. Horrible.

After leading by as many as 14 points during the second quarter, La Salle just collapsed when UST made a huge run to hand victory to the UST Growling Tigers 77-61.

Things looked very promising, as La Salle started strong during the first quarter. Rookie Joshua Torralba opened our scoring with two three pointers, and Jeron Teng also had a solid 1st quarter, as he scored 6 points. The first quarter ended with DLSU leading 18-12, and DLSU remained in control for the majority of the second quarter. An “And 1 play” from Prince Rivero and a triple from Andrei Caracut pushed the Archers lead to double-digits during the second quarter. DLSU even posted a 31-19 lead during the latter part of the second quarter. Then, UST started a huge rally that to close the second quarter, which ended with DLSU holding on a slim 33-31 lead.

The third quarter started with the teams exchanging leads. Then UST made a “back breaking” run that DLSU never recovered from. UST waxed hot from downtown, while DLSU just couldn’t buy a basket, from the field and from the line as well. The third quarter ended with a 60-46 lead for UST. UST’s lead ballooned to 70-51 during earlier parts of the final quarter, as La Salle’s defense, especially from the perimeter was basically non-existent, while the offense of the Archers was in disarray as well. La Salle cut the lead to a manageable 13 points during the mid part of the fourth quarter, but UST simply kept pace to close out the game.

What went wrong? A LOT! Here are some of the problems of the Archers during this game.

Free Throws

La Salle shot a horrible 13/29 from the line! There is no excuse for this kind of free throw shooting. Maybe, expecting an 80% clip from the line is a bit too much, but 70% from the line should be decent enough, especially for a team with Final Four aspirations. And when you have one of the greatest shooters in the history of Philippine basketball in Allan Caidic as your shooting coach, and you shoot this horrible from the line, there is simply no excuse for it. Maybe it is time to hire DLSU legend Ren Ren Ritualo as an additional shooting coach.

Perimeter defense

UST shot 11/24 from the three-point line during this game. They were getting wide-open shots, as our defensive rotation was very slow. It seemed that our players didn’t seem to know to guard!

Poor Coaching Adjustment

How come no time out was called during the UST run? This was eerily similar to the 20-0 run of the game versus FEU. And we only started to press when it was too late during the fourth quarter. Something has to give. Adjustments should be made, Coach Juno Sauler should find the magic, or whatever that was, that pushed DLSU to a magical 2013 season, when La Salle started 3-4 but won 11 out of its last 12 games to win it all.

Closing Notes:

We are now down to 3-3. The good news, if you can call it that, is that some of the teams that are vying for a final four berth has two or three losses, meaning the other teams ahead of us are not that far behind. We are now headed to a huge showdown against rivals Ateneo this Sunday. That game is always big, regardless of the records, but this time, it will be a very crucial game standing wise as well. If we win, we tie them at 4-3 to end the round.

To say that Sunday’s game is a must win is an understatement. Jeron Teng should live up to his role as the leader of the team. Thomas Torres should play as a dependable senior starting point guard, not the fumbling neophyte he appears to be today. Jason Perkins and Prince Rivero are two guys expected to do a lot this season but who have been quiet so far, should step up as well. It should be a total team effort for the Archers, from all the players and to the coaching staff and management as well. Our team is down but we are not out. They need us now more than ever. Let us continue to support them no matter what.

ANIMO LA SALLE!

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