Preview: DLSU Green Archers vs FEU Tamaraws: Can the Archers finally beat a top contender?
Going into tomorrow’s game against powerhouse FEU, some nagging questions persist. Are the Archers contenders to the throne? Or just chance passengers at the Final Four bus at most? This game might just answer those questions.
The De La Salle Green Archers take on the league-leading FEU Tamaraws this Sunday, 4pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. In their first round encounter, FEU dominated La Salle, 93-75, exploding for a backbreaking 20-0 run to end the third quarter. That run completely demoralized the Green Archers and the entire La Salle crowd, effectively reducing the rest of the game to garbage time. The stars of FEU rose to the occasion that afternoon, as Mike Tolomia scored 20 points while Mac Belo added 17 points. Jeron Teng scored 29 points during that game, but did not get enough help from his teammates.
Keys to the Game:
Share the ball!
The Archers only managed 7 assists last Wednesday in their last game against the Warriors. Fortunately, DLSU was able to beat UE despite the very low assists numbers, but it would be very hard to beat a veteran team like FEU if we just rely on isolation plays and individualistic efforts, no matter how heroic they may look. Primary ball distributor Thomas Torres only issued one assist during that win against UE. How can we go far this season if our starting point guard looks more to shoot than to look for an open teammate to pass to? Thomas should act more like a facilitator and not be a trigger-happy shoot first type of point(s) guard, otherwise the coaches might give more of his minutes to Navarro, who has shown signs of being a true point guard. There had been games this season where Jeron Teng showed his willingness to share the ball to his teammates so an all-round game from Jeron, where can score his points but gets his fellow Archers involved is preferable to a big hero-ball high-scoring game from Jeron.
Play for 40 minutes
The Archers has been “consistent in being inconsistent” so far this season. La Salle has blown huge leads and allowed huge runs a lot of times this season. There was the 20-0 third quarter run of FEU during the first round. DLSU blew a double-digit lead against UST, not once, but twice. If La Salle wants to beat a contender, then the team should play like contenders, all game long. FEU is considered as a potent offensive squad and they can explode any time. Consistency is the key and La Salle needs to execute their plays, and not just rely on isolations or settle for outside shots, and be focused on defense if the Archers want to beat the Tamaraws.
A big offensive game from Jason Perkins
Jason Perkins has been doing a fine job rebounding the ball during the second round. He grabbed 10 rebounds against UST, and he had 13 rebounds against UE. However, his offense has been silent so far this second round. He only scored 6 points against UST, all during the first quarter. And he scored only 7 points against UE. During the first round game against FEU, he only scored 5 points. Perkins can shoot from the outside, which would stretch the defense of FEU, and he can score from the post as well, which can put some FEU big guys in foul trouble. If Perkins can fish some fouls down low, especially against Mac Belo, it would make things easier for the Archers. La Salle needs the Jason Perkins who waxed hot against Ateneo during the last game of the first round. If that Jason Perkins shows up this Sunday, then La Salle just might pull a much-needed victory.
More playing time for Julian Sargent
Julian Sargent has been playing well so far in limited minutes. He might not be producing mind-boggling numbers, but he is giving quality minutes for the Archers and he has been bringing the intangibles needed to win a basketball game. Sargent is a good defender, and his defense just might be needed to put the cuffs on Mike Tolomia, Roger Pogoy and even Mac Belo.
There were times during this season when FEU would play lazy. It was evident during their games against UP and even the first round game against Adamson. They would just coast during the first three quarters, then “flip the switch” during the fourth quarter. But they won’t be lazy this Sunday, as they usually play to their full potential against the so-called bigger teams. Expect FEU to bring their A-game this Sunday, and La Salle should do the same. The very slim chance of La Salle grabbing a twice-to-beat advantage is on the line this Sunday and if DLSU loses, then the Archers can kiss the twice-to-beat advantage goodbye. This is the chance of the Archers to prove that they are contenders, and not just mere pretenders to the crown. A big win against a top seed team might just be what the Archers need to truly turn the season around.