Greenstincts: Archers mean business

During the past days or so, various Philippine corporations have been reporting the results of their businesses for the first half of 2014. Usually disclosed to government regulators first then to their various stakeholders. One important metric is their year-to-date (YTD) performance, comparing last year’s revenues and net income (profits or losses) to gauge if the company did well or if operations need to be improved.

Think of the De La Salle Green Archers as our company, with our fellow Lasallians as the stakeholders and the team’s win-loss record for the past two seasons as our year-to-date metrics. From finishing the first round of Season 76 with a 3-4 card, the defending champions are certainly on the right direction after easily dispatching the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 74-53 and improve to a 4-2 record.

The first half easily belonged to Jeron Teng and the Green Archers. Pouring in 20 of his total 25 points from a variety of drives, putbacks and even a three-pointer, the Green Archer team captain single-handedly dictated the pace and intensity that his fellow Archers were able to match. The team converted a high 63% of their field goals while limiting their Diliman-based opponents to 23%.

Not playing against Adamson, the rest seem to work wonders for Norbert Torres. The Bear imposed his presence in the paint early and finished with six points, 13 rebounds and five assists.Two runs, one a 17-0 in the first quarter, the other a 20-4 in the second blew the game wide open, enabling La Salle to lead 50-24 at halftime. The Fighting Maroons were visibly less focused and lack pop in their shots as they were missing their head coach Rey Madrid due to suspension.

DLSU was actually on pace to score in triple digits but coach Juno Sauler, for the second straight game, opted to utilize his bench, give his shock troopers actual game experience and extend the rotation.

Bullish stat of the game
After struggling with the three-point shot for much of the season, the Green Archers attempted less threes in this game (9). With nine out of their 10 attempts shot inside the rainbow territory, La Salle simply enforced its will and played to its strength in the paint against a smaller UP team.

Out of the nine attempts, Almond Vosotros, our resident marksman shook out from his solo shooting slump to make 3 out of four and finish with 15 points, along with six rebounds and five assists. The 5th year guard was on a 1 for 19 slump from three-point land during the past three games. It was nice to see the Vosotros of old just in time for the team’s crucial matchup next game.

Bearish stat of the game
Just about the only glaring wrinkle from La Salle’s shirt was the 21 turnovers, especially if they are the unforced type. The Fighting Maroons hardly used a half-court or full-court press against DLSU, instead numerous three-second, travelling and dribbling violations hurt the Green Archers, mostly during the second half.

Rookie Prince Rivero committed a third of the errors with seven, but still had a solid outing with six points and five rebounds.

Keep an eye on
Not to panic but I am beginning to worry about Jason Perkins. The Season 76 Mythical Five member has an inconsistent season so far with three of his last four game being subpar performances. The Hefty Lefty started the season strong against FEU and Ateneo, averaging 18 points and 10.5 rebounds. Save for his 14 and 7 against NU, Perkins is averaging 3.3 points and 6 rebounds against UE, Adamson and UP.

You’d figure that with Arnold Van Opstal missing the last two games due to an achilles injury, Perkins would increase his production. It was good that his fellow big men Abu Tratter and Yutien Andrada combined to contribute eight points in limited minutes.

The first 20 minutes of play showed how potent La Salle can be if they shift to a high gear and everything goes right. Compared to the game against the Soaring Falcons, La Salle did not play down to their opponent’s level and was all business from the get go.

The second half was evident that despite riding high on a four-game winning streak, there are still work to be done and the best that this Green Archer team can be has yet to be seen.

Despite leading by 20 in the final period, La Salle took more than four minutes before it scored its first points courtesy of an Almond Vosotros 3-pointer. Although the final score would not reflect it, UP played with more fight and intensity than DLSU, outscoring their Taft-based counterparts 29-24 in the last two quarters.

After two blowout wins against Adamson (+19) and UP (+21), La Salle closes its first round campaign against UST Growling Tigers, a Season 76 finals rematch that promises to be a litmus test of the defending champions. I do hope that La Salle continues its all business approach to the game, only this time for solid 40 minutes.