Archers Looking to Regain Winning Form Against Soaring Falcons

DLSU will try to bounce back after its heartbreaking loss to FEU as the Green Archers take on the winless Adamson Soaring Falcons.  La Salle’s 7-game win streak was snapped last Wednesday in a 74-70 loss to FEU.  Now, the Green Archers will try to not just to start a new winning streak but to gain momentum as well as the elimination round nears its conclusion.  The Final Four cast is getting clearer and clearer with each passing day, however, the much-coveted twice-to-beat advantage is still very much up for grabs so La Salle can’t afford to slip once again.  During the first round encounter, La Salle dominated Adamson with a score of 67-48.  Kib Montalbo had a career game, scoring 18 points by hitting several mid-range jump shots while Prince Rivero led the bench mob of DLSU by contributing 12 markers.  La Salle should not underestimate Adamson, as the Falcons showed flashes of brilliance during their near wins against UST and their relatively close games against FEU and UE.

Keys to the Game:

Play for 40 Minutes
During their first round encounter, La Salle needed a huge late third quarter run to pull away over Adamson.  DLSU also needed a third quarter run to pull away against UP during their second round game.  And of course, the Archers blew huge double-digit leads during both games against FEU and the game against Ateneo in the first round.  The defending champions needs to be more consistent during the last few games of the elimination round as we don’t want to carry bad habits when we reach the Final Four.  La Salle needs to control this game from the get-go, similar to the DLSU-UP game during the first round.  Adamson has improved a lot during their last few games so La Salle should not give the Falcons any confidence that they can hang on against us.  The starters should bring the energy, the ANIMO from the very start and the bench mob should do the same when they get their time to play.

During the FEU game, La Salle had 19 turnovers compared to only 9 for FEU.  It is hard to win games when you have 10 more turnovers than your opponents.  Yes, we did win against UE despite having 36 turnovers but we can’t afford to be careless with the basketball and hope to just flip on the switch to win in every game.  There were too many sloppy and soft passes against FEU last Wednesday and La Salle needs to make crisper passes and be more focus this Sunday against Adamson.  ADU is already eliminated and they have nothing to lose so we can’t afford to give them second chance opportunities to boost their confidence.  Which brings us to the next key of the game.

Points Off Turnovers
During their first round game, La Salle converted 23 points out of the 22 turnovers by Adamson, while the Falcons only had 7 points off the 18 turnovers of DLSU.  La Salle should once again take advantage of this young Falcons team this Sunday in this department.  Perhaps a variation of a press or a half court trap can be used by the Archers to make life miserable for the ball handlers of Adamson.

La Salle out-rebounded Adamson 46-39 during their last encounter.  However, I believe DLSU can out-rebound ADU with a much bigger margin.  Arnold Van Opstal was quiet during the game against FEU, as he only grabbed 2 rebounds.  Hopefully, AVO can find his groove during this game and give us a strong rebounding performance.  Expect Jeron Teng, Jason Perkins and Norbert Torres to have strong rebounding games against the rookie big guys of Adamson, the stocky Ivan Villanueva and 6’7 Matthew Aquino.

Second Chance Points
La Salle had more offensive rebounds against Adamson during their previous encounter, 16-10.  However, La Salle failed to capitalize on this, making just 2 points out of second chance opportunities.  If La Salle wants to control this game from start to finish, DLSU needs to dominate the offensive rebounding department and make the most out of it to take the fight out of the Falcons.

Free Throws
What a throwback moment!  I actually thought the days of free throws as a key to the game for DLSU is over, thanks to the strong free throw shooting of the team, especially Jeron Teng, during the last several games.  La Salle only shot 15/24 from the line during the last game against FEU. Again, just like what Coach Juno Sauler always emphasizes, it is about improving from game to game.  We can’t afford to bring back our previous bad habits as we try to move forward as the season is nearing its climax.  Let us all hope that our free throw shooting performance against FEU is just a bump on the road as we try to be a good free throw shooting team as the tournament progresses.

Team Effort
Jeron Teng exploded for 28 points against FEU but we still lost because he did not get enough help.  Norbert Torres chipped in 13 points but he was the only one outside of Jeron to score in double-figures the last time out.  During the first round game against Adamson, Jeron and Jason Perkins actually played limited minutes and only scored 2 points a piece as the other players stepped up to the plate.  Hopefully, we can have a more balance approach against Adamson.  Expect guys like Almond Vosotros and Jason Perkins to bounce back and for AVO to lead the bench mob of the Archers for this game.

Closing Notes
Our fate is still in our hands.  We can still get the twice-to-beat advantage.  As of this writing, there is a triple tie for second place at 7-3 and we are just a game behind FEU for first place with still a couple of games to go.  A strong showing against Adamson to gain momentum is needed because after that, we go up against the teams that are fighting for Final Four positioning as the elimination round is nearing its thrilling conclusion.