WIN OR GO HOME!
La Salle fights for survival as it takes on the FEU Tamaraws in the official start of their Final Four series. FEU grabbed the twice-to-beat advantage with a 65-60 win over the Archers last Sunday in a playoff game. Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo led the way for the Tamaraws. Tolomia scored 19 points and grabbed 8 rebounds while Belo contributed 15 markers and 10 boards. Jason Perkins and Almond Vosotros were the only Archers who scored in double-digits during their last game. Perkins scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Vosotros was in “Vosotres” mode, scoring 13 points thanks to 4 triples.
The talk of the entire community were the subpar performances of the Archers who were involved in “extra-curricular” activities the night before the big game. King Archer Jeron Teng struggled with just 8 points on 2/11 shooting and 5 turnovers, while Arnold Van Opstal just scored 7 points and committed 7 turnovers. FEU has defeated DLSU in all of their 3 meetings so far this season. If La Salle can’t solve the FEU puzzle, then we can kiss our back-to-back dreams goodbye.
Keys to the Game:
Play for 40 minutes
FEU was in control for most of the playoff game. FEU’s lead ballooned to double digits during the second quarter and during the third quarter before the Almond Vosotros shooting spree made it a close ballgame. It is very hard to play catch up against a talented and well-coached team such as FEU so DLSU needs to be aggressive from the very start. The Archers needs to play with a sense of urgency because “flipping on the switch” just won’t cut it.
Coach Juno Sauler has used the triple tower combo of Jason Perkins, Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres quite often this season. Obviously, it is a very tall and talented lineup. Others though are not that comfortable with that lineup. Some say it is not fast enough, others say there is not enough outside shooting if Perkins can’t hit his jump shots. DLSU needs all three of them to have good games this Saturday. Only Perkins had a good game the last time around. Norbert Torres chipped in 8 points and grabbed 9 rebounds but he shot only 2/8 from the field. And we all know what happened with AVO. The loaded frontcourt of DLSU is one the reasons, some would say even the main reason, why DLSU was the heavy favorite coming into the season. The DLSU big men need to make better decisions when FEU tries to clog the lanes. AVO himself said in an interview that they need to play smarter. Our hopes for survival just might depend on the decision-making of our big guys.
Jeron Teng bounce-back game
I don’t think Jeron would have back-to-back bad games this late in the season. And for our sake, let’s sure hope he can bounce back and bounce back quick. Jeron was hospitalized because of mild dengue a few days before the game; then there was the infamous fashion show. There will always be distractions when you are a high profile celebrity. It is how you rise above it that will define who you are. Jeron had a big game against FEU during the second round when he exploded for 28 points. Hopefully, he can have an encore of that performance in this do-or-die game.
Looking at the statistics from the last game, both teams were evenly matched. DLSU had 20 turnovers compared to the 18 of FEU. The Tamaraws had 13 assists compared to the 12 of DLSU. Both teams shot pretty well from the three-point line, 29% for La Salle while 28% from FEU. La Salle actually shot well from the line, 11/15 for 73.3% while FEU only shot 9/17 for just a shade under 53%. DLSU even outrebounded FEU 48-39. But it was FEU who controlled the tempo for most of the game, forcing DLSU to play catch up. And down the stretch, it was FEU who executed better. The exchange of turnovers from Teng and AVO during crunch time was painful to watch for all Lasallians. It was the lack of focus and poor execution that caused us the game.
If someone told me before the start of the season that DLSU would not have the twice-to-beat advantage going into the Final Four, I would have laughed at that person. But this is the reality that is facing us right now. We are one loss away from elimination. In order to make it to the Finals, we need to win two in a row against a team that we have not defeated yet this season.
We are a high profile team in a high profile league. There will always be controversies and distractions. The Archers just need to rise above it. And that is the NAKED TRUTH!