Honestly, yes, this is the game that I am waiting to happen this season. More than the fact that both teams wanted to get back on the winning track (in this tough, competitive season), I just want to get back on FEU because personally, I felt that they had the Green Archers’ number last season. I just want to show that this year, it will be the other way around.
That loss to UP last Wednesday still stings and beating FEU on Sunday will definitely help out a lot for me to forget about it. I was originally planning that beating UP will be a good springboard going into the FEU game but I guess the defeat to the Fighting Maroons should be a more explosive springboard as the team should be more hungry to get their second win this season.
Back in that upset-filled Wednesday, FEU also fell to UST. My biggest takeaway from that game? Mike Tolomia was just out of sync and that helped out a lot on UST’s cause. UST took away Mike’s rhythm on setting up the table for FEU’s offense. Tolomia finished the game taking only a total of 6 attempts, which I have not seen for a while for a player of his stature and caliber. What’s worse is that Tolomia coupled those lack of shot attempts with his 10 total turnovers in the game.
It was also big that Pogoy did not wax hot the whole game against UST compared to FEU’s opening day demolition of Ateneo. Pogoy, in two games, has just become trigger-happy from deep. Last Wednesday, he took 9 attempts from the trifecta region, taking only four attempts inside. This article will not be complete without mentioning Mac Belo. So far, he is FEU’s constant force and I think he is just very ripe for the pros already.
Belo’s points just come from anywhere on the court. He may not be your flashy star player but he does things within his control. He positions himself well, moves off the ball very well to set himself up in good spaces on the court to make his move or take a perimeter jumper. Primarily I think the key would be always knowing where he is on the court since he can hurt you in so many ways like what Arwind Santos used to do back in his UAAP playing years.
My personal defensive philosophy always is to disrupt the guards and make it not easy for them to set up the table on the offensive end. For the game on Sunday, I am also counting Belo on this one aside from Tolomia and Inigo since Belo is also being tasked to bring down the ball at times as a press release if Tolomia, Inigo, or even Trinidad is not available to carry the leather.
If the Green Archers can force a lot of turnovers on Tolomia, Inigo, and Trinidad at the backcourt and score transition baskets, it will be big and half of the job I think is done at this point. UST played well on FEU’s passing lanes last Wednesday and maybe the Green Archers can set some pointers on it to force turnovers from FEU and run the break for easy baskets.
Another thing that I want to see from the Green Archers on Sunday is to play physical against FEU’s bigs and be scrappy on getting rebounds and loose balls. I have no doubt with our bigs that they can match FEU’s physicality but on Sunday, I wish to see more intensity since FEU is also out for a win and for sure, I expect FEU to increase its level of play.
The Green Archers were able to do their rebounding duties against UP last Wednesday and capitalized on it, scoring 17 second-chance so this may come in handy against FEU on Sunday. But then, DLSU also gave a lot of perimeter points to UP last Wednesday and FEU is a team that thrives on perimeter points so I think that is where major adjustments should come in like faster defensive recoveries to cover shooters outside and not allowing easy dribble-drive penetrations for defenses to collapse and allow FEU to move the ball around their offensive and cash in on perimeter baskets.
This may be a never-ending saga but I will point out again on free throws. The Green Archers missed 11 freebies last Wednesday which could have been the difference if they won that game. I mean, some may belittle free throws but for me, every point counts a lot and it would have been big if DLSU made at least half of it (the Green Archers would have won by one point if they made 6 of those 11 free throw misses).
Lastly, offense is certain to have off-days, which means shots will not fall in. Defense does not take off-days. If shots do not fall in, the best next plan is to put defensive stops and score on transition to get the game, going. Yeah, it is a cliche but I do not see any other way pulling out a win if your offense is really off for a particular game. The best teams know how to win big and how to win ugly.
Looking forward to this tough but exciting encounter on Sunday hoping that we sing the alma mater first after the game.