My question coming into tomorrow’s game is are we going to experience our first winning streak this season. Is the win over Adamson enough to condition the guys and start the season rolling at last? The next three games of the Green Archers in the first round of eliminations are all test games for me as all three teams that the Green Archers will face are all, for me, contenders in this season’s final four race.
There will be no easy games and I will personally be happy for as long as the Green Archers get a W, whether it will be a close game or a blow out win. UE is a very young team. We all know that Manong Derek and Coach Dindo started to shape up this team the way they wanted it to be, capable of running their full court pressure and fast-paced offense.
I can’t say to be honest that experience will be fully an advantage on our side since the Green Archers also have a lot of rookies parading and playing this season. A slight advantage perhaps will be the most proper thing to say since the Green Archers still have those veterans who won the championship two seasons ago. Comparing it to the veterans that UE has, I think they only have Chris Javier left in there as their elder statesman.
UE is also on a learning curve stage. A very tough one at that especially blowing away a big lead against FEU last Wednesday. For sure, Manong Derek and his coaching staff will try to address those issues that knowing that youth and inexperience simply caught up with them last Wednesday in what I thought should have been a big win for them coming into the game tomorrow.
Most of the opposing team’s scouting report on UE has only one man listed on it: Rookie point guard Bon Batiller. He is one of the guys that can create offense for himself and also make available shots for his teammates. Another one that I can think of at the moment is point guard Edgar Charcos. Both guys love to create one on one situations to break down defenses and either take their own shot or pass it to open guys for easier and better baskets.
Chris Javier is still a constant threat, make no mistake about it. Chris can make jumpers, has that extended range, and can also score if given the right positioning at the post. What I miss though from him this season is his ability to catch the ball and make the move from the low block. What I have seen so far from him this season is when he gets the ball in the low post, he faces up, then decides whether if he has space to shoot the mid-range jumper or make his move towards the basket.
At the moment, Chris is getting his scoring opportunities off the pick or getting a drop pass underneath the basket. But what I should say the bread and butter of UE is getting points off their full court pressure defense. Since UE is not that talented coming into this season, they rely on forcing turnovers on their opponents to convert on easy scoring opportunities.
UE’s outside shooting cannot be taken for granted as well. Paul Varilla and RR De Leon will be threats from the perimeter, aside from Chris Javier. All of UE’s bigs so far this season have shown that if given a good look, they can hit from the outside so the Green Archers’ defensive rotation will be challenged once again on this game. Clark Derige and Nick Abanto also can shoot from the perimeter and not your typical back to the basket big guys.
Make no mistake about it also that UE’s bigs are agile enough to get those lose balls and challenge the Green Archers on the aspect of rebounding so it will be important to stay focused on boxing out these guys and out-position them to get those rebounds. The Green Archers cannot be put into a jumping match against UE’s bigs to get rebounds.
The primary key personally for the Green Archers in getting another win tomorrow is not committing a lot of turnovers off that UE’s full court pressure defense. If the Green Archers can bring down and take care of the ball safely, go into their half court sets, I am pretty much confident that the team will be able to put up the points needed to beat UE.
Another point that I would like to stress out is the transition defense. The Green Archers cannot get caught flat-footed and allow the Red Warriors to score on transition baskets off the defensive rebound. It is important for the guards to stop the ball right away and instead, force UE to set it up rather than use their quickness to score easy baskets because they know that they are quite limited when reduced to a half court team.
One thing that I have to commend is the performance of Joshua Torralba. In his two games this season, I felt that he provided the back court versatility that the team needs on both ends of the floor. I hope he stays healthy and continue to make an impact for the team this season. Another one is I am hoping that Thomas Torres’ form last Wednesday will continue as it is also another major factor in bringing a win for the Green Archers tomorrow.
If the Green Archers’ back court can lock down on UE’s guards and not make them comfortable, then that is one step ahead in winning the game already. I also want to see the Green Archers run in every possible opportunity to disrupt UE’s rotation since Manong Derek wants to field as many players as possible in the first half before settling in his fixed rotation in the second half.
These are all just talking points but of course, the real results will be made available tomorrow. I am sure both teams will prepare very hard since both are locked in the mid-table of the standings and as I will repeat endlessly, every game is difficult and every game is a challenging one so every win is important. I am personally expecting a close game until the third period until one team will wink in the final period, running out of steam, allowing another team to break away and win.
Of course, I am hoping that UE will be the team that will run out of steam in the fourth quarter, allowing the Green Archers to pull off their third win of the season and inching them closer to the top four in the standings.