Greenstincts: DLSU’s love-hate relationship with the Pumaren press

All but one (2013) of La Salle’s eight UAAP men’s basketball championships have come courtesy of the noted Pumaren (Manong Derick or Franz) full-court pressure defense. The dynamic man-to-man or 1-2-2 press was hated by every opponent, beloved by the Lasallian community and every time a wayward or ill-advised pass was intercepted, chants of “huli ka!” would reverberate in any basketball court.

It’s now rather unfortunate that, like a lover scorned or a vengeful ex, that same Pumaren press is giving the current batch of Green Archers headaches and problems. In the last three head-to-head matches alone, La Salle has turned the ball over 96 times: 36 and 30 in the first two rounds of Season 77 and 30 again in yesterday’s 71-64 win.

Getting lost in all the talks of Caracut’s shooting and Muyang’s brilliance is 2013 Mythical Five member Jason Perkins.

Primary playmakers Thomas Torres and Andrei Caracut combined to tally 11 errors while team captain Jeron Teng had six. Balanced and timely scoring together with steady play by the Archers down the stretch ensured that the 30 turnovers were treated only as footnotes for the game.

Adjustments, adjustments, adjustments
After bricking his first three attempts from beyond the arc, Torres changed his approach by faking the shot and then driving for a closer look at the basket. His 30% (3/10 overall, 0/5 3FG) field goal percentage may not exactly look sterling but his last layup with 4:22 left actually stopped UE’s 15-2 rally and gave La Salle some breathing room.

Our backcourt also did a tremendous job on UE’s main gunner Edison Batiller, limiting the Red Warrior to only two points on 0/9 shooting. While Batiller is still a rookie, expect the team to treat UST’s Ed Daquioag and Ateneo’s Kiffer Ravena and Von Pesumal with just as much and even more respect and defensive coverage in the next two games.

La Salle’s 1-2 punch of the future
Rookie big man Larry Muyang cracked the 30-minute playing time barrier for the first time this season and responded with an 11 point, 11 rebound and four block afternoon. As Season 78 goes along, this Pampanga recruit only seems to grow more confident and efficient. Two skills demonstrated by Muyang against UE was his ability to act as a scoring threat against the Red Warriors’ full court press and his rim protection.

Fellow rookie Andrei Caracut, despite coughing up nine turnovers, was a sight to see every time the ball leaves his hands and finds the bottom of the net. His back-to-back three pointers to start the fourth gave La Salle its biggest lead at 58-41 while a timely layup with 3:29 to go and two free throws in the closing moments provided the breaks to UE’s furious rally.

With most of the Warriors’ defensive schemes and plans focused on stopping Jeron, it was great to see the La Salle greenhorns step up to the challenge in both offense and defense. Together with Joshua Torralba, the 34 points, 20 rebounds and three assists that the trio combined to generate not only bodes well in improving DLSU’s record to 3-2 but both also serves as confidence building for future matches as well.

Missing Perkins’ production
Getting lost in all the talks of Caracut’s shooting and Muyang’s brilliance is 2013 Mythical Five member Jason Perkins. The former “hefty” but still a leftie is one team’s senior players and was expected to carry the heavy workload together with Jeron and Thomas Torres. After a 13-point, 12-rebound effort in the season opener against NU, Perkins has been less than productive in the Green Archers’ last four games.

One can blame it on Jason committing silly fouls and getting into early foul trouble resulting into single digit productions on offense and the boards. Despite average more than 20 minutes a game, the five point, nine rebound performance versus UP, five and six against FEU, 7 and 9 on Adamson and 6 and 2 in this UE game does not make sense given the talent and skill that Jason possess.

Here’s hoping that against UST and Ateneo, Perkins can be more disciplined defensively, hit the big shots, help win the battle of the boards and make a serious impact on the games.

Animo La Salle!