DLSU v UE – Superior tactics and defense as the Archers win.

The De La Salle Green Archers registered another win against the UE Red Warriors, 71-64 moving them above the .500 mark. It was a game the that was on the minds of every analyst considering that the full court press is supposed to be the weakness of the Archers

Press Break

The Archers did a completely legal move by switching inbounders in order to create space in a attempt to break the press as UE often double teamed the receiving player. The switch afforded a little more space for the receiver.

It is a curious move given that it may be easier to get some help instead which is often the more traditional way to break the press. However the UE guards are all very skilled at anticipating this and will use their speed to intercept the ball. This happened during some occasions.

The tactic proved to be a right move given that it opened up the floor fast for the Archers. Often a second player would help us soon as the ball is inbounded allowing much more space for the Archers. This resulted in multiple wide open lay ups especially in the first period.

This was not a matter of creating a tactic to go against UE, it was a tactic specifically for UE as UE is quite a one dimensional team opting to use a full court press the entire game.

It was a matter of finding a weakness in a system that the Red Warriors have mastered.

True Tactics Work

Going up against a team like UE, the correct tactic is the management of turnovers rather than avoiding them. Basketball is a game of possessions and it is fair to expect that turnovers will be committed. While 30 is a large number, the Green Archers managed the game better.

Tough set plays for the Red Warriors – The Red Warriors hardly got any good looks and good shots from set plays. Majority of their points came of turnovers, steals, or missed shots by the Archers or plays in open court. But more often than not, the Archers defended superbly the set plays of the Red Warriors covering every shooter and making it difficult inside.

Arguably, this is where the presence of Larry Muyang proved to be the difference. A shot blocking and rebouding threat, this allowed the Archers to be a little more lax in defending the paint which allowed us to close down on shooters. The only way UE would nullify this tactic is for their guards to get contested shots closer to the basket. The Archers made life very difficult for the Red Warriors.

Creating Space – The Archers managed to create a lot of space both for shooters and for those who would take it strong to the hoop. In the opening few minutes alone for the Archers, they had several uncontested lay-ups and open three point shots. We are slowly seeing the Archers evolve from an isolation team to moving the ball more. However, some players continue to have the tendency to force an isolation play even when a play could be executed.

Efficient Performances – It’s a trend this season to see a few players do well and some players do bad. However in this particular game, almost all the players fielded contributed positively on the court. What is expected from the players is to execute plays, don’t turn the ball over, and if you can, score points. The efficiency brought about by the a win over Adamson has carried over to a tough team like UE and it seems like the Archers are truly evolving from their dismal early season form

Improvements to be made

However, the Archers are still in dire need to improve some facets of their game.

In some instances, upon a shot by UE, they would immediately pass the ball to a guard who would run up the court in order to avoid the full court press. On some instances, they would wait it out for a long time to set-up but risk a chance to play. On some instances, they would execute their plays beautifully while on some instances, they would resort to an isolation play.  These lapses during game time moments is a bigger factor behind the high turnover rate than the press. The Archers need to fix these tendencies in order to survive the bigger teams. Beyond developing a consistent winning streak, it is important for the Archers to develop consistent habits based on their agreed upon tactics.

After 5 games, we have seen improvements already. The UAAP as a 14 game season is more than just about winning form, it’s essentially the team that improves and adjusts fastest, often is the one who wins the championship. Should the Archers continue to improve faster than the rest, the we will definitely challenge for the title.