Just when we all thought that things will start to turn our way after that big win over Ateneo a week ago, the Green Archers’ up-and-down season hit another bump Sunday with a come-from-behind loss to UST. Not a good way to start the second round.
But unlike their previous losses, they executed better as a team, played good defense and scoring was well distributed. It was simply a case of bad breaks towards the end. UST waxed hot offensively while the Archers simply could not buy a basket despite the many opportunities down the stretch. Of course, the team also felt the absence of rookie Andrei Caracut.
Today, they will be facing a UE team that is coming off another stunning win over defending champion NU. In their first round encounter, La Salle was able to thwart the Red Warrior’s stingy defense to escape with a 71-64 victory. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of wins though as the team committed 30 turnovers. Luckily, the team held their own defensively, managing to shut down their leading scorer to just 2 points.
Expect UE to make the defensive adjustments here especially on how to counter the Archers’ strategy of switching inbound receivers to evade the press. The team needs to have another play variation during inbound.
If La Salle can manage to limit their turnovers, capitalize on UE’s disadvantage down low and play the same exceptional defense on their scorers, they’ll be in good shape to win this game.
It’s all about defense. La Salle appears to be rattled every time opponents go on big scoring runs and UE is one team capable of doing this.
Three full games behind league leaders UST and FEU, it will be difficult for the Green Archers to catch up for one of the top two spots and get that twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four. They should just focus entirely on solidifying their hold on their current position in the standings as they and Ateneo are just one full game behind UE, UP and NU. Any loss moving forward will be fatal to their campaign.