Contrary to what many say, it was a great game and a great win by the Green Archers last Wednesday. Yes it wasn’t the blowout everyone expected but look at the impact this win, regardless of margin will have on the team.
Entering this new UAAP season, La Salle has not beaten FEU in the first round since 2008. Every game counts in a short tournament so from a win-loss standpoint, breaking this skid is big. Also, the Green Archers have lost 6 of the last 7 matchups with the Tamaraws dating back to the 2014 season.
FEU may have lost 4 starters from their championship team but they should never be counted out. They still have the pieces to content and their coach has done a good job in changing the system of this team that no longer relies heavily on just 2 to 3 players to deliver.
So it does not matter whether it was a blowout or a close match. The important thing is that the Green Archers finally got over the hump in beating FEU early in the season.
Heading into their next game against UP tomorrow, we expect the team to be more composed and relaxed. It was pretty clear that they were quite edgy in their opening game, committing so many unforced errors that enabled the Tamaraws to keep the game close down the stretch. Despite a double-double performance, we saw how Ben Mbala is still adjusting to play in front of a large crowd in a big arena.
Let’s manage our expectations. Though they are billed as the heavy favorites this season, we can’t expect that all games will just be a walk-in-the park. We would rather see them grind it out now than not knowing how to handle this kind of adversity in the crucial stages of the tournament. It’s these close games that are really going to help them in the long run.
I’m sure many will expect the team to have a much easier time against the Fighting Maroons. But remember this is practically the same UP team that won a game over the Archers last season.
Just take note that all that matters is that at the end of the game, La Salle scored more points than their opponent.