Big Ben Mbala may be back in action for the DLSU Green Archers this coming Wednesday but I don’t think it will change the fact that the green and white squad will be in for another shootout game against the young, athletic, and upstart Adamson Soaring Falcons.
Both teams, again, love to apply the pressure on defense to quicken the pace so expect both teams to attack every pressure defense applied to them in the game just like what we saw on DLSU’s win over NU last Saturday.
I think it has become a trend now not to settle down after breaking the opponent’s pressure defense once the offensive team crosses the half court line. Instead, teams now device a press break for the offense to attack and try to score quickly should an opponent apply a trapping defense, regardless if it’s a full court or a half court trapping defense.
Having said that, this game may go down on which team has the better form, not just physically, but also mentally because it is quite tiring to go normally on an up-tempo game. This game may also go down on which team can capitalize the turnovers that they will force on their opponent. As we can recall also last Saturday, Adamson forced UST to commit 41 turnovers but only finished the game with a 7-point winning margin over the Growling Tigers.
Adamson is the league’s #1 team on turnover points with 23 turnover points per game but what are killing them are their field goal percentages, or their half court shooting percentages. Adamson is just shooting 41.4% from the 2-point area (7th in the league) and 27.7% from the 3-point region (5th in the league).
The Green Archers, on the other hand, are shooting 52.3% from the 2-point area (3rd in the league) and 34.7% from the 3-point region, which is #1 in the league right now. I expect these numbers to be even better with Ben Mbala coming back in action for the Green Archers.
What Big Ben can help improve for the Green Archers is DLSU’s inside points. After two games, the Green Archers only amassed 62 inside points, which is 7th in the league. What propelled DLSU for their 2-0 start this season is their red-hot shooting from the perimeter. The Green Archers are #1 in the league right now on perimeter points, averaging 54 perimeter points per game.
We may see a change of shift on this statistic for the green and squad once Ben comes in. I expect the Green Archers to level things out or get a lion’s share on the inside points category while getting a decrease on the perimeter points statistic. But if Ben starts making his defenders pay by making perimeter baskets then this could be a different story as the Green Archers’ perimeter points may get a boost from Ben starting on Wednesday.
I also expect the Green Archers to capitalize on the rebounding end, especially with Ben Mbala back in fold for the green and white. Currently, DLSU is averaging 49 rebounds per game without Big Ben so this will increase with Big Ben now suiting up for the Green Archers.
For Adamson, they are dead last on the rebounding category with 33.5 rebounds a game. This may be attributed to Papi Sarr missing out the Ateneo game but as seen on Adamson’s win over UST last Saturday, Papi Sarr only had 4 rebounds while covering UST’s foreign student-athlete, Steve Akomo.
Aside from Papi Sarr, Adamson needs help on the rebounding category as they do not have that much physical presence inside the paint to bang bodies on opposing big men to haul down the basketball. Aside from Papi Sarr, only Sean Manganti is the Soaring Falcons’ next reliable rebounder due to his athleticism and ball fight inside the paint.
If the Green Archers can control the boards, continue their efficient shooting from the field, it will be a long day for the Soaring Falcons. But make no mistake about it, DLSU cannot play relaxed as Adamson is the #1 team on stealing the basketball averaging 12 steals per game and this can compensate what Adamson is lacking on its ceiling and rebounding department.
I expect Adamson to employ a single cover to Ben with Papi Sarr matching him up every time Big Ben gets a touch at the low block. If Big Ben will get a bunch of points on that match-up that’s the time I will see adjustments from Adamson strengthening up their help side defense or probably denying Ben, the touch from the low block.
If this happens, it should open a lot of room for Aljun and Ricci to operate and create something on offense and to include Ben on the offensive equation. For Adamson, their offense will primarily come from Rob Manalang, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti, Kurt Lojera, and Papi Sarr. If you will notice those five names mentioned, to sum it up, Adamson’s offense will come from the perimeter, face-up, either taking a jumper or putting the ball to the hoop to score a basket or to create something on offense.
With Adamson’s offense coming from Manalang, Ahanmisi, Manganti and Lojera, expect a lot of staggered screen activities on Adamson’s offense to free up their perimeter guys with Manalang and Lojera expected to attack the basket if the defense is caught napping while focusing on the staggered screen activities happening on one side of the floor when the Soaring Falcons are on offense.
Papi Sarr will be given touches to see and try to get Ben into foul trouble and help ease the scoring load from the other four perimeter guys mentioned earlier who are tasked to provide buckets for the San Marcelino squad. I also see Abu getting time to cover Papi Sarr to give enough physicality and not make life easy for Adamson’s heart and soul in the middle.
Overall, it will be an interesting game. Personally, I am excited to see what Big Ben will bring to the table especially after seeing his Afrobasket highlights, I would like to see some playing time for Ben manning the wing position and shoot some perimeter jumpers from time to time to keep opposing defenses honest and thinking since it will add another source of offense for the Green Archers.