Since the UAAP men’s basketball Final 4 semifinals was implemented 24 years ago, only La Salle has never lost a series when having the twice-to-beat advantage. On the other hand, Adamson has never won a single game in all of their four trips in this postseason playoffs. With history on their side, the Green Archers look to immediately close out the Falcons tomorrow and punch their ticket to the finals.
Since coach Franz Pumaren took over the helm last year, Adamson has transformed from a moribund squad to a legitimate contender. Games against them dating back to the previous season have always been close. Both squads faced-off in the semis last year and the Archers prevailed in a down-to-wire finish. This rematch promises to be extremely exciting.
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The Falcons have the speed, athleticism and firepower to match up well against the Archers. Aside from Ben of course, what gives La Salle the edge though is their experience in high-stake contests. Having already been to the finals and playing Ateneo several times, the team is already used to play in a bigger stage. It remains to be seen if Adamson can handle the pressure of playing against a large opposing crowd. Of course, the playoff atmosphere is way much different than the eliminations.
We are not sure if Jerick Ahanmisi and Jerie Pinggoy have fully recovered from their injuries they sustained last week but assuming they are already okay, the Green Archers need to make sure that every outside shot is challenged. Aside from the two, they need to put a tight guard on Rob Manalang who always seem to play well against us. For the Falcons to have any chance of winning they need to do exceptionally well from the outside. Expect La Salle to play the same straight-up defense on their shooters which has proven successful against the Blue Eagles last Sunday. They should not get any easy looks.
As both squads like to play an up-tempo pace, it’s important for the Green Archers to take better control of every possession as Adamson has done well in capitalizing on opponent’s turnovers. Inside, they only need to deal with Papi Sarr and if they manage to make him work on defense and get him into early foul trouble, that will be huge.
Nothing can be further said on Ben, Ricci and Santi as they have been very consistent especially in the second round. It’s now up for guys like Prince, Andrei, Kib and Aljun to get back into their offensive groove.
Since we are already in the final stretch of the season, are we still expecting something new from the team? We’ll see. We can be sure that Adamson has something in store tomorrow but as noted earlier, the Archers have already been in this situation before. Their comeback win against Ateneo was a true test of their resolve.
No major adjustments. We are confident that the Archers are all focused and determined to win back-to-back titles. Tomorrow will be the first step.
It’s playoff time. Buckle up for the grind.