No longer a force on offense, Green Archers rely on their defense to carry them this season

With a stacked roster, the Green Archers were a fun team to watch on offense in the last two seasons. In 2016, they had a league best scoring average of 88.1 points per game – which is 22% higher than the next team in the rankings. They dropped to second the following season with an average of 78.1 points but it’s just a 0.4 differential from number one.

On the defensive end, the truth is that despite the “Mayhem”, La Salle only ranked 5th in opponent points allowed in seasons 79 and 80 at 72.5 per game. This just shows the team gets their wins by outscoring their opponents rather than holding them to as few points as defensively possible.

This season, they are struggling to get their offensive game going, averaging just 71.1 (6th in the league) in the 10 games they played so far. This is kind of expected after losing your top two scorers from last season and currently playing without their foreign student athlete who happens to be one of their go-to guys. They are also 6th in free throw % despite having the most number of attempts (this does not come as a surprise anymore)

But even then, La Salle remains to be competitive in the ongoing tournament at 6-4, solo third in the standings and still in contention to finish in the top two at the end of the elimination round.

How were they able to do it? Good Defense.

The team currently ranks 2nd in opponent points allowed at 67.7 per game. They are league best when it comes to the number of field goal % allowed. By being first in total rebounds and second in block shots, the Green Archers allow the least number of points inside the paint and from second-chances.

With that we can very well say it’s their defense that is making a difference for them this season. If you are one of those that are disappointed as to why they no longer light up the scoreboard and blow out their foes like they used to – well get used to it. What we have now is a team that puts defense first.

Despite the key losses and injuries, the Green Archers are still getting it done this season – winning ballgames in grind-out fashion. All but one of their losses were close games. Come to think of it, they may have lost to Ateneo by 15 points but in that contest, La Salle managed to make it a low-scoring first half and if they were able to sustain that pace all throughout and executed fairly on offense (they committed 28 turnovers), they would have had a good chance in beating the Blue Eagles.

The value of defense is often overlooked. Many are focused on how the team performs on offense. But the reality is that bad shooting days happen, just like in their game against Adamson in which they had no field goal in the opening quarter. But when it comes to defending your opponent, there is no excuse for not executing.

Still, nothing is perfect. The team still needs to address their deficiencies in guarding shooters on the perimeter. But the effort they are putting at this point should be  acknowledged and appreciated. We commend the coaching staff for guiding the team to the position they are now.

Expect more hard-fought games that comes down to the wire. No matter the adversity, the Green Archers will continue to fight, continue to work to get the win. As long as they keep that defensive intensity, they have a chance against anybody.