Blown out. But are we out?

Wow. Wow. Wow!

I’m stuck. And that was probably the feeling of the players, the coaches, and the community after a game like this.

All of us are probably asking the same question, a question with a multitude of specualtions, answers, excuses, blames, or just downright speechless. WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED?

Well, maybe I can sum it up like this: We are not the 8-4 team. We are the 8-6 team. Get it?

Before I expound, let us be men and women enough to congratulate the UP Fighting Maroons for a well prepared, well played game. They deserve that. Let us not be sniveling losers as like the other comments of some others (you know who you are).

Ok, let’s expound. First of all, UP came up with a game plan to run us to the ground. After a grueling match with our archivals only two days removed, they knew that fatigue was a going to be a major factor in an up tempo game. And boy did they force it on us.

They kept running fast break after fast break even if there was none. The game plan was run, run, run, whether successful or not. Even in the half court sets, they were running. How many baseball passes did you count?

Most of you will say, of course, that we lost that game in the second quarter. I may “technically” agree. But my view is we lost this game after the Ateneo game.

Two games removed from such a highly charged game was obviously not enough recovery time to face a highly souped up offensive juggernaut in UP. Probably even the coaching staff only had so many hours to prepare our game plans.

Watching the game live, up close, in the Patron section (yes we were that painfully close to this debacle), made me see that the players were really, really tired. They were panting, slow to jump screens, losing out on 50-50 balls, and there was lack of communication.

Now this is not an excuse. Just an expression of observed reality. My observed reality. They were pooped out. Also, in a speeded up game, it didn’t help that the coaching staff decided to shorten the rotation and did not use Jollo Go. We needed fresh legs and we didn’t have them available.

I guess the commerce of the league was much more important than to stick to tradition of having a La Salle-Ateneo game be the last game of both rounds. And these two big games were immediately after the other.

Secondly, UP also had a phenom. Juan GDL. Like it or not, this kid is terrific. And he brought his A game in this one. Well, nothing you can do really if he shoots like that.

So let’s get back to the 8-4 team vs. the 8-6 team. What’s the difference? Obviously, it’s Taane Samuel. Again please don’t get me wrong. We are lucky to have such a player.

But remember two things please. One, he is STILL not 100%. The way he moves shows it, and even he himself acknowledges it. A team would really adopt a running game against us to exploit this.

Second, and I think this is the real reason. Team chemistry and defined roles. I elaborated this in my last article. We are still learning, as a team, as to how to integrate Taane’s skills into the style of play that we want. Also, the subsitution patterns changed. As we were happy that Bates, Santillan, Baltazar, and Dyke developed while Taane was injured, he ate playing minutes of these four when he came back.

You saw it. There were a lot of one on one and hero plays that we made when we were put under duress. Heck we practically lost two players in Mark Dyke and Jollo Go, in our present rotation patterns.

It’s not Taane’s nor the team’s fault. Again I pointed this out. This is a Brand New Team. It’s the 8-6 team (formerly the 8-5 game). The 8-4 team was a lot more cohesive, since they were together for 12 games. The 8-6 team has been together for only two.

The feeling out period, by the way, extends more importantly, to the coaching staff. You saw them, trying to adjust and tweak the combination on the floor., sometimes seconds after tweaking it previously. The problem is summed up in one word. Cohesion. Or the lack thereof.

I said previously, that preparations of our coaching staff, our strategists, was crucial after the return of Taane. Remember, we had a three big, five guard rotation. Now we have a four big, four guard rotation. And the composition of the four guards changes per game. Sometimes it’s Jollo, sometimes it’s Mark.

See my point? If we had started with the 4 and 4 team, by this time, it should have been a cohesive unit. But the injury made the 3 and 5 a cohesive unit.

So, what now? Do we bench Taane? Do we deepen our rotation? When and where to we use Taane?

Guys, I am not part of the coaching staff. I wouldn’t even dare to tell them what to do. I am no basketball expert. I was never a part of any organized basketball activity. But may I respectfully can make subtle (maybe cryptic) suggestion? Instead of the 4-4, why don’t we go back to the 3-5 PLUS 1. Get it? I think the coaches will. (If not, I will be available for consultation. Hahahaha. Ilusyonado!!! Bear with my dry humor please. But to help the team, I’m dead serious. Hahahaha. ).

You know this season, our team has been exposed to a lot of crash courses. How to play with thirteen men. How to play with eleven men, how to play with twelve men. Back to thirteen men again. Notice something? The thirteen man team has the least experience of them all. Two games and a couple of minutes long.

We’ve had many a grind out game, won 7 and lost 4. We now know three blow out games. Our record there is 1-2. The question is where are we better at?

Guys, this is a short series. We ground out 11, blew one out, and got blown out twice. So will we let this latest blow out loss put us out? ARE WE OUT?


And we are the DE LA SALLE COMMUNITY. WE DON’T WHIMPER! WE FIGHT! Oh, and please don’t forget. WE ARE STILL IN THIS!

More than ever guys, we need each other. So from this point on, fair weather fans, negative thinkers, fault finders, armchair coaches, GET OUT! WE DON’T NEED YOU!