After an impressive win over Adamson last Saturday to end a two-game slump, the Green Archers are back in action today versus UP. The team looks to build some momentum which would springboard them to top 4 contention when the first round ends this weekend.
The Fighting Maroons are in the midst of a three-game winning streak. With a reloaded roster and a UAAP finals experience tucked under their belts, they have a lot going for them heading into this match.
What to Watch For
Containing the Maroons’ Inside Scoring. This season, the Green Archers appear to struggle against teams that have good slashers and low-post scorers. UP has a lot of those and that is why they are currently the top team when it comes to points in the paint.
La Salle played great defense against Adamson last Saturday and we hope they can carry that same energy today.
Height Advantage. Justine Baltazar bounced back against the Falcons with another double-double performance. Expect him to get a lot of touches early and often. Brandon Bates on the other hand did a masterful job on both ends of the floor while Jamie Orme provided that much needed help off the boards with his athleticism. The frontline matchup is something that they can exploit but of course, UP has shown that they can compete through grit and sheer determination.
Scoring Droughts. The Green Archers always have these long stretches that they just can’t buy a basket. This is where discipline in execution, which leads to quality shots come to play. Even if their defense is clicking, they can’t afford to go cold against the Fighting Maroons.
UP’s 6th Man. Their community is all pumped up and they believe that they have a legitimate shot in winning the championship this year. Expect their crown to be in full force as they cheer their team on. The Fighting Maroons appear to get their energy from their supporters and this somehow helped them down the stretch. All their wins so far this season have been close.
And we have already accepted the fact that the La Salle crowd can never display that same energy in a game.
Familiar Faces. Ricci River is now in a maroon uniform and just like any other player facing his former team, expect him to be extra motivated today. He exploded for 28 points against the Archers in the preseason. Also in the UP side is bigman JBoy Gob who played one season for the Green and White back in 2015.
La Salle is just half a game behind Adamson (3-3) and can force a possible triple tie for third at the end of the day.