The View From the Armchair – Game 9 vs UE

After watching last weekend’s game against UE which we lost, 69-74, the letters D-I-S popped into my mind. Why, you might ask. No, I wasn’t about to diss the team. But because some of the words that begin with DIS could best describe my reaction to the game.

So what words begin with dis?

Disappointing. We dropped a game which we should, by all rights should have won. UE is in rebuilding mode this year after losing the prolific Paul Lee and sharpshooter James Martinez. They had previously won only 1 game, and we beat them handily in the first round.

Dismaying. The inability of the team to mount any effective counterattack after UE had seized the initiative. The boys looked lost, unable to regain their composure after the Warriors went to a 1-2-2 press, which succeeded in discombobulating the brain trust behind the team. We can dish out the press, but can we take it? Apparently not, at least against UE. For sure, the other coaches will have taken note of what and how the Warriors turned the tables on our pressure defense.

Disenchanted. After 8 games, it was expected by most supporters that the Archers would have already developed a rhythm to their game, and a familiarity with each other that would help promote smooth, cohesive Archer ball that we’ve come to expect at this time of the season. No such luck. Or was it really just luck?

Disconnected. At least, that’s what it appeared to be at times, with the Archers coughing up the ball 24 times through errant passes, traveling errors, and fumbles. All of which gifted UE with 17 turnover points while we only had 18. Again, repeating the trend of the last few games, the Archers committed more miscues than the opponents, negating our one of our historical competitive advantages.

Disappeared. The Archers’ confidence, that is. No, our players were on the court for the full 40 minutes. A couple of Archers did go down, Yutien due to a knee injury, and Luigi who was accidentally kneed on the thigh by a fellow Archer.

Disastrous. The loss of composure after the first quarter that allowed UE to grab the lead and keep our team at bay that made the disbelieving diehards wonder if this just a dream.

Distressed. After waiting a year for the team to gain a bit more maturity, the performance against UE looked like a return to the ways of 2 years ago.

Ok, enough already. Let’s look at the bright side. You might ask, is there one?

Yes, actually there is. And the word also begins with dis – disaggregate (v. t. – To destroy the aggregation of; to separate into component parts, as an aggregate mass). To build, sometimes we must disassemble something first, then re-assemble it the right way. Or distill, boil away the liquid to remove the impurities in the Archer game. Sometimes, all it takes is time.

Maybe there’s a method to all this madness. First, let the problems surface, so you can fix them. If they remain hidden, it’s possible that they could pop up in the worst possible time, late in the season. This way, we know what’s wrong, and we can fix them. Hopefully in time for the changes to make a difference in the season. Truth to tell, there has more than ample opportunity to allow the rough edges to show themselves. So now the onus is to disconnect the parts of the Archer game that don’t work well, and focus on what does. Also dissipate the cloud of uncertainty and let the players believe in themselves and what they can achieve.

Dispel. With still 5 games to go, it’s time to dispel the negativity and pull behind the team. The team has what it takes to compete effectively, it just needs to be consistent for 40 minutes. They have displayed this ability in stretches, albeit sometimes too late like against Adamson. But they do have what it takes.

Disobliging. Many have already written off our team this season, but why should we oblige them by propagating the myth that the Archers don’t have the right stuff, the Animo. We do our team a disservice when we buy into that defeatist attitude. Yes, it’s natural to be discouraged by the reversals, but our team’s traditional fighting spirit makes us disbelievers that we’re done for.

Some encouraging signs – Norbert’s continued all-around good play. Joshua’s energy and points contribution rekindled images of the time when he was one of the league’s best finishers. LA Revilla’s improved game after his performance dipped, raising concerns about a recurrence of his health issues. Almond’s improved scoring. And the talent and latent potential of our other players. It’s unlikely that given this level of talent, our players will still consistently play below their abilities. They’re too good for that.

Let’s disseminate the word that while this isn’t the ideal situation, there’s still hope. It’s not impossible for the Archers to go all the way. They just have to believe, and we have to believe that they can do it. We still have 5 games to go, and the score is 0-0 in each of them at the start of the game. Yes, it can be done.

DIS-ANIMO? No such word, sorry. And even if there were, nope, quite the reverse. ANIMO!