The Green Archers hurdled their opponents last week with relative ease, beating the Adamson Falcons, 76-61 last Thursday, and UP Maroons, 82-60 last Saturday at the Philsports Arena. With the twin victories, the Archers logged their fifth and sixth victories after an opening day loss.
Game 5: vs Adamson
The Archers got off a slow start in the first quarter to allow the Falcons to taste the lead at 4-8 before closing the quarter ahead, 18-11. The DLSU defense limited Adamson to 11 points in each of the first two quarters to steadily pull away at the half, 35-22. After the halftime break, the Archers again started off on the wrong foot to allow the Falcons to pull within 5 at 34-39 midway through the third quarter. Coach Franz turned to a combination of veterans and rookies, with JV, Peejay, Rico and Maui collaborating to finish the quarter strongly at 52-41. In the final quarter, the team merely coasted en route to a comfortable 15 point win.
The team’s three point shooting was average, as they hit 6 out of 18 attempts. JV was hot, with 3/5. Bader had a so-so night from long range, going for 2/6. In 2point field goals, the Archers were much more accurate, nailing 28 out of 48 tries for 58.3%. JV was very efficient, hitting at a 5/6 clip, while Rico collected 6 out of 9 fg attempts on a variety of drives. Perhaps he should concentrate on using his superior mobility to take the ball to the hoop as opposed to attempting the long shot. The team was only awarded 4 free throws, hitting 2. Five Archers scored in double figures, led by JV with 19. The point distribution reflected the ability of any of the Archers to take up the scoring load on any given game. This could pose problems for opponents in the second round.
The Archers clamped down on defense in the first half, limiting Adamson to 22 points. However, they noticeably relaxed in the second half, allowing Adamson to score 19 and 20 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters. They also allowed Adamson to score heavily inside, and this was reflected in the high 52.2% shooting percentage of the Falcons from 2point range. Again, the Archers’ inside defense proved suspect as the Falcons scored several times on point blank tries. Our perimeter defense forced the Adamson shooters to have a miserable day, as they connected on only 1 out of 12 tries.
Rebounding was more or less even, as La Salle collared 35 rebounds to Adamson’s 31. The Archers shared the ball more, generating 18 assists to 13 of the Falcons. Adamson had more steals, 7 compared to the Archers’ 5. Again, the Archers almost matched their opponents’ turnovers, 18-19.
After grabbing the lead for good, the Archers seemed to relax at times, preferring to try different sets and looks.
The rookie watch
Maui Villanueva showcased another facet of his game, scoring 12 points on an efficient 6/7 field goal shooting clip in 24 minutes. Joshua, LA, and Hyram were the only other rookies to see action, going for 8, 6, and 1 minute respectively. Only Joshua scored, tallying a single field goal on 1/2 shooting. LA only saw action in the first half, as he sustained a neck injury.
What needs work
The interior defense will need to be addressed in the remaining games, as the Archers continued to allow the Falcons to penetrate on the dribble and dish off to a waiting big man under the goal. While the Archers are understandably still learning how to play with each other, they also cannot afford to give up as many turnovers as the opponents. They must learn to concentrate on their game plan and stick to the system. Our veterans will also have to remember to stay away from those early fouls. James collected 2 fouls early in the first quarter, went to the bench early, and never quite got his game on track, scoring only 4 points.
The Archers now are starting to display that steely resolve under pressure, and they are showing excellent crunch time decision making. They responded quickly and decisively to that Adamson rally in the 3rd quarter, breaking the Falcons’ momentum with key baskets from several players and ending the quarter pulling away. Marko continues to get more playing time, and his game fitness and readiness will be crucial in the second half against the taller teams. The perimeter defense is throttling the opponents’ outside shooters and allowing our big men to patrol the lane. And the press/trap is starting to take shape, as the scouting of the other teams starts to pay off.
Game 6: vs UP
Against last year’s cellar dweller, the Archers took it easy in the first two quarters, and ended the half with only an 8 point lead. The Archers also allowed Woody Co to score 19 points in the first half. Coming off the break, the Archers went back to their core strength, and limited UP to 16 and 15 points in the last two quarters while scoring 45 to coast to the easy win. In the process, they also held the red-hot Woody Co to a mere 3 second half points.
The Archers were not as accurate from 3point range as in previous games, hitting only 5/17 for 29.4%. Hyram unveiled his 3point ability, netting both his attempts. From closer range, they were better at 50%, sinking 23/46 tries. Rico’s inside game was particularly effective as he connected on 6 out of 8 tries. The team continued to miss their free throws, going for 21/32 for 65.6%.
For once, the Archers gave up more 3point conversions, allowing UP to make 8/25. This was probably due to the aggressive close-in Archer defense which limited UP to just 34.1% on 15/44 attempts. The defense also forced UP to turn over the ball 22 times.
Against a smaller UP team, the Archers pulled down 43 boards to UP’s 42. UP also collected more offensive rebounds, 12 to the Archers’ 8. UP also out-assisted La Salle, 15-14. La Salle’s active defense resulted in a 5-3 edge in steals.
The rookie watch
Hyram Bagatsing shone in this game, tallying 10 points on a perfect shooting from the field on 2/2 from 3point range and 1/1 on 2 pointers. His only miss came from the free throw line, where he made 2/3. Maui Villanueva played only 13 minutes against his high school alma mater, netting 2 points. Manoj and Jovet saw some minutes, with both scoring their points on free throws (2 and 1 points respectively). LA did not suit up, and was seen in civvies wearing a neck brace. He is expected to be fit for the crucial game against UE on Saturday.
What needed work
Again, rebounding. The Archers are giving up too many rebounds, particularly of the offensive kind. UP actually grabbed more offensive rebounds than the Archers. Our big men will need to concentrate on boxing out and getting the caroms. Against the tall teams like Ateneo, keeping the opponents away from the boards could mean the difference between a W and an L. Also the turnovers – the Archers cannot turn over the ball at the same rate as the opponents and hope to have an edge in turnover points. This has been a traditional source of quick and easy points for us, but if we give up the ball at the same rate as the opponents, this edge could easily be negated. Simon will need to regain his confidence and connect on his long shots to prevent opposing guards from double teaming JV and our other SGs on the perimeter.
The bench depth. Some analysts feel that our bench is not as deep as the other schools, but in the recent games, several players from the bench have stepped up to make significant contributions. If they continue to do this, opponents will have problems devising defensive schemes against us. The press/trap is also coming along well, and I expect more variations to emerge as the coaches come up with sets targeted at specific teams.