Contributed by Proud Archer
Editor’s Note: This post was shared to us by one of our regular readers.
After the graduation of shooting great J.V. Casio, I have never seen anyone else step into his shoes as far as free throw shooting efficiency goes. Much has been said about De La Salles free throw shooting these past three seasons but one thing was always consistent. Our INCONSISTENCY from the stripe.
If you take the perspective of the proverbial “everybody is a genius hindsight”, then you will come to the conclusion that basketball wise, we really didn’t do that badly, specially two years ago, the first year of coach Dindo Pumaren. As a matter of fact, that 2010 team surprised everyone by making it to the final four, only to be beaten by eventual runner-up, FEU, also runners-up last season. If we are to look for just one glaring statistic that haunted us the past 3 seasons, it will be this. Free throw shooting accuracy.
I do not know what goes through the mind of a UAAP free throw shooter. But it seems that a lot more is going through the mind of a De La Salle Green Archer free throw shooter, than most other teams. Some clubs even take the free throws as a strategy. Get the other team in foul trouble early so that they go to the free throw line. This way, you can score unmolested, and time does not run out on you.
Alas, the free throw shooting monkey is STILL on our backs.
We may put undue pressure on the boys as Alumni, students, or just plain fans. But at this level of basketball, I would suppose that the norm for free throw shooting accuracy is around 60-65%, or even around 70% for some good free throw shooting teams. A few fans and supporters will already dismiss our current free throw shooting woes as “getting old”.
Yesterday, that ‘getting old” cliche just bit us in the back once again.
I will be the first to acknowledge that we actually played GREAT BASKETBALL. We limited the scoring of two of the greatest shooting guards in the history of the UAAP. We pulled surprises in not playing some of our other players like Luigi De La Paz, Papot Paredes, and LA Revilla (who hand an ankle injury). We succeeded in getting monster import Anthony Hargrove into early foul trouble, and render him ineffective most of the game. Russel Escoto, his back-up was a non factor. We had our back-up point guards play efficiently in place of LA. And even if we missed shots left and right (credit the FEU defense also), we did not allow FEU to make theirs either (credit OUR defense as well).
We forced FEU to look for other options.They eventually went to Arvie Bringas, the former Green Archer who plays with passion (we do miss him admittedly), Bryan Cruz (who buried a crucial jumpshot) and Mike Tolomia (who made the winning jumpshot). The last play was a good coaching decision by FEU, as their two main shooting guards Garcia and Romeo, were covered very adequately. Good defense though, on our part, as Tolomia’s shot was challenged by Teng (though he was a little bit too late). That was a great shot.
It was also good for Arvie Bringas that FEU won the game. The former Green Archer missed both his free throws (Hahahaha. A former Green Archer to). This opened the door for La Salle to win in outright via a three point shot, which we attempted, with Vosotros getting a good look. He missed (tough luck for us as this is part of the breaks of the game). If they had lost…..well……
OK, this is a FEEL GOOD LOSS. Seriously. Do you REALLY FEEL GOOD after losing yesterday? I can only speak for myself and my answer is NO. FEU beat us with the jumpshot, that’s true. But we put OURSELVES in that situation. The Tolomia jumpshot was an opportunity FEU took and they made it. On the other side of the coin, our free throws were OUR opportunities that we mostly missed. Well, FEU won the game.
Don’t despair though Archers. We now have a very competitive team. We are no longer whipping boys. Look at NU. Terrific offense, bad defense. The chink in their armor has been exposed. Their running game is both their strength (offense), and their weakness (defense). Ateneo itself in not unscathed. Their weakness is their second unit, forcing Norman Black to make Ryan Buenafe come off the bench. They are not as deep as last year, but mind you, the defending champions are just that. DEFENDING CHAMPIONS. Their core is STILL the deadliest combination in the UAAP today.
Never mind if we win or lose basketball games becasue the other team played better than us. My only appeal????? PRACTICE YOUR FREE THROWS.