If not for those two games that slipped away in the final moments, the Green Archers could have been at the top of the team standings right now. But as it is, they are currently at fourth spot and are looking to start their second round campaign on a high note as they face the team that dealt them perhaps their only convincing loss of the season. In their first round match-up, La Salle shot poorly from the field and committed a bunch of turnovers on both ends. It was basically a game they could have also won had they just shown some intensity especially on defense right from the very start.
The Bulldogs are coming off an amazing come-from-behind win over UP the other week. Down by 21 points at the start of the second half, NU simply fought their way back and finally seized the lead during the final minute of the game. That win just shows how big of an improvement this team is now not only in talent but also in terms of mental toughness. Past NU teams would have just wilted when faced with a supposedly insurmountable deficit.
The Archers had no answer for Mbe the last time around. Scoring 21 points and collaring 19 rebounds, the NU import totally dominated the paint over our big men. Expect Papot, Yutien and Ferdinand to take turns in limiting his inside production. Joshua, Jovet and Maui are also in for a tough grind against the physical frontline of NU.
Our guards need to get their outside shooting going in order to soften up the Bulldogs’ defense. The team had a hard time against Adamson’s 2-3 zone last week so if NU will apply the same strategy, it’s really important that they need to connect from the perimeter.
Our big men will play a key role in this game. For a young and lean frontline, it is quite surprising to know that the Archers lead the league in rebounding and inside points. They should come out and play with a lot of energy on the defensive end.
Entering the midway point of the season, it is important for La Salle to have some separation against NU and UST in order to solidify their place among the top four.