Everyone on the La Salle side (not just the team) has the following mantra going into tomorrow’s game two of the UAAP men’s basketball finals: No Tomorrow and Do or Die. Basically, if Ateneo wins tomorrow, the back-to-back championship bid will be over. Otherwise, a winner takes all match will occur on Sunday to determine this year’s UAAP men’s basketball kings.
I personally expect to see adjustments on both ends for the Green Archers in tomorrow’s game. On offense, I would like to see an adjustment when Ben gets the basketball and how La Salle’s offense will go from there. Ateneo did a good job on their help defense positioning in game one by clogging the paint and allowing Ben to take a forced shot inside or forcing Ben to kick it out to the farthest pass on the opposite side of the court.
With this, it will be interesting to see how La Salle’s offense will look like because I expect it not to be that similar in game one and I am hoping that these adjustments will allow the Green Archers to execute better on offense, not just in crunch time, but the whole game long. I am still wishing for a consistent performance from the Green Archers from the get-go and hopefully the team will not exert that much effort just to come back and play catch-up once again.
Still on the offensive execution portion, I would also like to see the Green Archers set the offensive sets on a quicker pace so that it will not always boil down to an isolation play just to get a field goal attempt on an offensive possession. I thought this hurt the Green Archers in the fourth quarter last Saturday wherein the team had botched offensive possessions which could have helped establish a good lead in a relatively close game at that stretch of the game.
On defense, I thought that the Green Archers lacked the energy and hunger back in game one to chase for those 50-50 balls and this is where Ateneo got their game and groove going as well. With the season on the line tomorrow, I also expect the team to come out with more energy which could probably produce more fast break and turnover points should half court baskets come challenging and difficult once again in tomorrow’s game.
Again, I would like to give emphasis on the x-factor players of the game on both teams. These x-factor game-changing players are not just there to bail out the team should the key players get defended well and will not be able to produce a regular offensive output, but they also add problems to their respective opponents should the key players generate their normal or extraordinary game outputs on both ends of the floor.
There is no need to mention names as to who those x-factor players for each team will be at this point given the gravity of the situation in tomorrow’s game, I expect all players that will be fielded in should have a chip on their shoulders to play well and rise on any adversity that will come their way. In short, play without fear.
Apart from the expected X’s and O’s adjustments for tomorrow’s game, I will again emphasize that a huge factor that will help contribute for a La Salle win tomorrow is their consistency on playing at a high level on both ends of the floor. Playing catch-up all the time will be difficult, regardless of any team. I am not sure if this can be considered a silver lining but, in all three games this season, the Green Archers are in the thick of the fight despite having to play with a switch to change the level of intensity on all those games.
There is no need to overthink what must be done in tomorrow’s game. I think everyone knows what is on the line on tomorrow’s game. I expect both teams to go all out and lay everything on the basketball floor. I strongly suggest that if you are not up for it, do not watch and make silly and boneheaded comments after the game. Regardless of the result of tomorrow’s game, I would like everyone to know that I am very proud of this team. Good luck and God speed.