There was plenty to like in the Green Archers’ season-opening loss to Ateneo last Sunday. The team fought back in the second half and proved that they have what it takes to compete this season. It was just too late of a comeback as the first-half deficit, caused by over-aggressive play in the second period was just too big to overcome.
No question about the depth of talent that they have now. Once they find their groove and learn to play efficiently on both ends for 40 minutes, they should be a force to be reckoned with. However, moral victories aside, La Salle came up short.
Today, they shall attempt to bounce back against the NU Bulldogs who are coming off a crushing, buzzer-beating loss to Adamson over the weekend.
With both teams searching for their first win, this match-up promises to be a good one.
Things to watch out for:
Improved Execution. To say that the Green Archers sucked entirely in their first outing is misleading. In fact, they shot better from the field than their opponent. They had more threes, assists and steals too. It was the disparity in free throws that really made the difference. We are confident that the coaching staff was able to review everything that happened and will make the necessary adjustments in the next game.
A High-Scoring Match. Both teams love to play-up tempo ball. Most of the Bulldog’s offense will likely come from Dave Ildefonso and JL Clemente. Both players combined for more than half of their team’s point production against Adamson.
For La Salle, we expect them to play less tentative this time around. One thing going for them is that NU, for the past couple of years is not a good defensive team. With that, we look to see more aggressiveness especially inside the paint. Their foreign center Issa Gaye is foul-prone, take him out early and the team will have a field day under the rim.
More Growing Pains. This will be just their second game of the season and while we can count on them to play much better than last time, don’t expect it to be as perfect as we hope it to be. As the Green Archers strive to reach peak form, expect the coaching staff to shuffle players back for forth with the goal of establishing the right rotation moving forward. But based on their initial performance, La Salle is favored to win today’s game.
Key’s breakout. While Jamie Malonzo made good account of himself in his first game in the UAAP, Keyshawn Meeker was unable to score a point in 8 minutes of action. First game jitters perhaps? The guy can shoot the lights out so it’s only a matter of time until we see him step up. And that might be today.