Again the Green Archers dominated the middle quarters and led up to the closing minutes of the game, but lapsed into errors and allowed Adamson to pull off a come-from-behind 68-70 victory.
With the loss, the Archers dropped to solo fourth at 4-3, behind front-runner FEU with a clean 7-0 slate and a game behind Ateneo and Adamson with identical 5-2 records. The race for the final 4 continues to be tight, with 7 teams still in the running for a possible playoff slot. NU and UST are only a game behind us, with both toting 3-4 records. UE can still conceivably make also if it wins at least 6 games. Only UP seems to be out of the running after losing all their games, since it’s improbable that they can sweep the second round.
What went wrong
The defense. While the defense made things difficult for Adamson, the 70 points the Falcons scored is the most by any team against us in regulation. And we weren’t able to seriously bother their scoring, because they still hit at a 44% clip from the field. We did force them into 22 errors which is high considering that Alvarez and Canada are two of the better pgs in the league.
The Archers continued to encounter some difficulty against teams with good penetrating point guards and mobile big men who can attack from the high post. Our guards succeeded in holding Jerick Canada to 3 points, but his running mate Lester Alvarez got away with 12 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals to steer Adamson to victory in the end game.
The Archers lapsed into uncertainty in the last quarter after outplaying the Falcons through the first 3 quarters. A scoreless stretch in the first 3:46 of the 4th quarter allowed Adamson to gain momentum and close in at 59-58, and from there on it was a close game in which the more experienced Falcons succeeded in out-steadying our young team. Six errors in the 4th quarter also contributed to Adamson’s rally, and the final turnover with 5 seconds to go doomed our attempt to send the game into overtime. The Archers only managed to put in 9 points in the final 12 minutes.
Uncharacteristically the Archers committed more turnovers than the Falcons, 26-22. Some of the turnovers were the result of miscommunication among our players, showing that some work still needs to be done on the teamwork side.
The team’s inexperience also showed when Adamson’s introduced its 2-3 defense in the final quarter. This was the turning point of the game, when the team failed to solve the zone and lapsed into errors and uncertain play.
The foul shot malaise reappeared, and for the first time this season the Archers shot below 50%, going 9 out of 19. Joshua repeatedly drove into the heart of the Adamson and managed to fish 6 foul shots, but he converted only 2. Joel, Oda, Yutien, and Papot also missed at least 1 ft each, while Luigi was perfect on his 3 attempts.
What went right
The Archers showed that they can execute the game plan well, which they did for 3 full quarters. And when they do, they can make things very difficult for their foes. Good execution allowed Joshua to break free when his number was called, and he tallied 10 points on 4 fgs and 2 fts.
Our smallish team continues to surprise pundits by outrebounding their taller opponents. We won the battle of the boards, 45-34, led by chairman of the board Maui Villanueva, an undersized power forward who had 11. Jovet and Yutien hauled down 6 apiece against the athletic frontliners of Adamson.
The fighting spirit of the Archers allowed them to compete against the bigger and more experienced Falcons, but the team was let down by their inexperience, not having prepared too much against the zone employed by Adamson.
The rookie watch
Luigi topscored with 13 points in 22 minutes, making 2/3 of his 3point attempts and all of his free throws to go with 2 assists. Oda was active in attacking the internal defense of Adamson, but narrowly missed most of his shots and ended with 2 points, the same score as Papot. Almond again concentrated on playmaking and did not score, but pulled down 3 boards. Nico made a rare appearance but was unable to contribute in his limited time on the floor.
Sam was better from the 2point area than he was from the rainbow territory, making both of his attempts while making 2/7 of his triples for 10 points. Joel also contributed 10 coming from 2 triples, and held his own against the more illustrious guards of Adamson. Yutien continued to pick his shots and again was very accurate, making 3 out of his 4 attempts around the paint together with 2 fts for 8 points.
Up next are the NU Bulldogs, which gave us one of our 3 losses in the first round. The ‘dogs have good penetrating pgs and bigs who can play from the perimeter and put the ball on the floor. Just the type of team that has given us problems. Let’s see if our young ‘uns have learned their lessons well.