The Green Archers enter the Final 4 coming off a 2-game losing streak after they yielded their last game to Adamson, 64-69. With the loss, the Archers finished the eliminations in 4th place with an 8-6 record.
The Archers started off strong, streaking to a 12point lead 18-6 with 2 minutes to go behind a balanced scoring of 7 players led by Sam and Almond who connected on their 3point attempts. However, Adamson closed the quarter with a 9-0 blast behind a pair of treys from Alvarez. The Falcons started to wax hot from the long court in the second quarter, hitting 3 out of their 6 attempts to finally take the lead, 26-27 at the 2:29 mark before taking the half, 30-33. In an ominous turn of events, the Archers committed more errors in the first half, 10-9.
The tide turned in the 3rd quarter, where Adamson took control by hitting 5 out of their 9 3point attempts while our team missed all 4. With both teams making only 4 2point shots, the Falcons took a 13point lead to begin the 4th, which gave them enough of a cushion to weather a furious Archer rally which saw our team outscore Adamson, 21-12 as Sam and Almond hit a couple of treys each. However, it was a case of too little, too late as the rally fell short with missed free throws.
What went wrong
The usual culprits.
Turnovers – again we committed more turnovers than the opponents, 20-17. Yutien had 4 to somewhat offset his accomplishments in other areas, and Oda had 3. Our usually reliable guard corps also contributed to the error tally, with Simon, Joel, and Nico committing 2 each.
Our usually effective frontline was unable to keep their Adamson counterparts away from the boards, and we only had a 1-rebound advantage, 43-42. The taller Falcons had more offensive boards, 15-19, and this was particularly telling in the 4th quarter where Adamson pulled down 7 offensive rebounds behind Manyara’s 5. This was a major factor in blunting our rally late in the game.
Ah, free throws. 8 out of 17. If this were an exam, another failing grade. Yutien again struggled from the line, hitting only 3 out of 8. Usually steady Luigi also missed a couple of fts. Again, the number of misses exceeded the losing margin of the game.
The Archers’ usual source of easy points also dried up against Adamson, and for the first time in a loooong while, the team failed to score any fastbreak points, while the Falcons made 6. Adamson also was able to capitalize on our errors, scoring 19 against our 14 turnover points.
For the second straight game, Simon and Maui acted as the barometers of the team’s performance, both quiet on the offense with a combined 6 points between them. Simon played only 11 minutes, and his leadership and playmaking was sorely missed. Maui played 21 minutes, but only managed 5 rebounds against the taller and more physical Adamson bigs.
What went right
Our top 3 scorers were a pair of rookies and a sophomore: Almond (13), Sam (11), and Luigi (9). Collectively, they accounted for more than half of our team’s points. Our bigs followed with Jovet (8), Yutien (7), and Maui (4).
Our assists, a stat which was sorely missed against UE, resurfaced as our players shared the ball for 17 assists, led by Almond with 4, with Sam, Maui, Spider, and Joel contributing 2 each. However, it was not enough to reverse the trend against the taller and more experienced Adamson team.
Sam finally regained his shooting touch from afar, hitting 3 out of his 10 tries. Almond also unveiled his long range shooting as he made all 3 of his attempts.
The rookie watch
Almond played for 25 minutes, probably his most this season, topscored with 13 points, making 5/7 from the field to go with his 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Luigi played his usual support role and was also accurate from the field, making 4/7. Martin Reyes made a rare appearance and scored his first field goal of his UAAP career. Papot and Oda scored a basket each.
Sam scored in double digits with 11 as he continued to work his way back into shape following a bout with dengue. Yutien had an up-and-down game, hauling down 10 rebounds and blocking 5 shots while scoring 7 points but missing 5 of his 8 fts. Joel had limited minutes, but managed to contribute 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Gab saw action for 3 minutes and missed his only attempt.
The team’s performance in their final elimination round game was so-so, as they allowed themselves to be rattled by the inconsistent calls of the officials. An excellent start was derailed by some good play by the Falcons and aided by questionable calls, and the Archers never fully regained their composure. It’s also not sure if this game was used by the coaches to test some combinations – a total of 15 players saw action, and only Aiki failed to play.
Whether the Archers will face FEU or Ateneo, it will be expected that they will dish out their usual never-say-die spirit. Hopefully they will be able to create and sustain their momentum throughout the game.
KEEP THE FAITH!