As posted in Archerpride.com
After three consecutive losses, the Archers look to regain some pride on Sunday as they face defending champions and unbeaten Ateneo.
Coming from a tough losses against UE and UST, games which many felt we should have won, the Archers look a bit down coming into this weekend’s game against our fiercest rival. A loss could be fatal to our team’s chances of getting a playoff slot, so this game has the significance of being a must-win in more ways than one.
It will be an uphill battle for sure, with the Archers down one key big man in Yutien Andrada, leaving Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Maui Villanueva, and Papot Paredes to face Ateneo’s imposing frontliners led by seven-footer Slaughter, effective Nico Salva, Justin Chua and Frank Golla.
It must be remembered that rookie Ravena had his breakout game in our first round encounter, going off for 24 points with 22 in the first half. His early outburst helped Ateneo take control of the game and set the Archers on their heels, forcing them to play catch up all game long.
So the deck is stacked against us. How will the Archers respond?
The team has had flashes of brilliance in the first half, but only rarely have they been able to sustain the aggressiveness for the entire game. They managed to do it against UP and UE in the first round, but suffered what can only be called offensive meltdowns in managing single digit quarters in a few games.
We’ll need our big men to match Ateneo’s tall frontline. Our guards will have to vary our offensive thrusts so that Ateneo can’t set up their halfcourt defense. And our shooters will have to hit their marks. We’ll have to turn the game into a 40-minute sprinting exercise. On the other end of the court, our press will need to give Ateneo different looks, make it difficult for them to set up their efficient half court defense. We can’t leave the Ateneo shooters alone. We contained Slaughter last game but we let Ravena loose. This time, they shouldn’t be able to go anywhere on the court without an Archer in their face. And the others – Salva and Monfort, in particular, should never be allowed into the paint unescorted, or left alone on the perimeter. Lots of things need to be done, and done right if we’re to pull this one out. Against the odds.
Yet we can never count out the Archers – they may just be able to unveil a heretofore unseen fighting spirit that could help them administer a first loss to the streaking Blue Eagles. And extending this line of thinking, they could win all 4 remaining games to finish at 8-6. Just maybe.
But first things first, one game at a time. Ateneo on Sunday. Just focus all energies on this one game. No matter how farfetched it may sound, let’s pin that first loss on the blues.