What a time for a breakout game. A knock out for the last bus to the semifinals. Against a very tough and mirror-like team, FEU. And doing it by:
- Coming from 10 points down in the 4th quarter (50-60, 7 minutes left in the game).
- Dropping a 17-0 N-Bomb (as in Norbert Bomb, 67-60 38 seconds to go in the game)
- Only to see it dwindle to 1, with only 8 seconds passed (67-66, 30 seconds to go in the game). Two booming triples by Romeo (from a set play), and Garcia (from an inbound interception).
- And finally salvaging the game with our usual closing out technique, SPLIT FREE THROWS by Jeron Teng and Almond Vosotros (69-66 Final Score). A 19-6 finish.
If one had a heart condition yesterday, that game would have been a very accurate diagnostic instrument of what was wrong with your heart. What a relief, but what a PROUD display of Animo. And foremost amongst the “Proud Archers” yesterday, was Norbert “the Bear”, Torres. Norbert has finally listened. He used the BANK SHOT. Result: 21 points and a monster 13 rebound game.
What made this game a very effective one for Norbert? The Re-post play at the left side of the court, his strong side. The entry pass is made when Norbert either posts up on that side, or comes from the weak side, runs across the lane, and posts up to receive the pass, or even dribbles his way to that position. FEU doubles him immediately, and Norbert swings the ball back outside. The double team man goes back to his man, and the entry pass is once again lobbed to him. Facing single coverage now, he uses is bearish body to bulldoze his way close and throws up that short semi hook bank shot. Two points. Again and again, and again. I think Norbert also missed ONLY 1 of his free throws to my recollection, so the foul strategy of FEU did not work this time.
But it wasn’t just Norbert. Yesterday was the day of the GIANTS. Arnold Van Opstal was a monster on defense, now commanding respect when FEUs slashers prowl the lane looking for an opening. He was also steady at the line, with only two misses, I think, and the highlight play of his night, a drop step on Mark Bringas, and the succeeding Tomahawk Jam, so powerful it still looked fast on the slow mo replay. That jam made me cringe as to what upside we have for this giant of a man. Jovet Mendoza was also a big factor, with his always active feet, culminated by his own highlight reel, and up and under (the armpit) move for two points. Yutien was his usual prowling self and his own highlight reel was an off the backboard pass by Thomas Torres to him, on a fastbreak play.
Hey the bigs had their highlight games yesterday. But the turning point of the game? You guessed it. Almond Vosotros’ top of the key three point shot, which cut the lead down to 1, 59-60, followed by Norbert’s follow-up short jumpshot to take the lead 61-60. We never looked back after that, except for those two brilliant triples by the FEU guards.
Tough win for us but an even tougher loss for FEU. My heart goes out to that team. They lost their last three games of the season, two against us, and one against that “replayed” NU game, something that should have never happened in the first place. Well FEU took it in stride and that is to their credit and pride as well. They could have been in another play-off, this time for a twice to beat incentive with UST if that game was not re-played.
OK, its on to Ateneo. What better time for us to face the seemingly indestructible defending champions, with our game on the upside, their team coming from a two week lay-off, and all the distractions circulating in their community. Don’t get me wrong. I do not relish a distracted opponent nor do I celebrate that. I wish that Ateneo come in at their STRONGEST. If we lose, we lose. But if we win against a lackluster team, that is a hollow victory and opens up some questions regarding their readiness. But hey. What happens in the other side of the fence is not our control, so let the events unfold and them run its natural course.
As for us, We have a Bear, a Tengsanity, a Van Awesome, a Roasted Almond, a Tayshawn Prince, a Return of the Jed, a Comeback Kid, and an Orchestrator with back-up (LA and Thomas). Do you feel DESTINY, PRIDE, or BOTH? Let the events unfold on Saturday. So let’s Go. Let’s Go Archers Let’s Go!!!!!!
Animo La Salle!!!!!!!!!!