by Franco Rimando II
The De la Salle Green Archers suffered their first “BIG” loss in season 84, going down to the more experienced Ateneo Blue Eagles a 57-74, last April 2, 2022 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The loss dropped La Salle out of the lead they had previously shared with their opponent at 3-0, and are now tied for second with UP, with both teams toting a 3-1 slate.
The Archers drew first blood when Deschon Winston was fouled, and sent to the charity stripe, where he canned both freebies to allow the Archers to lead 2-0. That was a short-lived advantage. Stung by the first score, the Blue Eagles defense settled down to work on their usual patterns, foremost of which was defense. The active harassment made the Archers take shots under duress, and under pressure, the team shot very poorly at a 4/17 shooting clip. The first quarter went the way of the blue team, 11-16.
In the second quarter, the Green Archers somewhat recovered their cohesiveness with rookie Michael Phillips leading the effort together with our 2nd stringers. Phillips poured in 9 of his 13 points to raise some concern from the blues that the Archers would be a tougher nut to crack. The half ended with the Archers down by only 3 points at 32-35. It looked like we were in for a competitive game.
The 3rd period started off on a bad note with the Eagles immediately scoring a 3 from the beyond the arc. However, a strong Archer defensive effort carried over from their 2nd quarter efforts, and led to a series of stops that allowed the Taft-based squad to be stay within 1 point. The Archers then had 2 chances to gain the lead but the Archers offense couldn’t convert, to which the the Blue Eagles responded with an 11-0 burst. The drought was broken when Mark Nonoy made 1-out-of-3 freethrows on an Eagle foul, but the Archers offensive woes persisted, and with the pressure, launched a lot of forced shots following poor ball rotation. The quarter ended with the Archers trailing by 11 points.
The 4th period was more of the same. The shell-shocked Archers’ game fell apart, teamwork and play patterns on both ends were forgotten, and the team resorted to individual efforts which couldn’t work against the in-form Blue Eagles. To illustrate their struggles, team Captain Balty Baltazar and Michael Phillips were held scoreless in the period. Ball rotation, shot selection and team chemistry was very poor. The quarter could be best summarized by our head coach’s end-game comment: “Kind of frustrating the way we played. We made lots of mistakes out there, we did not execute the things we were doing offensively. We just gave up. That’s the way I see it”.
The game finally ended with DLSU trailing by 17 points with a score of 57-74.
What needs improvement?
Ball rotation. Too much dribbling and not enough passing to find creases in the active Ateneo defensive line.
This led to lots of forced shots. There were lots of instances where our guards used up most of the shot clock dribbling around the perimeter! Indeed, Ateneo’s defense was intermittently good to great, but other times our player’s eagerness to showcase their talents led them to play out of system. The lack of teamwork was exemplified in our team captain getting very limited touches despite being the most consistent offensively in our line-up. Again, maybe can attribute this to our team’s lack of time to practice as a team so moving forward. We hope we can see our players team chemistry improve as the season progresses.
The Future is bright
There were sparks of brilliance during the game. Most notable, was how Michael Phillips performed and how well he was able to contest and win some battles underneath against Ateneo’s Ange Kouame. There was even a play were Michael was able to block players Koume, something that very rarely if ever happens to Kouame.. Phillips leaping ability and nose for the ball was highlighted during the game. As the season progress, we hope to see him gain more confidence and hopefully continue to provide the boost the team needs.
The Archers were able to force the Blue Eagles to a series of shot clock violations during the game. There were even instances where the Blue Eagles were not able to bring the ball down to the half-court. However, consistency was the issue. It seems like the team just needs more time to develop more in this aspect! We are still just on our 4th game and Im hoping that come the 2nd round our team will be more cohesive and able to trust each other more on defense!
The De La Salle Green Archers will have another game tomorrow, April 5 at the MOA against the UST Growling Tigers. The major difference this time is that patrons can now be accepted to the stands and cheer for their teams. We hope to see the sea of green once again tomorrow. See you all at 10am!
Animo La Salle!