by Franco Rimando II
“Peaking at the right time” is a phrase commonly used amongst DLSU fans when talking about our men’s basketball team for the past 4 or 5 years. It best describes the attitude of La Sallians when the Green Archers’ drive for the post-season hits a few stumbling blocks.
In a way, it sort of consoles fellow fans, myself included, that there is hope and sort of an escape whenever our team performs poorly. The game versus the Tamaraws last Tuesday was perfect example of when to use such a term. However it is not as consoling this time because this time we are faced with another thought, “do we have enough time?”
The Archers shot poorly from the beyond arc, defense was on-and-off especially from the 3 point area and the way we played was uncharacteristic of the talent that composes the team. Sure, we can say that FEU was spot-on lucky during that game but looking at the statistics and the way we played against UE, UP during the second round, I think this is beyond the opponent’s “lucky steak”.
The Tamaraws drew first blood last Tuesday, and our Green Archers trailing behind closely during most of the 1st period. However a series of turnovers hounded our team at the later part of the 1st quarter, allowing the Tamaraw’s lead to balloon by 10 at the close of the period. The 2nd quarter was when the Tamaraws made most of the Archer’s “perimeter defense”, or lack of it, with the former shooting 45% and 60 %from the perimeter and 3pt area, respectively. The Tamaraw’s lead then ballooned to 16pts before closing the half at 29 – 42, Archers trailing by 13.
The 3rd quarter was a spectacle to any Archer fan as the team’s defense finally “clicked”. It seemed that “peaking at the right time” could also apply to a game.
The Tamaraws were held to just 5points during the period with zero field goals. This allowed the Green Archers to lead for the 1st time amid a 5 point rally led by a tip-in by Mike Phillips and 3 point baseline jumper by Even Nelle. The quarter ended with Archers maintaining lead, 49 – 47. The 4th quarter saw a series of traded baskets versus the Tamaraws, and it seemed like the Archers offense was finally turned “on”. However, come the 3-minute mark our best point guard Evan Nelle suffered a calf strain forcing him to exit the court. This led to a change in momentum in the Archer offense, as ball rotation started to suffer once again. The game finally ended with our team trailing by 5 points, 62 – 67.
The way the team defended during the 3rd period allowed the Archers to get back in the ball game! Checking the 2nd half statistics, the Archers did fairly well, limiting turnovers to 1 while forcing the opponent 8 turnovers. Ball rotation also improved, especially on the way the team capitalized on the match-up problems Gilas standout Balty Baltazar creates against fellow UAAP bigs.
However, no matter how rosy the 2nd half was for the Archers, the game still did not end in our favor. So far, in our last 2 outings the Archers have been finding themselves in a hole-too-big to get out off. The main culprit is the way the team’s roster is being transitioned. So far, rotation on average includes a 10-man line-up, maybe we can attribute this to the team’s possible lack of stamina given that the team is relatively new, but given that we are already in the middle of the 2nd half of the season the question that was pose at the start of this review can’t help but be asked.
Do we have enough time? There is still time! I strongly believe in our Archers but a lot work is needed.
Up next in the list are the Adamson Soaring Falcons. The game is set at 1pm at the MOA Arena.
Animo La Salle!