Triangle Offense

Eagles claim round one by On Point

Nico Salva’s Kobe-esque jumper helped Ateneo to escape with a 76-72 overtime victory against archrival La Salle in their first tiff at the 72nd Season of the UAAP.

Wow! I blew my game prediction on this one. I understated the fact that this is a clash between Ateneo and La Salle and not just a typical rivalry game.

I gotta agree with Boom Gonzales when he said that when it’s the Eagles against Archers you gotta throw the stats away because you’ll never know who’s gonna go out on top.

We all know that with Rabeh Al Hussaini being the cornerstone of your offense and Nonoy Baclao protecting the paint, Ateneo has the best frontline in the UAAP today.

La Salle meanwhile, is not that beefed up at the front court.

Arvie Bringas? Give him one more year to be a legit go-to guy down the stretch. Yes, he unleashed 21 points and 8 boards against UST the last time around but, prior to that he averaged 3 points per game. He’s just not yet consistent enough to be a presence in the middle.

Looking at these points, you expect Ateneo to go all out and pounce on La Salle’s interior D, however, as things turned out, it was the Eagles’ inside defense that got pounded.

The Green Archers converted 24 of their 40 points from the paint at the end of the first half alone. Plus, Joshua Webb went berserk, firing 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half.

Webb went 11-for-12 from the free throw line, 6-for-7 from the field and a perfect 1-for-1 on kicks thrown but unfortunately he ran out of steam in the end game.

Another factor why Ateneo never dominated the game is Rabeh’s sub par performance. Well, yeah, he did get injured at the six-minute mark of the fourth but still, he’s not in his MVP form all throughout.

Not to mention, Yutien “Tayshaun” Andrada checked him well enough with two resounding blocks.

The rookie Andrada played like a vet today, he finished with 2 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks, 2 steals and a smile after his first block on Rabeh.

Good thing for Ateneo is that Kobe Bryant taught Nico Salva well. After a traveling violation while doing a Kobe jab step move and a costly error, he made up with the game sealing basket with only 14.7 ticks left in OT to finish with 10 points.

Also, the Eagles have to thank Salamat for his 13 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.

Lastly, why did some still wore their respective shirt colors when everyone is expected to sport a yellow shirt for Tita Cory? I don’t get it. Even Joseph Yeo wore green.

Anyway, this was another classic. Stay tuned for round two. Ciao!