Triangle Offense


La Salle manages to stay afloat, keeps legacy hopes alive by _celestial
September 4, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , ,

The Univ. Of Santo Tomas Tigers has won only once over the De La Salle Archers since 1999. There’s something about La Salle that UST just can’t beat. Speed? FC Press? COACH? JINX? Well.

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Then-off form La Salle ended their five-game tailspin and kept their slim final four hopes alive by escaping UST, 68-64, as veteran James Mangahas rose up to the occasion in a very tight and emotion-filled contest at the Araneta Colisuem today.

I know we won’t meet eye to eye when I try to discuss the obviously lopsided officiating, which was predictable from the onset, really, so I’d just start by commending Mangahas for his stellar performance tonight, squeezing in the 15 crucial points in mere 13 minutes. He even capped his amazing 5-of-8 shooting with a daggey trey, hitting right smack the heart of the Tigers’ offense with less than a minute left in the ball game, en route to the victory.

Mangahas crushed UST’s hopes in their first meeting, and he did so yet again in their second try. But wasn’t he really expected to pace La Salle, being the veteran that he is?

Inarguably, one of La Salle’s main problems this season is the lack of the a go-to-guy come crunch time, the one you give the ball to for the winning play or that player who takes charge in the run, and no has really responded to the golden call of Coach Franz Pumaren in the recent games. If only Mangahas found his rythm early in this season, or if the other veterans came to the rescue to the ailing La Salle, this final four situation could have been different.

Anyway, the Archers hit their strides early with the rookies and sophomores manning the floor, rolling to an 18-point spread in the first half. (Ofcourse, Bringas contributed a trey and probably 10 complaints, but it was all good.) The Tigers were able to cut it to 12 points before the very entertaining half time show featuring La Salle and UST’s male cheerers doing something that reminds me of Chris Tiu’s commercial for Greenwich (“PARE! SOBRANG CHEESY!). But it was a very nice gesture.

UST managed to tie the game at 43 all and kept it a close contest then on, underscored by Ababou’s tenacious offensive thurst. I daresay he’s really living up to this premature title of “King Tiger” and we just couldn’t discount Coach Raiko Toroman’s contribution to that.

However, UST was never able to pull away from La Salle in the second half despite their offense slowly picking up. They terribly missed point blank layups or short stabs and did poorly from beyond the arch, going 3 for 13. They were even lucky that La Salle committed too many turnovers. Plus, all of their lenghty wingmen got into foul trouble and they couldn’t do much on the defensive end because of it.

Because of the horrible three point conversions, Jeric Teng, who finished with subpar 10 points, wasn’t able to convince La Salle’s players to give in to his usually stingy fakes in the perimeter, limiting his trips to the line and ultimately limiting himself from possibly botched attempts. So you wouldn’t be surprised that no one took a trey after Mangahas’ pivotal triple to stay in the game because no one really got in the groove for UST the entire game.

UST had a chance to score in the winding minutes of the ball game.  But let’s just stay, things are too sticky to explain.

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UST is still in fourth place with a 6-6 ledger while La Salle remains in the hunt with 5-7.

For Archers to be able to get a final four berth outright, they must hurdle FEU this Saturday and NU next week and hope UST loses all of their remaining games over Adamson and UE. For them to force a playoff between UST, they still must win all of their games and hope for UST to lose atleast one of their remaining assigmnents. But if they do lose to FEU this Saturday, they sure as hell should hope UST messes up all of their remaining games to force a playoff, which given the history between these two teams, could favor them.

The Tamaraws are obviously tough to beat though, and losing is actually not an option right now for the Archers with the Tigers just waiting eagerly in the wings.

La Salle has never missed the Final Four since the UAAP was reformatted in 1994. The schedule seems more favorable for UST. Could this possibly be Pumaren’s first time to just rest in the post-season?



UAAP August 30 (Saturday) Predictions by On Point
August 29, 2009, 3:24 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , ,

The De La Salle Green Archers (4-6), who are holding on for dear life to stay in contention for a semi-final berth, will clash with the uprising  Univ. of the East Red Warriors (6-4), who are finally living up to their potential as one of the top dogs pf the league after a so-so first round, in the main event.

La Salle, who suffered a sorry loss to spoilsport State U, is in a hostile situation with an egregious four-game slump, while UE tries to build on to their momentum as the semi-final round draws near.

Meanwhile, after being assured of a final four stint following a win against Adamson last week, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws (9-2) are now setting their sights on the twice-to-beat edge when they face the resilient University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons (3-7) in the first game at 2pm.

FEU versus UP

thesportsminded: FEU by 11 points.

The Giant killers are once again in a match against a top ranked team. Can they pull another one? I just don’t think so. After losing to UE, the Tams wants to gain a much needed momentum going into the final four.

KC13: FEU by 12 points.

The dangerous UP squad might have gotten the hang of playing party pooper to final four hopefuls, but they wouldn’t be able to pull the same trick on Coach Capacio’s watch. FEU is hungry to take what they think is rightfully theirs—a twice to beat incentive coming into the semis and unfortunately for UP, they’re first on the to-do list.

OnPoint: FEU by 15

As a team, defense beats offense. Plus, the Tams just won’t allow back-to-back losses and they are out with a vengeance after that embarrassing loss to the Warriors the last time out.

DLSU versus UE

thesportsminded: UE by eight points.

Here’s the situation for La Salle: Win or Kiss the final four goodbye. They’re not officially eliminated if they lose but they’re more or less paralyzed as their chance won’t be fully in their hands anymore. This one, unlike UE’s runaway first round massacre, would be closer but I just don’t think La Salle has it in them to pull this one off.

KC13: UE by nine points.

UE has become virtually invincible downlow as of the late. There is now way La Salle could match UE’s intensity in the paint with just the rookies taking charge.

OnPoint: UE by 15 points.

Look for another disappearing act by the trio of Barua-Malabes-Mangahas. UE, meanwhile, is finally figuring the pieces out. Scary. End of the story.



FEU locks in final four berth; NCAA Friday (August 28) Predictions by _celestial
August 28, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FEU hit their strides in the second half after a slow start to finally grab a ticket to the semi-finals, after being stopped on its tracks by the resurgent UE last Sunday, with the 84-75 drubbing of Adamson yesterday.

Also nearing a twice-to-beat incentive is the league-leading Ateneo  following an easy win over NU yesterday, holding them to one of the worst scoring outings in a quarter with only three points then finishing them off, 75-54.

Another win would give Ateneo a commanding twice-to-beat advantage to further solifiy their title defense.

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Letran and Arellano, two teams who are fighting to shatter the idle fourth place tie (7-4),clash today in a crucial setto that will determine the remaining final four cast after San Beda, JRU and San Sebastian have virtually occupied the first three spots with their impressive campaign.

Arellano tries to repulse Letran anew after their 81-72 meeting that went in favor of the Chiefs in the first round. Letran, however, looks to avenge their loss with the help of the rejuvanted RJ Jazul,  who was held to a low eight points their last meeting, but has been lights out in their latest victories.

Emilio Aguinaldo College and Perpetual Help, who are prematurely out of the contention with 2-9, 3-8 cards, respectively, square off at 2pm.

Predictions:

pr_1249312058_EACGeneralslogoversus university-of-perpetual-help-dalta-system-altas

The Sports Minded: Perpetual Help by six points.

It’s just a matter of who would have a great game today.

KC13: Perpetual Help by eight points.

Perpetual has better scorers, expect them to give it all.

125px-Knightslogoversus pr_1249311895_ArellanoChiefslogo

The Sports Minded: Letran by five points.

This would be one heck of a game. Both teams are equally talented and it will all boil down to poise and killer instinct down the stretch. Experience plus Coach Louie Alas’ brilliance will be enough.

KC13: Letran by four points.

These two teams have waited for this day to come after they have been lodged  in a tie for so long. It’s one of the better match ups in the league where two of today’s best scorers in Giorgio Ciriacruz and RJ Jazul are tasked to lead their team. The one who will execute better in the payoff period will win it.



Ateneo, FEU look for easy W’s; UAAP August 27 (Thursday) Predictions by On Point
August 27, 2009, 2:35 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , ,

Top seed Ateneo Blue Eagles and the Far Eastern University Tamaraws will look to solidify their contention for the twice-to-beat advantage come final four when they face the National University Bulldogs and the Adamson Falcons respectively.

Ateneo (9-1), the only team yet to be assured of a final four seat, will battle listless National U (2-8) in the main event at 4pm while second seed Far Eastern U (8-2) , who’s eight game winning streak was snapped by Univ. of the East in its last game, will try to avoid another sleazy stint against the upstart Adamson (3-7) in the first game scheduled at 2pm.

A victory by the Tamaraws will finally earn them a berth to the final four.

FEU_Tamaraws_logoversus125px-AdamsonFalcons

thesportsminded: FEU by five points

In the first round, FEU narrowly escaped the Falcons. I see this battle being close as well. After an upset defeat in the hands of UE last Sunday, Coach Glenn Capacio won’t allow another.

KC13: FEU by nine points

Seeing how Adamson managed to rise up from their first round debacle, another upset to further derail FEU’s semis bid could be possible. However, considering FEU’s eagerness to seal the deal and the fact that Aldrech Ramos had a subpar performance their last meaning, Coach Leo Austria’s troop might need to double the effort if they want to win.

On Point: FEU by 10 points

throw out the first round result where the Tamaraws barely won. the Tams got crushed in their last game, they just won’t allow another one. Both of these teams love to play slow, both focus on their halfcourt sets but with FEU having the more potent offense and better defense, this game will be out of reach come second half.

blueeagleversus NU_Bulldogs_logo

thesportsminded: Ateneo by 18 points

What the hell?!

KC13: Ateneo by 15 points

Ateneo will win over NU. But anything can still happen. UP has proven so against La Salle and Ateneo. Ateneo wouldn’t want another sorry loss.

On Point: Ateneo by 16 points

Here’s the analogy: UP won over Ateneo while, NU beat UP. So which means NU can also beat Ateneo given the scenario? Not really, lest bad officiating and injuries. Why so? ’cause NU just doesn’t have the firepower to do so. Ateneo, with its man power, can easily defend NU, who certainly lacks players who can score.

Ateneo will win over NU. But anything can still happen. UP has proven so against La Salle and Ateneo. Ateneo wouldn’t want another sorry loss.
On Point: Ateneo by 16
Here’s the analogy: UP won over Ateneo while, NU beat UP. So which means NU can also beat Ateneo given the odd scenarios happened? Not really, lest bad officiating and injuries. Why so? ’cause NU just doesn’t have the firepower to do so. Ateneo, with its man power, can easily defend NU, who certainly lacks players who can score.


FINAL FOUR PREVIEW? UAAP Sunday (August 23) Predictions by _celestial

FINAL FOUR PREVIEW?

As La Salle’s chances for a semifinals  bid started to ebb away following UP’s clobbering of the Green Achers, 83-78, earlier today, UST and UE, who boast of an identical 5-4 record prematurely completing the final four, will face a tough challenge in shattering the third place tie as they go against the league’s top two teams tomorrow.

The Tigers, who bowed down to the same team in a rout in the first round, tries to pull an upset over the rejuvenated Eagles in the first game at 2pm while the Warriors shoot for a first win over the Tamaraws in the main event pegged at 4pm after putting up a tight contest almost three weeks ago.

Predictions:

UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus blueeagle

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by nine points.

Ateneo is playing big right now. Only a flawless game by UST can give them a chance. Anything less won’t get it done.

KC13: Ateneo by 15 points.

Pick your poison. UST, despite its explosive gunners and athletic forwards, still hasn’t learned to play D  as we’ve seen in that awful showing against UP. They will face a double whammy in limiting Al Hussaini’s production down low while preventing Ateneo’s outside stringers. Theydon’t have a center who plays big in the paint that will be able to provide them interior D. If they are lucky to be able to pick the less deadly’ poision in the two and make Ateneo play their running game, they have a shot. Although pulling off a high-scoring venture would favor them, if they start giving away counterpat baskets on the offensive end, forget about winning this game, or even another championship.

P.S. If Ababou goes into early foul trouble, forget everything.

On Point: Ateneo by 10 points.

The main weapon for the Tigers is their offense. If UST’s three-point shooting shows up, this will be a tight contest. If not, this will be another rout. Again, the Tigers must control the boards to be able to run. Ababou’s outside shooting must drop to open the lane for Teng and other slashers of UST. For Ateneo, they would want to attack the inside early to create open shots for their jump shooters. UST can’t afford not to double-team Al-Hussaini thus, Salamat, Reyes and co. will be open. If the Tigers don’t close-out quickly, Ateneo will have a field day from downtown.

ue versus FEU_Tamaraws_logo

The Sports Minded: FEU by 14 points.

FEU will make this a statement game.

KC13: FEU by single digits.

This is actually one of the better matchups to watch in the league right now. UE can keep up with  FEU’s size. Especially downlow where Aldrech Ramos thrives, they have Pari Llagas and Elmer Espiritu to patrol. One of FEU’s edge lie on its backcourt. UE may have Paul Lee, but he’s more of a scoring point. With that, ball movement will be the key knowing that some of UE’s players have the tendency to take ill-advised shots.

On Point: FEU by eight points.

Besides Ateneo, UE is the only other team that can bang with FEU down low. The only problem for the Red Warriors is who will they use to defend the wing players of the Tamaraws? Plus, UE is loaded with players with a shoot-first mentality thus, their players tend to look for their own shots whether it’s forced or hurried which will hurt them ’cause FEU, on the other hand is known for limiting its opponents to just one shot per possession.



Where UST lost it and UP had it. by _celestial
August 21, 2009, 12:24 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
The UST Tigers succumbed to their ‘usual’ second half collapse by squandering a whopping 31-point lead, but ultimately escaped with a 93-88 hard fought victory over the pesky UP Maroons earlier today.
The Tigers took control early in the game as they surged to a 16-2 blitz in the first quarter and kept the Maroons at bay in the entire second period with virtually every member of UST at the firing end, en route to the biggest lead posted against the maroons the entire season (the last was by UE at 30).
Top MVP candidate Dylan Ababou and sniper Tata Bautista exploded for 40 points combined in that feat, all before the UST Salinggawi Dance Troup gave their rather amusing performance at the half, 55-28.
Ababou finished with 23 points.
Coach Lawrence Chongson of the UE Red Warriors said in an interview last summer (Not his exact words) that “it’s always hard playing the lead.” I didn’t totally believe so, but after seeing UST’s unfortunate second half meltdown, I couldn’t be more convinced.
In the recent years, UST has always had this problem of keeping their lead after they come out of that locker. I have always wondered what Coach Pido Jarencio tells them at halftime that makes their game a far cry from what transpired just 10 minutes earlier in the ballgame.
Today he commended the boys for a job well done in the first half then UST zoomed to its biggest lead at 31 on Camus’ charities, with less than a minute shaved off the clock in the third.
But that Coach Pido’s praises didn’t come through for UST’s players.
That’s where UST lost it and UP had it.
Tigers’ rookie Marco Cam, who probably spent about .10 seconds on the floor, gave out a cheap, unnecessary body shot to Maroon’s Alvin Padilla, causing him to be thrown out of the planet.
From then on, the Tigers started playing their nasty, sloppy game (which I warned you about in yesterday’s predictions) throwing the leather like they were playing American football, for crying out loud! Seven straight turnovers, totaling to 11 in the third quarter against only one by the Maroons, led by Khasim “the missing act” Mirza, who seemed to be having a lot of problems holding on to the ball.
This is surprising knowing that UP turns over the ball more than…Wait, I’ll think of something. But they did turnover the ball nine times in just the second quarter, but they held on firmly to the ball when it mattered.
However, the ‘Fighting Maroons’ finally gave justice to their name by not giving up on each play despite being down by double digits. They executed the full court press effectively that obviously rattled the Tigers, they forced turnovers that they converted to baskets, they contested shots and most importantly, they made their shots!
As much as I hate to write about Woody Co, I just couldn’t avoid this moment. Co was responsible for UP’s valiant comeback, including that off-the-glass triple that cut UST’s lead to seven points with still 26 seconds left. Anything can happen to the UAAP and they were still able to cut it down to five points.
Co even had a chance to cut the deficit even further with eight seconds left after that very sill foul by Khasim Mirza on the rainbow territory. But Co didn’t deliver, missing 2 of his 3 charities.
Time wasn’t on UP’s side (in TJ Manotoc’s words, “they were 30 seconds too late”). UST went on winning the game in a very unflattering fashion that, I’m guessing, made Coach Pido yell until his eyeballs popped or his vocal chords sacked.
But, trust me, we can’t blame him.

The UST Tigers succumbed to their ‘usual’ second half collapse by squandering a whopping 31-point lead, but ultimately escaped with a 93-88 hard fought victory over the pesky UP Maroons earlier today.

The Tigers took control early in the game as they surged to a 16-2 blitz in the first quarter and kept the Maroons at bay in the entire second period with virtually every member of UST at the firing end, en route to the biggest lead posted against the maroons the entire season (the last was by UE at 30).

Top MVP candidate Dylan Ababou and sniper Tata Bautista exploded for 40 points combined in that feat, all before the UST Salinggawi Dance Troup (or the Yellow Jackets, whichever, I didn’t watch) gave theiramusing performance at the half, 55-28.

Ababou finished with 23 points.

Coach Lawrence Chongson of the UE Red Warriors said in an interview last summer (Not his exact words) that “it’s always hard playing the lead.” I didn’t totally believe so, but after seeing UST’s unfortunate second half meltdown, I couldn’t be more convinced.

In the recent years, UST has always had this problem of keeping their lead after they come out of that locker. I have always wondered what Coach Pido Jarencio tells them at halftime that makes their game a far cry from what transpired just 10 minutes earlier in the ballgame.

Today he commended the boys for a job well done in the first half then UST zoomed to its biggest lead at 31 on Camus’ charities, with less than a minute shaved off the clock in the third.

But that Coach Pido’s praises didn’t come through for UST’s players.

That’s where UST lost it and UP had it.

Tigers’ rookie Marco Cam, who probably spent about .10 seconds on the floor, gave out a cheap, unnecessary body shot to Maroon’s Alvin Padilla, causing him to be thrown out of the planet playing court.

While Ababou, who was playing perfect basketball in the first half, went into an early foul trouble. This forced Coach Pido to rely on his second stringers and play without his go-to-guy for the entire third quarter. Obviously, the Tigers couldn’t do without Ababou (LOL That rhymes). Their offense and their nonexistent defense went haywire.

The Tigers started playing their nasty, sloppy game (which I warned you about in yesterday’s predictions) throwing the leather like they were playing American football, for crying out loud! Seven straight turnovers, totaling to 11 in the third quarter against only one by the Maroons, led by Khasim “the missing act” Mirza, who seemed to be having a lot of problems holding on to the ball.

This is surprising knowing that UP turns over the ball more than…Wait, I’ll think of something. But they did turnover the ball nine times in just the second quarter, but they held on firmly to the ball when it mattered.

The ‘Fighting Maroons’ finally gave justice to their name by not giving up on each play despite being down by double digits. They executed the full court press effectively that obviously rattled the Tigers, they forced turnovers that they converted to baskets, they contested shots and most importantly, they made their shots!

As much as I hate to write about Woody Co, I just couldn’t avoid this moment. Co was responsible for UP’s valiant comeback, including that off-the-glass triple that cut UST’s lead to seven points with still 26 seconds left. Anything can happen to the UAAP and they were still able to cut it down to five points.

Co even had a chance to cut the deficit further with eight ticks left after that very silly foul by Khasim Mirza in the act of shooting. But lucky for them, Co didn’t deliver, missing 2 of his 3 charities.

Time wasn’t on UP’s side (in TJ Manotoc’s words, “they were 30 seconds too late”). UST went on winning the game in a very unflattering fashion that, I’m guessing, made Coach Pido yell until his eyeballs popped out of their sockets.

But, trust me, we can’t blame him.

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FEU Tamaraws reigned anew over the NU Bulldogs, 76-66, to share first place lead (8-1) with Ateneo Blue Eagles. FEU’s troika of Reil Cervantes, Aldrech Ramos and Andy Barroca led the way for the Tams while Kokoy Hermosisima paced the hardworking Bulldogs with a game high 24-points.



UAAP Thursday (August 20) Predictions by _celestial
August 19, 2009, 11:57 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , ,

If you think you can just roll past the tailenders without a gruelling fight, think again. Especially in the UAAP, you can’t get too complacent. (Read: UP’s victory over Ateneo) Teams in the UAAP are actually lucky that this isn’t the US-NCAA where the usual one-big-game-turns-to-cinderella story comes to play.

The UST Tigers (4-4), who suffered a grievous setback against the FEU Tamaraws, can’t afford to lose against the bottom half of the standings to solidify their contention for the elusive final four slot including tomorrow’s tiff against the UP Maroons, a team who have transcended their annual quota of one with their two wins against six loses. It will be a big day for the Tigers to bolster their bid anew.

FEU (7-1), on the other hand, needs all the win it can get to keep pace with Ateneo at  first place,  its 7 game-winning streak is on the line when they battle the NU Bulldogs (2-6) tomorrow at 4pm.

UST_Growling_Tigers_logoversus post-18-1090300055

The Sports Minded: UST by 10 points.

The Tigers need this one to stay at number four.

KC13: UST by double digits.

The Tigers can’t afford to be sloppy because the Maroons can acutally get the best of you with their ‘fleet-footed’, however, butter-fingered guards. But UST can always match the athletism and talent of UP and use lenght that the latter does not have. UST just needs to use their resources well and NEVER relax. They cannot, I repeat, cannot, lose this one.

On Point: UST by 10 points.

The Ababou, Mirza and Teng combination is too much for UP to handle. The Maroons are imrpoving but they still don’t know how to take care of the ball. Every turnover for UP will get UST running and when you get the Tigers running, you’re in trouble. This will be a high-scoring affair which will favor UST.

FEU_Tamaraws_logo versus NU_Bulldogs_logo

The Sports Minded: FEU by 100 points. (LOL)

No explanation needed.

KC13: FEU by double digits.

FEU will just be too much to handle for the Bulldogs. As always.

On Point: FEU by 15 points.

Too big upfront, too talented at backcourt and too deep with decent second stringers. Lest, the Bulldogs will find a bugs bunny drink on the Space Jam movie, they’ll win.