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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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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.

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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.

UE upsets FEU, ends streak; NCAA Monday (August 24) Predictions by _celestial
August 24, 2009, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , ,

UE kept FEU at the bay the entire contest by dominating on both ends of the floor as they handed the Tams its second loss, 87-72, after a proverbial eight-game streak last night to seize solo third.

The Warriors blitzed to an early lead and never looked back behind double digit heroics UE’s troika of Pari Llagas, Elmer Espirtu and Paul Lee. Llagas finished with a game-high 24 points.

After UST’s wrecking loss to Ateneo in the earlier game, 80-70, UE shatters the two-way tie and assumes third place that would pit them anew against FEU in the semis if the current place will remain idle until the end of the eliminations.

UST, on the other hand, holds on to a precarious fourth place spot with 5-5 record,  just a win and a half after La Salle who is at 4-6. The Tigers need to prevail on their remaining assigments over NU (August 30), La Salle (Sept 3), Adamson (Sept 6) and UE (September 10) to seal their standings.

The Tigers were held spellbound from the 6th minute mark of the fourth where Ateneo pulled away with the 69-62 lead from a 7-0 roll. UST inched in to within four, 70-74, with less then a minute to play on rookie Jeric Teng’s basket but the Tigers never scored then on.


After a crucial outing in the UAAP last night, today’s NCAA games will also be as crucial highlighted by two teams that seek to compound their bid for the coveted final semis spot, with the first three spots already occupied by the top three competitors in the league.

Arellano and Letran, who have been idle at fourth place on a identical 6-4 ledger, will take on the lowly Angeles U and Mapua respectively— two teams who have occupied the bottom of the standings since the start of the season. A much-needed win for the two teams will keep them on the hunt.


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The Sports Minded: Arellano by 15 points.

Arellano will pound the Great Danes as they will solidify their chance for a final four slot with this win. Gio Ciriacruz will have a shooting spree as AUF doesn’t have anyone besides Matt Kearney who can bang in the lane.

KC13: Arellano by 20 points.

They can’t take the Angeles U lightly knowing the guys would want a dignified exit in the league. However, expect the Chiefs to dominate the Great Danes like the have done the last time out.

On Point: Arellano by a baker’s dozen.

Look for the chiefs to come out strong, all the pressure is on their side while the danes are just playing for pride alone.

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The Sports Minded: Letran by 12 points.

If the Mapua show up the way thed did against the Lions last week, then this might be a game. If they don’t, put this one in the books for the Knights.

KC13: Letran by 10 points.

Despite an awful showing in their first meeting, Mapua will definitely give take a tough stand like they did against the league leaders in their last games. But still not enough to stop Letran’s scorers from pouring it in.

On Point: Letran by 12 points.

The Cardinals will make this a game early but, the Knights will pull away in the second half.Jazul wil deliver the goods with most of his shots from the outside.

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


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.


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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.

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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.