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?

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UAAP Sunday (August 30) Predictions by _celestial
August 30, 2009, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

La Salle’s nothing short of heartbreaking, two-point setback to UE last night, 66-64, gives UST a good chance to prop up their semis bid as they take on the lowly NU  at the 2pm game.

Meanwhile, Ateneo positions itself to grab the twice-to-beat bonus as the Eagles square off with upstart Adamson, who, in return, hopes to boost their honestly flickering final four hopes with a much-needed win today.

As the Archers move to one game and a half behind Tigers in the standings following a four-game tailspin, UST needs to hurdle past today’s assignment to build cushion coming in to Thursday’s battle against La Salle. The winner of that game will virtually secure the coveted final spot in the semis.

Hopefully, I don’t jinx it.

Predictions:

UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus NU_Bulldogs_logo

The Sports Minded: UST by 14 points.

The Tigers is in a must win situation here to put one foot on the final four. This should be a statement game for them. They should start showing what they are made off. They need to peak starting this game.

KC13: UST by  12 points.

It’s going to be the battle of the offensive strides since NU isn’t capable of tenacious D alike. UST will come firing on all cylinders and expect them to run the breaks. Catch them if you can, Bulldogs.

On Point: UST by 16 points.

The Bulldogs also play a fast pace game and that’s a no-no when you;re up against the Tigers, who are the number one offensive team in the league. NU got blown out in the first round ’cause they played UST’s game and look for another rout later.

blueeagle versus 125px-AdamsonFalcons

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by 12 points.

Ateneo are now reaching their unstoppable form. The fighting spirit of the Falcons might be dead after losing so many close games.

KC13: Ateneo by eight points.

Ateneo will kill any hopes left in Adamson with this win. Ateneo will dominate in the stretch as Adamson might succumb to another faltering endgame sickness, only if Adamson manages to stay close.

On Point: Ateneo by nine points.

The Falcons managed to come with in striking distance against the Eagles in the first round, where Coach Leo and his boys were still on a mission to get to the final four. Now, I don’t see the fire in Adamson anymore though I expect them to hang around early while Ateneo goes for the kill late in the game.



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.



Think again. by On Point
August 23, 2009, 1:30 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , ,

La Salle’s 83-78 loss against UP, I saw that coming even before the opening tip.

Why so? As I’ve pointed out on my prediction, La Salle, this season, is playing inconsistent basketball.

The last time the Archers won was in the first round against the Tigers. In a game where they trailed by as much as 19 points before snatching that double-OT victory and in a game where UST just can’t hit even open shots in the end game.

That win by La Salle actually capped its fourth straight win after losing its first two assignments. And just when all thought the Archers have found their rhythm, they lost to Ateneo in OT, lost to Adamson, got defeated again by Ateneo in a rout then, UP joins the party.

Just when all thought La Salle would finally apply the breaks to halt its three-game skid at the expense of UP…

Well think again, State U just like Adamson can beat almost any team in the league. The Maroons at 2-7 prior to their game against the Archers, can deceive you with their losing record. UST nearly fell to UP twice and Ateneo just did.

As the Maroons have shown as of late, they are not only capable on the offensive end but also, they can bother you with their pesky defense.

Against La Salle, they showed what they can do. UP torched La Salle from downtown, with Mikee Reyes draining four alone. The Maroons also applied good pressure D on the Archers, forcing guys like Mangahas and Malabes to turn the ball over. Not to mention, the last one on Hyram Bagatsing, who lost the ball and eventually the chance to at least tie the game with 15 ticks left in the contest.

In this game, La Salle’s veteran players came to play. Pee Jay Barua shot a team-high 18 points, James Mangahas and Bader Malabes also had double-digit point totals but to a losing cause.

Ateneo has Al-Hussaini and Baclao, FEU has Barroca and Ramos, UST has Ababou and Mirza and finally UE has Llagas and Lee. These teams have leaders to turn to and hit the dagger, for the win and for the school pride.

What the Archers need is a go-to guy, not just a player with experience. They are in dire need for ‘the man’ who can take over and not just someone who will show up from time to time.

And just when all thought Mangahas and Malabes can lead La Salle to contention this season, well think again.



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.



UP hands La Salle its fourth straight loss by On Point
August 22, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , ,

State U added insult to injury when they dealt La Salle its fourth consecutive setback with an 83-78 squeaker in the UAAP Men’s basketball today.

The Maroons, propelled by rookie Mikee Reyes, who notched a career-high 25 points put the Green Archers’ final four bid on the ropes.

The former La Salle Greenhills stalwart also converted four triples and dished out six dimes.

The Maroons started the game on fire to lead by as much as 13 points, 20-7, in the first period before the Archers started to hit their strides in the second half.

The Archers, who missed the services of starting point guard Simon Atkins due to a left ankle sprain, drew 18 points from Pee Jay Barua.

UP improved to 3-7, while La Salle at 4-6, fell two games behind UST and UE for the last two spots of the final four.

In the curtain raiser, Adamson walloped National U, 79-50.

Former junior’s MVP Leo Canuday had a decent game with 12 points to lead Adamson’s balanced attack.

(Game Analysis to follow)



San Sebastian, San Beda outduel foes; UAAP Saturday (August 22) Predictions by _celestial
August 22, 2009, 12:20 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

San Sebastian zoomed to its 11th straight win while San Beda busted out of a slow start to notch the hardfought W in the NCAA games today.

The Stags, led by Jimbo Aquino’s 18-point peformance, remain at helm after they dealt another sorry defeat to the Perpetual Help Altas 80-70, following the 76-54 drubbing last July 23. Carl Abueva added 16 for San Sebastian.

The Lions, meanwhile, remain in close second behind San Sebastian after trouncing the Mapua Cardinals, 84-75. Thanks to Pascual’s stellar second half performance, finishing with 19 points.

On to tomorrow’s UAAP game predictions.

NU_Bulldogs_logoversus 125px-AdamsonFalcons

The Sports Minded: Adamson by seven points.

Falcons will bounce back this time against the Bulldogs. No upset this time around.

KC13: NU by five points.

It’s hard to predict when you know both teams are trying so hard to stay afloat especially in this crucial part of the season. Knowing that both teams have the capability to explode, it will definitely boil down to who excecutes their plays well.

On Point: Adamson by six points.

Falcons over Bulldogs especially when Adamson just came from a big win over La Salle while NU continues to struggle.

post-18-1090300055versus greenarchers

The Sports Minded: La Salle by eight points.

This is tough, three straight defeat for Franz and the gang but UP is a capable opponent. Pumaren won’t lose four in a row. If La Salle lose this one, they can kiss the final four goodbye.

KC13: La Salle by 10 points.

La Salle needs toughen up on the defensive end knowing how capable UP is, especially its shooters. The Archers desperately need to win this one to stay in contention, and something tells me Coach Franz Pumaren will not allow the boys to just lose it like that—not on his watch.

On Point: UP by five points.

Don’t hate on me when I say UP will win over DLSU this time around, Why? ’cause the Archers are just off-target as of late; they play inconsistent basketball. Meanwhile, the Maroons have the guns to fire off an upset. They are pesky on defense and streaky on offense, their big problem though, is turnovers, silly TO’s. You can limit turnovers but never inconsistency– it’s a disease.