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.



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.



UAAP Saturday (August 15) Predictions by _celestial

In the main event at 4pm, the UST Tigers (4-3) seek to avenge their first round loss to FEU Tamaraws (6-1) as  UST’s big troika (Dylan Ababou, Jeric Teng and Khasim Mirza) tries to skip through the tough Cervantes-less FEU powerhouse (Aldrech Ramos, Mark Barocca, JR Cawaling, Paul Sanga and RR Garcia). *gulps* That doesn’t sound appealing to the Tiger fans, at all. Especially if your top gunner was limited to a conference-low 10 points the last time.

A win for UST will seal the elusive *solo* third spot previously clogged by two more teams in De La Salle Archers and UE Red Warrios who are now both lodged at 4-4 after recent setbacks.

Meanwhile the battle of the erstwhile spellbound UP (now) Fighting Maroons (1-6) over the NU Bulldogs (2-5) is set at 2 pm.

Predictions:

NU_Bulldogs_logo versus post-18-1090300055

The Sports Minded: NU by four points.

Wow, this will be exciting. NU overpowered UP in the first round though I expect a closer outcome. This is a ‘crucial’ battle for the cellar. Up will have a tough time guarding Ponferrada down low.

KC13: UP by single digits.

I actually see a good game. We’ve seen both teams make title contenders run for their money in several games in the first round. UP, who is fueled by Woody Co (le sigh) and his miraculous shooting and that rookie who has game, will snatch this one if they get their scoring going to try and level the playing field for them in the cellar. Force of habit.

On Point: UP by nine points.

Woody Co’s decent play continues to surprise me as well as Sison’s. Also, watch out for the other Reyes (the rookie point guard), this kid got skills. Meanwhile, NU just came from a big win over Adamson and I think they’ll play well but not good enough. UP’s just on the rise despite their number of losses.

UST_Growling_Tigers_logo versus FEU_Tamaraws_logo

The Sports Minded: UST by seven points.

Cervantes will serve his suspension tomorrow, who cares! FEU is so deep that losing one key guy doesn’t even mean a thing. They outclassed the Tigersin the first round I highly doubt it will happen again. The Tigers MUST break the press effectively and execute if not, they are in deep trouble. St. Dominic will help them. FEU won’t have an answer for divine intervention.

KC13: FEU by single digits.

Depsite Cervantes being slapped a one-game suspension, they have the rest of their Gilas boys to step up. Lest *all* of FEU’s players succumbs to an off night. UST, on the other hand, vowed to play a different kind of ball in the second round. If they can play D against the league’s top defensive team as of the moment, they have a shot. But if they keep on giving those incredibly open shots. No chance. As much as it breaks my heart, FEU will again outclass UST in the most heartbreaking way possible.

On Point: FEU by eight points.

Cervantes will not play later but, FEU doesn’t mind. Why worry if you have Ramos, Barroca, Cawaling, Sanga and Garcia running the show? On the other hand, Ababou, Mirza and Teng must bring their A-game to avoid another thrashing from the first place Tams, but the X-factor for UST is the pace of the game. They have to control the tempo, and for that to happen– they have to own the boards to be able to get their high-octane offense going. Of course, it’s easier said than done considering how FEU can frustrate and limit you with their top-caliber defense.



Llagas, Cervantes suspended; UAAP Thursday (August 13) Predictions by _celestial
August 13, 2009, 1:54 am
Filed under: Basketball, College Hoops | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The UAAP Disciplinary board served UE’s Pari Llagas and FEU’s Reil Cervantes with a one-game suspension following a literal push-came-to-shove square off that led to eventual ejection of both bigs in the Tamaraws-Warriors game last sunday.

Cervantes, who eerily reminds me of former UST stalwart Jervy Cruz (but I’m not saying they look the same, they just strike me the same in terms of, hmm, well, physique?), will be missing in action in the UST game on Saturday. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves now. Carry on.

Meanwhile the Warriors will be without one of their towering mainstays as they battle *the* Ateneo Blue Eagles, who probably are still hung over from their big win against bitter rivals, in the main event pegged at 4pm. Speaking of rivals, *the* La Salle Green Archers will square up against the Adamson Heartbreak kids in the curtain raiser at 2pm.

Predictions:

versus

The Sports Minded: Adamson by six points.

The heart broken squad might just had enough. They might finally play to their full potential in the second round.

KC13: La Salle by single digits.

Like I’ve said in the past, Adamson is actually a good team but they really fail miserably at crunch time.  La Salle, on the other hand, usually starts hitting the strides in the latter part of the game, especially down the wire. That’s inversely proportional. Go figure.

On Point: Adamson by five points.

Dubbed as ‘the heartbreak kids’ this season, enough is enough. After this game, the heartbroken Falcons will now be called “Heartbreakers.” Canada-Alvarez’ play will be crucial.

versus

The Sports Minded: Ateneo by four points.

It is still uncertain if Rabeh Al Hussaini will play a hundred percent tomorrow. We all know he landed awkwardly and sprained an ankle last Sunday. However, the Eagles proved they can win (at least 10 minutes) without Muslim clogging the paint.

KC13: Ateneo by 10.

The loss of Llagas might hurt UE. He has the capacity to take over during clutch and he pairs up well with Espirutu to beef up UE’s  front court. Ateneo has to take advantage.

On Point: Ateneo by twin digits.

Even with Pari Llagas playing for UE, I’d still pick Ateneo to win by 8, unfortunately for the Warriors, they will be without their man in the middle. Expect the Eagles to attack the paint and that Acuna guy to hog the ball, he just shoots tooooooooooooooooo much.

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Today’s games open the second round joust (which is the crucial one. Make or break, guys!) Updated second round schedule is a gift from God. But this I ask, God, why do I have classes on Thursdays!?!?!?