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Analysis: La Salle’s 83-78 win over FEU
by rick olivares
What do I think of La Salle’s slim 83-78 win over Far Eastern University?
It is not a moral victory for the Tamaraws (because they kept the score close) if you ask me. After all, a loss it still a loss. When the two squads faced each other in the quarterfinals of the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup last June 7, the Green Archers romped away to a 91-71 win. When the two clashed in a tune-up match last August 4, the match was not finished due to a near free-for-all (although La Salle was up by about 20 points when the match was called). This past September 7, it was closer but well…
If anyone wanted to knock off the Green Archers the first game was the best time to attempt that because one can account for opening day jitters or what have you.
I think teams adjust after playing La Salle… but the problem is, you don’t get too many chances. It was the same for the Ateneo-DLSU meeting - a blow out in the elimination round followed by a much closer score in the semi-finals.
It was a very good win for La Salle to take down the defending champions who played them tough. That was expected so I came away more impressed with how the Tamaraws played.
What hurt FEU was that three-point barrage (one from Jolo Go and two from Aljun Melecio) that had them chasing La Salle almost all match long.
Here’s what I liked about FEU’s performance:
Ron Dennison, man! He took charge playing tough defense on Jeron Teng (one of the most difficult players to match-up against because of his great offensive repertoire and his raw power). He started the pre-season well then sort of faded. Here’s to him playing consistently.
Aside from Dennison, another veteran Raymar Jose took charge. Didn’t care if Ben Mbala blocked him twice. Cramped up, he battled. What a gamer! He finished with a stat line of 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block versus 1 turnover. Other veterans who chipped in but need to do better were center Prince Orizu and point guard Jojo Trinidad. Rookie forward Ken Tuffin had his baptism of fire and had his moments including a clutch lay-up. He should do better. But it was disappointing that Ken Holmqvist, Richard Escoto, and Barkely Ebona hardly contributed to the effort. And they should if FEU wants to go deep into this tournament.
Wondering why I am saving Monbert Arong for last? He should step up as leader of this team. In spite of FEU winning the UAAP crown last year, I felt he did not perform to expectations. He only played 15 minutes; three fewer than he did during the pre-season. Those are supporting role minutes and not starter numbers. I don’t think you can expect Ron Dennison to score 13 points every game but Arong has to kick it up two notches higher.
FEU was outrebounded 50-38. Yet for a team that is smaller than DLSU, they scored more inside points 38-32 and had more second chance points, 17-13.
They kept it close because of their team play (they did better in assists, 15-9), good defense, and the fact that they limited their turnovers. However, they need to capitalize on the turnovers. The Tamaraws forced La Salle into 27 errors but only scored 19 points. The Green Archers on the other hand only harried FEU into 27 TOs but scored 24 points.
FEU had five players in double figures. That’s good. And they space out their points which is testament to the team ball they played.
Here’s what I liked about La Salle’s performance:
They didn’t play their best but they still got the win. They weren’t able to run that full court pressure defense as consistently and longer as they wanted but they still got the job done on a half-court set. If you were expecting a blowout then this is a disappointment. But teams aren’t prepping for FEU; they are looking for ways to knock La Salle out. So you have to take this as a good but ugly win.
Their 1-2 punch of Jeron Teng and Ben Mbala is going to be a potent one. And Teng was clutch once more!
Look at the 1-2 punches this season:
Jerrick Ahanmisi and Rob Manalang (Adamson) - 44 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals.
Aaron Black and Thirdy Ravena (Ateneo) - 40 points, 18 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, and 4 blocks.
Jeron Teng and Ben MBala (La Salle) - 41 points, 29 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 5 blocks.
That’s an awesome line for both Teng and Mbala although the Cameroonian center stuffed that stat line with 13 points and a monster 23 rebounds and 4 blocks!
More to Teng and MBala, this is a stacked and loaded line-up and they contributed up and down the line (perhaps save for rookie center Justine Baltazar). They will rev it up as they go on.
The Green Archers looked a little vulnerable this game but I don’t imagine it will be like this the rest of the way. Teams have to make the most of these opportunities. But as the saying goes, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.