Picture this: The DLSU Green Archers build a lead or at least have the momentum on their side. While the crowd is generally glued to their seats, you can sense their elation and their more active participation in the La Salle cheers. You blink once, though, and that lead has evaporated or worse, turned into a deficit. There’s a sense of panic within the crowd and worry that a familiar and unfavorable outcome could turn into a reality.
Such was the case for the Green Archers when they took on the AdU Soaring Falcons. La Salle built a double-digit lead towards the end of the first quarter, only for it to turn into a one-point deficit at halftime.
But then, DLSU flipped the switch.
A 23-0 run by the Green Archers saw them attack the defense of the Soaring Falcons with timely 3-pointers and rim-rattling dunks, but more importantly, the scoring barrage gave La Salle an insurmountable lead that led to a 71-58 victory.
As great as the win was, there were those that pointed to questionable calls and non-calls that, to be fair, were an issue during the other games that day and led to the suspension of the three referees working the game. Yet even if there were some merits to those claims, there wouldn’t be any gripes if DLSU executed from the jump.
Defense was never really the problem for the Green Archers and it may very well be what gives them at least a shot at winning the rest of their games. A quick-twitch defense like the one La Salle head coach Topex Robinson deploys has shown a tendency to gamble for steals, a tactic that works but can also lead to some open shots for opponents. However, DLSU was still able to alter shots and shave off almost eight seconds on a handful of Adamson’s possessions, both of which helped deter AdU’s momentum. At the end of the day, it’s not about limiting aggression; it’s about being smart with it.
The concern, though, lies in the Green Archers’ offense.
La Salle has been prone to scoring droughts even when they’re comfortably ahead. Against the Soaring Falcons, DLSU used the aforementioned 23-0 run to take a 61-44 lead in the third quarter. Come the fourth quarter, however, the Green Archers could only manage to score 10 points and were unable to convert on shot attempts they made just a few minutes ago.
One can easily observe La Salle’s dependency on 3-pointers and the missed free throws, but the underlying issue for the offense as a whole has been inconsistency. At the start of games, DLSU will run Robinson’s system and get some easy baskets in the paint and establish driving lanes. These would of course lead to 3-pointers, but when opponents adjusted, the shot attempts would move farther away from the basket.
Thankfully, Robinson made some adjustments against Adamson, among which was to let Kevin Quiambao cook. During the Green Archers’ pivotal run, the reigning UAAP Rookie of the Year took it upon himself to generate the offense.
He attacked the defense with inside baskets, grabbed defensive rebounds to ignite fastbreak attempts, and fed teammates and adamantly told them to shoot. It speaks to the confidence he has in his teammates, but it also makes sense; the offense is better when the ball is moving and everyone is taking and making shots.
It may be best to keep running through Quiambao, since he’s a willing passer to the point that his confidence is undeterred even when the turnovers pile. This also allows La Salle’s other facilitator in Evan Nelle to operate off-the-ball on some possessions. Most of all, it also helps with going back to the basics; attacking the paint and forcing the defense to either spread out or pack the paint. DLSU’s defense can tend to be volatile and an unpredictable offense in terms of what opponents should do will bode well for the Green Archers.
A rollercoaster of emotions is a typical experience for sports fans, more so for those who root for the DLSU Green Archers. We all know the Green Archers have what it takes to win it all in UAAP Season 86, but as organized as they can be, mixing the right amount of diskarte can turn their championship aspirations into reality.