The De La Salle Green Archers’ preseason officially ended two weeks ago and their UAAP campaign is set to get underway this July 10 against UP. Before we start on the team’s prospects in the upcoming UAAP, let’s take a look at how the team performed in the last Fil-Oil Flying V Invitationals.
The team started the tournament on a high note, notching two straight wins against Letran and EAC. After their first loss to a much-improved UP team, the Archers stunned Ateneo before heading off to Chicago for a two-week training. Things got ugly upon their return as they absorbed consecutive blowout defeats at the hands of Perpetual and San Beda. La Salle thrashed Arellano to nail the last quarterfinal berth before bowing to eventual champion San Sebastian in the knockout playoffs. They ended their preseason with a 4-4 slate.
Using the grade-point system, we made our own assessment on the team’s preseason based on several categories.
The Green Archers have proven that they can light up the scoreboard on a good day. When they win, the team averages 84 points per game, and the team is 4-1 when they score at least 70 points.
On the other hand, in their losses, they struggled to put points on the board as they only averaged 63 points per loss. That’s a 21-point differential which could very well have swing the tide in their favor. In most of their defeats, the team went through long scoreless stretches where their shots simply would not fall. When they were off, it showed in their efficiency as they committed close to 20 turnovers in their losses.
The team’s struggles at the foul line continue to remain an enigma. For a team stocked with shooters, the Archers’ free throw percentage is an abysmal 56%. In the Fil-oil tournament, the team lost around 10 points per game due to missed foul shots. Happily, the free throw woes did not affect Luigi Dela Paz, who topped the free throw department with an 88% conversion for at least 12 attempts.
For a team lacking in size, La Salle naturally ended up at the short end of the rebounding statistics in the pre-season games. The team though averaged 13 steals per contest as a result of their full-court press. The Archers allow their opponents to score at an average of 70 points when they win and 75 points when they lose. They are 2-3 when yielding 70+ points.
As mentioned earlier, height is the most noticeable area where the team is deficient right now, and it showed in the rebounding statistics. Only Ferdinand and Yutien Andrada were able to average at least 5 boards and a shot block per game. Maui Villanueva and Jovet Mendoza provided steady support off the bench but were just too undersized to keep the opposing bigs off the boards. Paredes remains a project in the slot, but hopefully with more game-time exposure he will play up to his potential. In their victories in the Fil-oil, outside shooting was a factor in offsetting our height disadvantage, but in the losses, the forwards were unable to knock down those long shots. Because the Archer offense involves quick ball movement to find the open shooter, our forwards will have to be more accurate from the long court on a consistent basis.
Much of the scoring output for the team comes from our deep backcourt rotation. Four of the five top scores for the Archers in this tournament are from the backcourt led by Joshua Webb with 13.4 points per game. The rest are Luigi Dela Paz and Almond Vosotros both with 7 points and Simon Atkin with 6.4 points. Only Ferdinand was the lone big guy with 8.3 points per outing. Much of the offense comes from perimeter shooting and fast break scoring. All our guards have shown that they have enough range to be perimeter threats. They just have to take advantage of their open opportunities and take the open long shot.
Vosotros proved to be perhaps the most consistent quarterback off the bench. Jarelan Tampus and Joel Tolentino had their flashes of brilliance on some games. Martin Reyes, Nico Elorde, Sam Marata and Papot Paredes also provided some spunk especially on defense. Banal has become a 2-way player, with the ability to drive or hit it from afar, and on the other end make things difficult for his defensive assignment. Overall, the bench still lacks some consistency in giving the starters ample help in scoring and rebounding.
Preseason GPA: 2.0
For a team with a combined college basketball experience of 1.5 years, it is expected that they will have some issues with their familiarity with each other and with college ball in general. Coach Dindo used the tournament to tinker with his lineup, coming up with different starting 5s in all the games in order to determine which combinations work best under different conditions. The experimentation resulted in inconsistent and uncertain play, but this was to be expected. Though the setbacks were quite disappointing, the team showed flashes of their potential in their wins when they properly executed their plays, and showed the confidence and mental toughness that we hope they can do on a more consistent basis.
It is evident that there are a lot of areas in the Green Archers’ game that still need to be addressed in order for them to be a more cohesive unit this coming July. This year, returning to the final four is a probably more realistic goal for the team. If they can do it than we could very well say that the Green Archers are on the right track to regaining their position of prominence in the UAAP.