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Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit

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When blue and green collide for the first time this season, it would be more than ‘just a game’ regardless of how both teams would downplay it as ‘just another game.’

Not only will Ateneo and La Salle duke it out for pride – much like how every game is played in this storied rivalry – but this is a game which has serious implications to their respective standings specially moving forward towards the second round of the heated UAAP basketball tournament.

At 4-2, the Blue Eagles will be looking to solidify their hold on the third spot in the standings after the first round of hostilities in the tournament.

Trailing UST and Far Eastern University, the Blue Eagles will do everything to avoid falling into a possible three-team logjam with National University and La Salle after seven games.

That’s exactly what the Green Archers would want to happen as a win here keeps them within striking distance on the teams at the pinnacle of the standings.

Toting a 3-3 record and coming off a disappointing loss to the Tigers, 77-61, the last thing the Green Archers want to happen is enter the second round with a losing record.

So is this just another game for you? Not quite.

Key match-up:Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit
Von Pessumal
vs. Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit
Thomas Torres

Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng will be highly expected to take the spotlight for their respective squads but the game will be won depending on who between Von and Thomas performs for their squad.

At this point, we’re yet to see Pessumal and Ravena explode simultaneously for the Eagles. On the flipside, we’ve seen what the Green Archers can do when Teng and Torres are playing good music together.

La Salle will expectedly play small for most parts of the game, with coach Juno Sauler opting to go with Torres and Andrei Caracut on their backcourt.

Caracut joining Torres at the backcourt gives Torres some leeway to be a bit more offensive minded and be Sauler’s second option on offense making is match-up more interesting given that the load to relieve Ravena on offense will fall heavily on Pessumal.

This game will be decided on whose ‘second option’ steps up the most.

X-factors


Ateneo: Jerie Pinggoy
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit
For all the hype and the media mileage that Pinggoy received for his infamous fallout with Far Eastern University and decision to join Ateneo, it’s safe to say that it has been a letdown of a season so far for Pingoy.

But there’s a reason why the former UAAP Juniors Most Valuable Player is receiving so much hype – that kid can ball.

Sooner or later, Pinggoy’s gonna have his breakout game and future stars of each school are usually decided on how they perform at this level.

Imagine if Pinggoy turns this game into his own personal playground. Look out.

La Salle: Andrei CaracutPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit

Speaking of future stars, Andrei Caracut has already earned the reputation as one of the best, if not the best, rookie in this batch.

With his heady plays and steady shooting, the former San Beda Red Cub has already endeared himself in the La Sallian community and is slowly getting the respect of his peers through his string of impressive performances.

The only thing that he has to do now is to show up and play big for La Salle in his first match against Ateneo in the UAAP.

It’s a pretty tall order, but that’s where stars are made right?

Prediction

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ateneo-La Salle Round 1 2015: Survival Kit

There won’t be a blow-out, that’s for sure. This will be a fairly close encounter and should be another one to remember considering the implications that this game has for both teams.

If La Salle can find a way to involve their bigs, an advantage that they have over Ateneo, then it will be a long night for the Blue Eagles.

But then again, something tells me that Kiefer Ravena will have something to pull off his sleeve, considering all the bad games that he’ve had in the pvious games.

Ateneo via Kiefer’s heroics.

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