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Saturday, August 9, 2014, the day that everyone has been waiting for. The race to one will finally end, but the question remains, who will claim the crown?
In one corner stands the University of the Philippines: 27 straight losses.
And on the other corner, Adamson University, a team who, just a few games ago, claimed the record for lowest points scored in a game at 25.
In an interesting statistic, with a combined loss of 11 between the two teams competing, this game has the most number of combined losses for the last decade at this point of the first round of eliminations in the UAAP.
Here is our survival kit for the thousands that would be in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena and the millions watching at home.
Tale of the Tape
[nextpage title=”UP’s Story” ]
The Story so Far
Here are some notable quotes from our recaps of the men’s basketball games of both the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons and the Adamson University Soaring Falcons.
UP Fighting Maroons (0-6)
CHAPTER 1: A New Beginning
UE would go on to build on their 45-26 halftime edge in the second half, with outstanding performances from Mammie, Sumang, and Jumao-As. A 7-0 run by UE to open the last quarter paved the way for the Red Warriors to build a thirty-point lead in the late fourth quarter, sealing the win for Derrick Pumaren’s squad.
The NU defense only allowed UP to shoot a devastating 38 percent from the field, which were mostly forced jump shots.
CHAPTER 2: The Battle of Katipunan, Year 36
King Eagle Keifer Ravena kept UP at bay with a pair of trips to the free-throw line, where he was 10/11, and effectively iced the game, 80-68, with his only made three-point shot of the game, a clutch pull-up dagger from the top of the circle with 2 minutes left on the clock.
CHAPTER 3: The Silver Loss
Using a devastating third quarter surge, the FEU Tamaraws trampled the UP Maroons, 85-71, extending UP’s losing streak to 25 dating back to Season 75. In true UP fashion, the Maroons were able to keep the game relatively close throughout the first half but the Maroons just could not keep up with FEU’s second-half adjustments on both ends from there on.
CHAPTER 4: Almost but Not Quite
For one half of basketball, the success-starved fans in maroon had plenty of reason to hope. In the next 20 minutes, the UST Growling Tigers would break those fans’ hearts by capitalizing on yet another late-game collapse by the UP Fighting Maroons
CHAPTER 5: Coach, oh coach, where art thou?
Last Saturday, the UP Fighting Maroons had UST sweating for 2 quarters of action. Today, the DLSU Green Archers would not give them even 2 minutes. The Green Archers, led by a laser-focused Jeron Teng, blitzed the hapless Maroons for 50 first half points on 62.5% shooting, en route to a 74-53 blowout of cellar-dwelling UP.
[nextpage title=”AdU’s Story” ]
AdU Soaring Falcons (0-5)
CHAPTER 1: New Kids on the Block
Ateneo forced Adamson to 22 turnovers and notching 22 points off of those opportunities. The Katipunan based squad’s stifling defense also forced Adamson to shoot only 29 percent from the field.
Struggling to find their rhythm in the first half, the Warriors were able to flip the script thanks to their relentless full-court press, which produced 14 Falcon second half turnovers – 22 in total – and efficient offense which hummed to a 47 percent field goal rating with 21 of their 37 made shots coming off assists. The UE bench also outscored the Falcon Bench, 41-24.
CHAPTER 2: The Calm before the Storm
With the scored tied at 49, the Thomasians had a chance to take the lead with 29 seconds remaining but their ensuing play resulted in an Abdul missed jump shot which Jansen Rios hauled in with 10 seconds to go. Rios, who was under heavy pressure from a UST double-team, failed to call timeout and turned the ball over, setting up Lao’s late game heroics.
CHAPTER 3: THE STORM!!!
The NU Bulldogs handed the miserable Falcons a historic beat-down, 62-25. Adamson’s 25 points and 16% FG shooting set new records for offensive futility in the tournament
CHAPTER 4: The Struggle Continues
Leading 45-29 heading into the fourth period, La Salle would only keep their scoring barrage alive, in spite of Ryan Monteclaro and Alex Inigo coming alive to give Adamson one last push to help Adamson score 19 points in their quarter, their highest scoring output for any quarter in the game. However, the Falcons found no answer for the recharged champions even as La Salle started bringing in their reserves with less than five minutes remaining in the quarter.
[nextpage title=”Strengths & Weaknesses” ]
Strengths and Weaknesses:
While it’s hard to pinpoint what a team averaging 50.2 points per game might be doing right, the “thriller” with UST from last month that the Falcons lost by a mere point shows Adamson has some bite left in them. While undersized, Coach Kenneth’s boys know how to move off the ball. What they lack in height and size, they’ve made up with speed and footwork. Their speed and off-the-ball movement might come in handy against a team like UP, a team that can move around faster despite having the bigger, beefier players. They’re also averaging 42.2 rebounds a game, not bad for a team with hardly any big men.
Adamson is averaging 50 points a ballgame and none of their players are averaging double-digits. Clearly, Coach Kenneth needs to find a way to get the ball to their best scorers, right now the ones averaging more than 5 points a game. At 58.4 field goal attempts a ballgame, they’ve been having a hard time setting up their offense. Adamson needs to find a way to exploit UP’s own defensive woes and make sure they get the easy basket.
Adamson’s opponents have so far averaged 71.4 points against them. In other words, Adamson has been losing by an average of almost 21 points. Adamson needs to toughen up and find a way to cull UP’s offense, which has been fairly efficient. They may need to find a way to force UP into taking harder shots and exploit UP’s box out woes.
Of course, there’s a lot more the Falcons could improve on, but we’ll stick to the essentials for now.
University of the Philippines
Run and gun:
For the past few years, the Fighting Maroons have built up a reputation as one of the fastest teams in the league. They’ve also built up a reputation for not having won a single game the past two years, but maybe that could change if they stick to their guns in this one. The Fighting Maroons are excellent in transition, and have some of the speediest guards in the league, among them, former Rookie of the Year Kyles Lao, Mikee Reyes and Henry Asilum. They also have a potent outside threat in Dave Moralde, who can score off the dribble and get himself in position quickly for the easy jumper.
Playing against a team as undersized as Adamson, UP’s big men may finally have their chance to shine. The Maroons need to push their big men in Gelo Vito, Moriah Gingerich, and Mark Juruena to bring down the boards and make sure the Falcons don’t have it too easy inside the paint.
If you’re only bringing down 32.5 boards a game and your opponents have been bringing down 49 playing against you for the past six games, then you’re doing something wrong. If a smaller, younger team is getting more rebounds than you are, you’re doing something that is really wrong. UP’s big men need to toughen themselves up and go hard for every box out if they want to do Adamson any serious damage. At 62.3 points per game, they’re fifth in the league in scoring. Not that bad, right? The thing is, UP’s opponents have been averaging 79.2 against them. Getting the boards and culling their opponents’ chances of scoring is the first step to getting their defense together.
This one’s a mystery. More than once in this season has UP closed out a first half looking like they’ll be finally taking home a win. Six times has UP closed out a second half without a win. UP’s second half jitters have been heartbreakers, and while stats can’t point out what UP may have been doing wrong in the second half of their games, we think whoever’s holding the reins for UP may need to find a way to end UP’s second half troubles. Should their starters get more rest? Should the Fighting Maroons readjust their playbook in the halftime huddle? We’ll leave it to the much missed Coach Rey and his coaching staff to find a way to get UP to stay strong in the last twenty minutes of the ballgame.
[nextpage title=”The Stars of the Match” ]
Ivan Villanueva vs. Gelo Vito: The Heavyweight Showdown
The beefy 6’6 Gelo Vito and the thick but speedy 6’0 Ivan Villanueva both saw action for NCAA schools in high school, Vito for the La Salle Greenhills Greenies and Ivan for the Letran Squires.
Ivan may be winning the numbers game so far, and his 15-point debut against the Ateneo Blue Eagles has everyone waiting on him to wow the league once more. But Gelo’s made his own name as one of the Maroons’ toughest defenders in the paint. We’re expecting both of these young men to come up big in Saturday’s showdown.
Adamson: Jansen Rios
Jansen Rios is currently the Falcons’ leading scorer at 9.0 points per game. Yes, you read that right; nobody is averaging double digits for the Falcons. He’s also contributed to the Falcons’ lucrative rebounding, averaging 7.4 boards a ballgame in five appearances.
However, inconsistency has been the 6’2 skipper’s greatest enemy. Rios was held to 6 points against UST, and scored not a single basket in the Falcons’ 25-62 romping by the NU Bulldogs. Rios needs to exploit UP’s faulty perimeter defense if he wants to up his game for the Falcons.
UP: Dave Moralde
The 6’2 transferee from San Beda has been one of the biggest surprises this season, at least for us who actually watch UP games. At 11.8 points per ballgame, he’s the Maroons’ leading scorer. He’s also so far shot 39.4% from the three-point line, impressive when you consider the whole team’s only been shooting 26%.
However, the Falcons are replete with quick-footed defenders who make sure every lane is covered, and he might find his favorite spot inside the arc a very uncomfortable place. Moralde may need to readjust his style of play and dare to slash inside if he wants to prove himself the Maroons’ top man for the season.
Kenneth Duremdes vs ???
Adamson: Kenneth Duremdes
Coach Kenneth has done his best to make sure the Falcons deliver, despite their roster’s um, handicap. It’s a tough job to coach a team that’s made up of mostly rookies and hardly any true centers and power forwards, but we have to applaud Coach Kenneth for trying his best to make the necessary adjustments. He’s employed a rotating smallball lineup, with the 6’7 rookie Matthew Aquino as the only center getting big minutes. Ivan Villanueva has fit in perfectly with Coach Kenneth’s player rotation plan, as he’s able to shift between forward and off-guard duties as needed. And thanks to improving the sense of off-ball movement in his players, guards like Axel Inigo and Jansen Rios are able to get themselves in position and hustle for the ball when needed. WIth limited inside scoring options because of the Falcons’ height disadvantage, he’s looked towards improving the team’s outside shooting while finding ways to get the ball to their more efficient inside scorers like Rios and Villanueva.
UP: Rey Madrid? Ramil Cruz? Poch Juinio?
It is unclear what the effect of the suspension of coach Rey Madrid will have on his boys. Will they be motivated to give their best and play the best game they can, for their absent coach? Will there be difficulties when one of the assistant coaches handles the reigns? Will they be demoralized with the suspension of Rey Madrid?
[nextpage title=”What does it mean to win?” ]
What does it mean for UP to win
Just like Gilas defeating Korea, UP will have finally broken their curse. The whole UP community – from the two batches who have never seen their Basketball team win to the alumni and alumnae who may have had enough teasing from their office mates – would be in utter bliss. The team manager has promised to give them a bonfire, something usually done by Ateneans to celebrate the win of their men’s football, basketball team or their womens volleyball team.
And of course, this…
*It’s a fake.
*It’s a fake.
What does it mean for Adamson to win
Majority of Adamson’s players are rookies. Defeating a team of seasoned athletes should give the team a boost to their morale (take that Jericho Cruz). Better yet, should Adamson win, they will be doing a great service to their Alma Mater – making UP just 7 games short from taking over Adamson as having the longest losing streak in UAAP history. Nobody remembers second placers anyway!
And finally, the Walking Stick Baby Skyscraper wins his first UAAP game! Get hype Falcons!
On August 9, 2014, a streak will end. A two-year drought will either end or new records of futility will happen. At the end of the day, however, whoever loses, remember this: Tiwala lang UP! Puso Adamson!
Stats taken from stats.humblebola.com
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