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Stats Don’t Lie: Dissecting the Jeron Teng ball screen

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There is no offense in the UAAP right now that emulates a pro offense quite like that of the De La Salle Green Archers. Compared to its UAAP counterparts, the Taft cagers run the least amount of “signaled” plays, as it appears that Coach Juno Sauler simply rolls the ball out and lets his boys play.

Perhaps inspired by the Spurs – whom the La Salle coaching staff actually had the privilege of sitting in a few practices last summer – Sauler’s offense revolves around the use of the pick & roll. Yes, they do go to the post on mismatches but the bread-and-butter of their offensive attack is the ball screen.

No team – not even FEU or Ateneo – use as much ball screens as the Green Archers. Transition, side, top, pro lane, horns, double highs, versus man or zone, up 20 or down 20, you can expect that a ball screen is coming sooner rather than later.

What makes La Salle’s ball screen offense funkier than the rest of the teams is that unlike the Tamaraws, Blue Eagles, or Bulldogs, who have ball dominant guards in Tolomia, Ravena, and Alolino, respectively, Sauler prefers to give the ball to forward Jeron Teng. This makes it tricky to guard because normally he can overpower his defenders.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Stats Don't Lie: Dissecting the Jeron Teng ball screen

There’s nothing wrong with this – after all, Lebron James has been to five straight NBA Finals as the primary user of ball screens on both the Heat and Cavs. In fact, it puts the ball in the hands of La Salle’s best creator and lets Teng be the decision maker. It allows him to attack and create space for himself to either get to the rim…

… create enough space to take the pull-up jumper, which he’s been hitting consistently this year (43% when coming off a ball screen)

or hit shooters spotting up along the three-point line.

This is what makes Teng so dangerous on ball screens, even if other teams scout them well and know that this is DLSU’s go-to-play. The Green Archers, as always, is loaded from top to bottom. You have to respect everyone on the floor.

Shooters like Caracut, Torres, Torralba and Langston spread the floor to give him space to operate. RIvero is a beast around the basket while Perkins has an outside shot that you have to respect, giving Teng multiple options. Muyang and Tratter are solid big men who sets mean screens and crash the offensive glass, giving everyone else confidence to shoot.

When La Salle is playing their A-game, it’s like beautiful music is being played. Everything flows smoothly. The problem is, when things aren’t clicking, the team gets tight and their defense isn’t good enough to the point where they can’t get stops in crucial points of the game.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Stats Don't Lie: Dissecting the Jeron Teng ball screen

The question is, will La Salle’s ball screen offense be enough to beat the surging Ateneo Blue Eagles, who utilizes different schemes against ball screens throughout the game? What about against UP, whose defense actually encourages pick & roll ball-handlers to try and beat them? And let’s not forget the last game of the season against the FEU Tamarraws, who quietly have put together the league’s 2nd best defense to go with their high-octane attack?

Like it or not, the Green Archers’ playoffs hopes will most likely rest on how well they – more specifically, Teng – can execute in their last three games.

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