Keys to victory: Ateneo-La Salle Finals series

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LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion And with that being said, here are INQUIRER’s keys to victory for this year’s UAAP Finals.Share the orangeRoster-wise, La Salle has arguably the better bunch.Ateneo, though, moves the ball better than the Green Archers with the Blue Eagles racking up an average of 17 assists in their previous two meetings.The Green Archers registered just 11.5 assists in the two elimination games played against Ateneo.ADVERTISEMENT Chot Reyes gets back at old foe MOST READ And those are the intangibles.Ateneo has a bone to pick with La Salle and not just because the two schools are archrivals in basketball.The Green Archers are the ones who derailed the Blue Eagles’ potential sweep of Season 80 and Ateneo still wants revenge from its Finals mishap in Season 79.La Salle, meanwhile, are hell-bent on taking its second straight title and prove that it’s still the ruling party despite having a worse eliminations record than Ateneo. 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Tagalog NPA Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Both teams got one win each in the eliminations against each other but expect the Blue Eagles to veer away from isolation sets in order to counter the Green Archers’ sheer physical might.And speaking of physical might…Power!There’s no question that Ben Mbala is the most dominating player in the UAAP for the past two seasons and his two MVP trophies attest to that.Mbala averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks against the Blue Eagles in the eliminations and quite frankly nobody on that Ateneo roster can stop the big man one-on-one.La Salle can afford to just throw the ball down to Mbala and leave him to work out against Ateneo’s defense, which usually gives him double and sometimes triple teams.When that happens, Mbala has the luxury of finding four open shooters or sometimes one big man open inside.Big men can shootThere was a time in the first round that Mbala fell in love with shooting the triple but against Ateneo he came away with four blanks.Ateneo’s bigs, however, have started to get comfortable with the long ball and Isaac Go, Chibueze Ikeh, and Vince Tolentino showed that in the Final Four against Far Eastern University. It’s that time of the year once more when families flock outside wearing matching-colored t-shirts as they catch-up with other families who are wearing the same clothes as they do.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Mom and dad jump in jubilation and the kids cheer with joy in their smiles and happiness in their eyes.Oh, this is not Christmas. It’s the UAAP Finals and it’s Ateneo vs. La Salle.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe most ballyhooed rivalry in all of Philippine sports, the Blue Eagles face off against the Green Archers for the sixth time in the championship round and both teams have something to prove.La Salle wants to get its second straight title while Ateneo want to avenge its loss in Season 79. The Blue Eagle trio went a collective 5-of-12 from deep in Ateneo’s 88-84 win over the Tamaraws with Go getting owning three of those conversions.Go also proved that he can shoot the three in dire situations when he sent the game to overtime with a clutch triple.Ateneo’s newfound three-point touch can spell trouble for La Salle as it will force the likes of Mbala, Santi Santillan, and Justine Baltazar to close out in the perimeter leaving the paint open to cuts and drives.Press it and push itBoth teams have shown they can pressure the ball for the full 94 feet of the basketball floor and run it off for easy scoring opportunities.The Green Archers have the Mayhem defense while the Blue Eagles have whatever they call their pestering scheme.Ateneo has the slight edge in turnovers and points off turnovers in the two previous meetings against La Salle with the Blue Eagles turning the ball over 16.5 times while the Green Archers gave the rock away an average of 19.5 times.The Blue Eagles are also more adept at scoring quickly off their opponent’s miscues with 16.5 points off turnovers while the Green Archers are at 13 points.The unseen statsSure the stat sheets show just how much the two teams play, but there are far many aspects of the game that those legal-sized papers don’t show.last_img

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