by Norbert Torres
Compiled by Brian Lance Tamayao
July 28 is a red-letter day for Philippine basketball fans as two collegiate powerhouses clash against one another for the first time during the 75th Season of the UAAP; it’s La Salle versus Ateneo, green versus blue, and it does not get any better than this.
Having to reschedule prior appointments is a common habit of both the blue and green faithful, for they would rather witness another edition of the famed blue-green rivalry that dates back to the late 1930s.
For us players, the build-up to this game is a nerve-wracking one.
We get anxious before the game starts, but once the game gets going and the blood starts flowing, it actually feels like it is any other UAAP game.
With both tied in the standings at 2-1 prior to the face-off, we from both teams knew that this would be about more than just bragging rights. The game was also for a chance to go solo second behind the league-leading FEU.
Unfortunately for us, though, Ateneo grabbed an early 12 point lead early in the game. By then, we knew that we were in trouble, but still had lots of time for us to come back. To do that, we had to stick with our game plan.
We had to contain Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena, for these two men are the Blue Eagles’ offensive pillars.
To stop the seven-foot Slaughter, I, along with Yutien Andrada bothered the big man by setting up a double team—when he gets to have the leather, that is.
But as much as possible, we needed the ball away from him, so that we would have an easier time in defending. The plan was to get Slaughter more involved on the ball screen—for us to clear the paint, which could transpire into easy baskets. However, Slaughter did not fall to the trap as we expected.
It is a good thing that LA Revilla was able to run good transition plays, shifting the momentum to our favor.
We knew that we had to improve our free-throw shooting so as to stand a better chance. We did not do badly from the line, as we shot an above-average 75% (15/20).
In fact, these free throws helped us in keeping a safe distance from Ateneo, even helping us take the lead at one point.
Sadly, we did not finish the game ahead.
We ended the game as losers, but I for one know that we are capable of bouncing back.
This game has enabled us to learn from our mistakes, and made us realize that the errors we made could be avoided in the next crucial games that we will play.
6’6 tall Norberto Brian Torres is the Archers’ main man in the middle. He registered 11 markers, 7 rebounds and one block during the La Salle-Ateneo encounter.