Current DLSU head coach fought his old team twice last season, and actually split the series between these two squads. In round one, the Archers got a breakout 10 point, 8 rebound, 6 block performance from Papot Paredes. That, combined with 16 points from Maui Villanueva and 15 from Sam Marata, was more than enough to trump the 25 points of Paul Lee, DLSU winning in a blowout, 82-63. Round two was much different though, because this time Paul Lee brought help. The UE senior guard troika of Lee, Raffy Reyes, and James Martinez combined for 49 points, and despite Paredes having another good showing, 10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, beat DLSU 80-74.
Stat to Watch : What was unusual about La Salle's Jekyll and Hyde shooting performance against the NU Bulldogs was the fact that they went ice cold against the league's worst defense, as NU allows their opponents 42% shooting. UE's a tad better, allowing 38% shooting, but the Archers should still beware of extended scoring droughts, as UE might take better advantage of any 0/10 quarters from DLSU.
Player to Watch : Since claiming the starting power forward position, Maui Villanueva has been on a tear, putting up numbers similar to his production from last season. In the two games he's been in the first five, he's averaged 7.5 points on 46% shooting, 8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.8 blocks in just 20 minutes. He's an excellent match-up against the smaller UE forwards who rely more on athleticism than brute strength.
Stat to Watch : The Red Warriors have not been having a lot of success on offense, averaging a league-worst 57.2 points a game, the only team to average less than 60 points in fact, and part of the problem stems from an inability to hit outside shots. The Warriors average just 1.8 triples out of 13 attempts a game, for a ridiculous 14% for downtown. That allows opponents to just pack the paint, cutting off driving lanes, and making UE take contested mid-range jumpers.
Player to Watch : It's surprising to me that Adrian Santos has not been getting more minutes, averaging just 20.6 a game despite putting up 6.2 points on 50% shooting and 7.4 rebounds. The fact is, aside from Roi Sumang (22 minutes), Chris Javier (22.6 minutes) and Paul Zamar (24.2) minutes, no other Red Warriors averages 21 or higher. Coach Jerry Codinera ought to experiment with giving players longer stints to see how they react. It's not like he has anything to lose at this point right?
Prediction: DLSU Green Archers