The La Salle Green Archers pounded UP into submission in both rounds last season, never letting them lead at all, and allowing just one deadlock. Turnover points were the key, as La Salle got 22 in their 80-62 first round win, and then 21, in round two's 84-63 blow out. Maui Villanueva had his way inside in both occasions, averaging 13.5 points (on 68% FG) and 10.5 rebounds, playing in just an average of 23 minutes. Interestingly enough though, when DLSU started out Season 72 0-2, they snapped their loss streak against UP in a 73-63 victory. But UP later got revenge with an 83-78 win in the second round, that was their last for a long time, before they defeated UE this season.
Stat to Watch : Through a combination of guys missing shots and LA Revilla needing to take on opposing squads by himself, the Archers have averaged just 13 assists a game this season, down from last year when they normed 15.71, second best in the league. Another possible cause? Unfamiliarity playing with all the various line-ups playing 14 or 15 players a game causes.
Player to Watch : In defense of Norbert Torres, he's had to go up against two of the best big men in the league recently, Aldrech Ramos and Greg Slaughter, so it's no wonder that he's only averaging 6.5 points on 31% shooting (0/5 from 3pt), 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a whopping 4 fouls. He should find an easier going against the UP bigs (who aren't really bigs once you get past Alinko Mbah), but if he still insists on taking, and missing triples, what happens?
Stat to Watch : UP excels when they're up and running, averaging 23 fast break points in their first two games. If they can read the La Salle press correctly, that leaves tons of opportunities for someone like Mike Gamboa or Mike Silungan to just waltz right into the lane, or, if they opt to go the passing route, find an open big man for an easy lay-in.
Player to Watch : One of the common complaints from UP supporters this season has been coach Ricky Dandan's conversion of Mike Silungan into a three-point shooter off screens, instead of utilizing his slashing ability to get to the rim. I don't have a lot of problems with it, just as long as Silungan and the UP coaching staff are aware when his shot is going in that he has to start attacking the rim. If he can mix it up against La Salle, I think the Archers will be hard-pressed to contain this guy.
Prediction: DLSU Green Archers