Best non-rivalry rivalry? If the Archers squint enough, maybe they'll see Eagles instead of Falcons and get fired up over that. Otherwise, they can look back at last season and see two close losses that could have gone their way. In round one, the Falcons saved their offense for the fourth quarter, doubling the 9 point output of DLSU to win 70-68, behind a vintage performance from Jan Colina (16 points, 8 rebounds). In round two, it was La Salle's turn to score late, getting a 21-12 fourth quarter edge. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as they still fell 69-64, with Austin Manyara's 11 point, 17 rebound, 3 assist, 2 block night outdoing Yutien Andrada's 7 point, 10 rebound, 5 block performance.
Stat to Watch : The Archers excel at one thing: putting the ball in the basket. They have the best percentage from three-point land (29%) but at the same time, average the most number of two-point attempts (54.6 a game). This season, the Archers haven't lost when they've scored 74 or more points, so against a defense-first Adamson team, they'll need to make sure they apply a ton of pressure, and hopefully make the Falcons guard more than just LA Revilla or Jarelan Tampus.
Player to Watch : Against the UE Red Warriors, Simon Atkins had a breakout game of sorts, finishing with 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including a 2 of 3 shooting performance from downtown. I say "of sorts" because it came against UE, but you hope that the effect carries over, as the team captain hasn't played like one, shooting an abysmal 28.13% from the field, 17.65% from downtown. He gets minutes because Coach Dindo Pumaren likes to sic him on the opposing team's best scorer, but the Archers become so much more potent if Atkins is a threat to nail an open jump shot.
Stat to Watch : In Adamson's losses, they've shot under 40% from the field, 26.56% versus Ateneo and 33.85% versus NU, with points in the paint taking a huge hit in percentage as well to sub-45% in those two games. If they can establish someone down low, like if Jan Colina stepped into a time machine and emerged with his Season 72 self for example, the Falcons would have someone they can just the ball down to low when their shooting dries up. Maybe if they wish hard enough, that can be Austin Manyara?
Player to Watch : Alex Nuyles came up short from the charity stripe late in their game versus NU, but he was actually missing everything, save for his hot first quarter start. Nuyles is also taking a bit too many triples for a guy who is 5 for 16 for 31.25%, and taking out his 4 for 6 performance against the Tigers, 1 for 10 from beyond the arc. The best way to help people forget his bad performance though? Come up with a big game in your next encounter.
Prediction: Adamson Falcons