La Salle versus Ateneo might be college basketball's most intense rivalry, but many would agree that this season's blue-green match-up has become more lopsided than ever before.
There was murder in Cubao yesterday as the Ateneo Blue Eagles mercilessly beat the De La Salle Green Archers, 79-62. That's La Salle's 9th loss in 10 games against the Ateneo, and we think it's time we took a look at what they're doing wrong.
The Blue Eagles used their wings to slash off their rival's, outscoring them 50-15. But that's not really surprising when you realize that positions once occupied by the likes of Mac Cardona, Joseph Yeo and JV Casio are now manned by Sam Marata and Simon Atkins, gunners who do nothing but jack up three pointers. An upgrade should definitely be the first order of business next season.
What happened to the vaunted La Salle press? It's just not as effective as it used to be, and it doesn't scare anyone anymore. Emman Monfort and Kiefer Ravena toyed around with it yesterday, leading to a barrage of highlight reel fast break plays.
Can anyone stop Nico Salva? Not on this team. The offensive machine from Katipunan made his defenders look like helpless pre-schoolers, scoring on them with an array of drives and mid-range jumpers.
Free Throw Woes
Gang green was once again miserable on the stripe, shooting less than 50 percent for the nth time this season. Their horrid free throw shooting has been really disturbing, costing them game after game after game. Maybe someone can take Norbert Torres, Arnold Van Opstal and Joshua Webb to Ronnie Magsanoc's basketball camp this offseason.
Where's the Animo?
Hate. Fire. Passion. These have always been La Salle's main weapons against their rivals, the same weapons we failed to see in the Archers' eyes this season. We might be wrong, but the boys didn't seem emotionally attached to the rivalry at all, a belief that was punctured when L.A. Revilla dribbled out the last few seconds of the game instead of taking it hard to the rim.
Yes, it was garbage time at that point, but that's not how the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry goes. These two are supposed to be on each other's necks until (and after) the horn sounds off. Until they reclaim that mojo, the Archers won't be turning the tables anytime soon.