Beating La Salle in a championship is difficult but doable
Coming into the Season 80 of the UAAP, everyone was expecting one team to dominate the season like it did last year. That team, of course, is none other than the De La Salle Green Archers who are now being led by two-time MVP Ben Mbala. However, the Green Archers were dealt with a surprising loss by the UP Fighting Maroons and of course, bowing down to the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles at the end of the first round.
The Archers, however, ended the Eagles' 13-game winning streak which ensured a Final 4. La Salle then faced and beat the Adamson Falcons in their Final 4 match-up- a game which was put into question due to what the Falcons' coaching staff thought was a biased officiating. The game was reviewed by the UAAP Board and found that there were questionable fouls that were called against both teams but, no replay of the game was required.
This year's Finals series between Ateneo and La Salle is more unpredictable than it was last year. Ateneo won Game 1 after a hard-fought battle but La Salle came back to win Game 2 by erasing a 21-point deficit.
As a result, we'll have Ateneo-La Salle. One more time. Tomorrow. All for the championship.
Question: Can Ateneo win it all tomorrow?
The Blue Eagles can win the championship tomorrow if:
- Defend Ben Mbala. They've already done that in the first round and in Game 1 of the Finals. Go back to those games and look at how they were able to limit the offensive output of the reigning MVP. You do that. You increase the chance of beating the champs.
- Sustain their intensity. One of the many reasons why La Salle was able to force a Game 3 was the inability of the Blue Eagles to sustain a big margin after working hard to build that lead during the early goings of the game. If Ateneo is to win the championship, they will need to find ways to hold onto the lead. Sustain a high level of energy throughout the entire game.
- Consistency. This is one of the things Ateneo was sorely lacking during the rest of Game 2. They were hot offensively during the entire first quarter but went ice-cold during the rest of the game.The Blue Eagles need to maintain their consistency especially when shooting from the three-point line.
Ateneo will be faced with a daunting task that seems impossible at first. But if you come to think of it, Tab Baldwin and his boys have beaten the men in green twice already this season. They just need to rediscover how they were able to win those games.