UAAP 75 finals Ateneo-UST game 2 : if Ateneo wins, referees are in to it, if UST wins, referees are fair
referees favoring Ateneo Blue Eagles in game 1 of the UAAP 75 finals was what made UST lose, that was according to UST growling tigers coach pido jarencio. coach pido also said something about the Ateneo players or was it the Blue Eagles’ coach Norman Black being able to speak good English and by implication UST growling tigers’ being poor at it had played a role in their loss. we did not understand how proficiency in speaking English mattered during the game, we hardly saw the Ateneo and UST players say anything during the game it being basketball and not a debate but that was how coach pido saw it.
no surprise to us since much of what coach pido said didn’t really make sense to us.
we didn’t think the Ateneo Blue Eagles won the game because of the referees or that they spoke better English, it was because coach pido did not adjust his team’s game play on the 3rd quarter of the game. the Ateneo Blue Eagles were down at the end of the 2nd half on account of too many unforced errors, poor defense and generally poor shooting. but the whole complexion of the game changed during he 3rd quarter as the Blue Eagles went on a shooting rampage and clamped the Growling Tigers on defense when it had a fantastic 17-0 ran in that quarter.
we think coach pido was unable to read the change in play employed by the blue eagles in the 3rd quarter both on offense and defense. unable to read the play meant he missed out on changing the play for his own team.
the UST growling tigers concentrated so much defense muscle on greg slaughter, often three players guarding him that other blue eagle players became free to score on the offense. one notable blue eagle was nico salva who shot his career best in that game. salva simply toyed around with the UST defense and took shots from his favorite spots, made his favorite shots plus others.
salva is the kind of player who is very low key – simple shots taken in a very muted way unlike kiefer ravena and greg slaughter. kiefer ravena is an explosive and impressive player. he makes these fantastic shots and fantastic moves that you can’t help but notice he is doing well in a game. slaughter because of his height and position is also as noticeable but in a different way. because slaughter is an imposing center, you will notice it if he is doing well in a game as he will always make his shots look easy under the ring and make you wonder why the defense can’t stop him.
salva just makes the regular jump shot and the occasional lay-up with very little fanfare and muted style. but the difference is that salva is one hell of an efficient player. his almost boring style makes him unnoticed by coaches and other players and coach pido and the growling tigers were no exception in game 1.
salva is the player that just creeps into the game unnoticed mostly. and when he gets into a scoring rhythm, he can carry that throughout the game.
but apparently coach pido did not notice these things. he did not change the game play on defense and continued to pour in effort and manpower on slaughter. slaughter on his part very smartly accepted it but looked for the open man when three UST players were on him.
if coach pido paid attention to the game, he would have realized the defense he put on salva was doing a bad job at it. salva was able to get away from his defense in almost any spot a few feet away from the ring.
coach pido was also obviously unable to find the correct player mix to get their offense going. UST is made up of great shooters but the combination coach pido put in simply didn’t click. the growling tigers tried but they were unsuccessful in putting shots in that they had zero points for a stretch of around 7 to 10 minutes during the 3rd quarter.
having zero points for that long a time may be a function of the defense put up by Ateneo. Ateneo is one of the best defensive teams in the league but we did not see any new plays put up by the Ateneo crew on defense. UST had zero points in that period not because Ateneo had put up a great defense, it was just that the combination of players in the court for UST did not work well. we think the UST players became shell shocked by the juggernaut offense of the Blue Eagles that they lost confidence and found themselves unable to shoot.
so what will happen in game 2? well we think coach pido will once again say after the game that the Ateneans were favored by the referees if UST loses the game tomorrow. it’s a very convenient and easy excuse to make for coach pido. of course if UST wins tomorrow, coach pido will conveniently forget his referees for Ateneo charge and just say his players did it all.
there is something about the blue eagles that we have noticed – they win most of their games due to their 3rd quarter performance. things simply change for the blue eagles on the 3rd quarter. they can be doing badly (as they did in game 1 with UST) in the 1st and 2nd quarters but when they come out of the half huddle, they make the adjustments in their play and recover in the 3rd quarter. the blue eagles are almost always a completely different team when they come out to the court during the 3rd quarter. it’s like a miracle happens in the dugout during the half time break that they discover the secret formula to win the game.
to us, that secret formula is coach norman black. black we think is the best coach in the league. he is to us the Great Adjuster. black is able to see things so well and is brilliant at making the adjustments he needs to make in offense and defense in the 3rd quarter to win the game. the Ateneo Blue Eagles is made up of very good players, both its first five and the bench crews. among his first five, we know ravena, salva and slaughter can win games plus add to that the bench like buenafe, golla and elorde and that makes a potent team.
but having great players is not enough. you need an even greater coach who can analyze games as they evolve and think up of changes in offense and defense plays and get the combination of players that work. many of the teams in the UAAP, like the UST growling tigers, have many great players just like Ateneo but the advantage of the blue eagles is that they have norman black to make it all work well and adjust to win games.
and as we have seen in game 1, coach pido jarencio is no coach norman black.
makes in offense or defense play and player combinations