Saturday, August 6, 2011

Obliging The Green Mind

I know that the recent post about the Ateneo Blue Eagles on The Green Mind by Tony L. Atayde is just a bald-faced attempt at trolling and driving traffic to that blog, but I'll bite.
"Ateneo Peaking Too Soon?"*
Post title pa lang, flamebait na. It's so sensationalistic people don't notice it actually doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the blog entry.
"Arrneo," I get—I use it myself sometimes—but "Brrue Eagrre"? Is that supposed to be an insult? Nobody says that, apart from maybe the Japanese of caricature.
After watching the last 2 games of Ateneo, I don't believe in their so called "invicibility".
What a coincidence, I don't believe in their invisibility too! But what do I know, I only catch their games on TV. Maybe they're invisible to those who see them live in Araneta? I doubt it. The Blue Eagles are fast on the break, but they're not that fast so as to be practically invisible.

Oh, he meant "invincibility"! My bad.

I don't think Mr. Atayde and I watched the same games. Because he couldn't have missed that the Blue Eagles actually won those two games by a combined margin of 33 points, could he?
We can beat this team.
The Green Archers can, and the Green Archers did—twice, even, over the summer. But that was then. Whether they will beat the Blue Eagles in Season 74 is another story. Like Ateneo coach Norman Black said back in June, "It’s summer. Our main focus is the UAAP. We’ll stay focused, and get better in July, and get better in September." It's August now. Looking at the standings, I can say that the Blue Eagles are doing just fine.
Too bad we played them early and of course that was because the host makes the schedule and you know who the hosts are.

After that opening day fiasco where it turned out to be more a lesson in "How to Hold a UAAP Opening Day Ceremony With Rain and Mud", their manipulation will continue all throughout the season.
Yes, Ateneo is this year's host and makes the schedule for the ongoing basketball tournaments. But Mr. Atayde neglects to mention that when La Salle hosted Season 73, it did the exact same thing he implies Ateneo has done and will do in Season 74: make a tournament schedule that doesn't conform to the UAAP Rules and Regulations.

Allow me to explain.

The Men's basketball tournament employs a double round-robin format, i.e. each team plays all others twice, for the eliminations. Here is the competition pairings under the UAAP Rules:
1st Round Pairing
1 vs. 3
2 vs. 4
5 vs. 7
6 vs. 8

2nd Round Pairing
1 vs. 5
2 vs. 6
3 vs. 7
4 vs. 8

3rd Round Pairing
1 vs. 4
2 vs. 3
5 vs. 8
6 vs. 7

4th Round Pairing
1 vs. 6
2 vs. 7
3 vs. 8
4 vs. 5

5th Round Pairing
1 vs. 7
2 vs. 8
3 vs. 5
4 vs. 6

6th Round Pairing
1 vs. 8
2 vs. 5
3 vs. 6
4 vs. 7

7th Round Pairing
1 vs. 2
3 vs. 4
5 vs. 6
7 vs. 8
For the first round of eliminations, the pairings are determined using the order of finish from the previous year. In Season 72, the season-ending standings were:
1 ADMU (Champion)
2 UE (Losing finalist)
5 AdU
7 NU
8 UP
So for the first round of Season 73, defending champion Ateneo was supposed to face the following teams, in order:
5 AdU
7 NU
8 UP
2 UE
That's exactly how the Blue Eagles' schedule turned out.

Now for the second round of eliminations, the pairings are determined using the order of finish from the just-concluded first round. In Season 73, the standings at the end of the first round was:
T2 AdU
7 UE
8 UP
Ateneo and Adamson ended up tied for second place at the end of the first round. If Ateneo was considered No. 2 its second round schedule should've been:
6 NU or UST
3 AdU
7 UE
8 UP
5 NU or UST
1 FEU.
On the other hand, if Ateneo was No. 3 its schedule should've been:
7 UE
2 AdU
8 UP
5 NU or UST
6 NU or UST
The schedule DLSU made?
8 UP
5 or 6 NU
7 UE
2 or 3 AdU
5 or 6 UST
Did the Ateneo side raise a hoot then? No, because it's the host school's prerogative to tinker with the tournament schedule for its own reasons, which could include scheduling "big" games on weekends so more people can watch live. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Going back to our team in comparison to theirs. I saw their game vs UST, a very small team, and their mercenary rookie Greg Slaughter looked like a walking Meralco post.. Slaughter looked like he was trained by La Salle's "big man coach". He literally stood out like sore thumb. He is weak and will back down when played physical. Van Opstal, who is progressing very well, can eat this guy and spit him out. Put Andrada along side AVO and Slaughter will be slaughtered.
First: the Growling Tigers aren't "a very small team." They only have four players—the same number as Ateneo—who stand 6 feet tall or lower, and their average height is not grossly disproportionate to that of the Blue Eagles. But since the sole 7-footer in the entire league plays for Ateneo, people (lazily) conclude that the Blue Eagles tower over the rest of the UAAP teams.

Second: I'm curious how Mr. Atayde defines "mercenary," because off the top of my head I can name more than a few La Salle "greats" whom that word would describe better than it would describe Slaughter.

Third, Slaughter will always look like a walking Meralco post and stick out like a sore thumb. He can't help it—he's 7 feet tall!

Fourth: Yes, Van Opstal (6'8" tall, 215 lbs., 6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.7 topg) is progressing very well. But if he can eat and spit Greg out (ano daw?) in the first place, why the need for Andrada to help out?
As for the perceived "god" of the Ateneo team, Keifer Ravena, he can be neutralized if defense on him is focused. Keep him away from the ball. A box 4 zone defense with one bigger player sticking to him like a cheap suit will take away his game.
First: Ravena must be kept away from the ball? He will be ineffective if the defense on him is focused? Howobvious. The way La Salle is playing, that's one big if right there. Besides, there are so many things Kiefer can do that don't require him having the ball in his hands.

Second: Did Mr. Atayde mean a "box-and-one defense"? Because it seems to me that a "box 4 zone" would require eight people (four to make the "box," plus four more) to execute. But a team is only allowed to field a maximum of five players at a time. Where would La Salle get the three extra guys on the court?

Hey, wait a minute….

Third: Nothing would make me happier than La Salle employing a box-and-one defense. That's because that defensive formation has a built-in weak spot: the center of the "box." Ateneo has enough good passers (and the league's only 7-footer) to use and abuse that gap.
If Webb can get his act together, he can guard Ravena and if he succeeds Kiefer might end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because Webb can get into his mind and if Webb does that, Ravena may never recover.
There are three ifs, one might, and one may in that sentence. Hedging much? Hell of a way to hype his own guy.
As for Eman One Fourth, he is effective at the top of half court. Push him to the either left or right and he won't get the assists that he has.
Wait, because Emman's last name is Monfort and he's listed at 5'6" he's dubbed "One Fourth"? Wow, such wit!

In case anyone has forgotten, Emman's one-fourth has been worth two straight titles, which is more than people can say about about the one whole of any current player on La Salle's lineup.
Kirk Long is a good transition player. He should be stopped before he gets to mid court. He is a dirty player and we should give him a bath.
Let me get this straight: Gusto niyang paliguan si Kirk Long? That is just…wrong. Yet a man old enough to be someone's grandfather thought that. Published it, even. On the Internet. In 2011.

But hey, what did you expect from a self-confessed "green mind"?
Our biggest problem will be Salva, (a former Lasallian). However, he can't do anything if he does not have the ball.
We just had to mention Salva's La Salle roots, didn't we? I wonder, though, if Nico himself brings that up, especially since after his sophomore year in high school he left La Salle Greenhills and moved to San Beda College.

And don't you just hate it when people think a player has to have the ball to do something positive in-game? How about the part where Salva can draw a defender out and help space the floor? Or the part where Nico could set a pick so hard the opposing is knocked back to kindergarten?
We cannot use the full court press against Ateneo. Coach Dindo has to think up of something that Black has never seen. I also noticed that the Ateneo players knew our play signs. When one of our players would call our plays, they would make their adjustments and be ready for it. It shows that Ateneo has been diligently watching our games and is one step ahead of us.
A compliment!
As for their bench, they are no match for ours. Austria, Golla, Tonito whatever, Whammy Teongson (where do they get these monichers) and Chua dont will get nowhere with our bench.
Yes, the Ateneo reserves are certainly no match for a La Salle bench that has 13 combined championship rings fewer than the five Blue Eagles just mentioned.

And is not knowing (and misspelling) people's name supposed to sting now?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Tiongson was nicknamed Juami because his given name is Juan Miguel. "But you already know that," to borrow from the philosopher Alberto del Rio.
Dindo should slowly be preparing for the Ateneo game. Man for man, La Salle is a better team. Now show Black that he ain't got nothing on you.
I suppose that Coach Norman's three straight championships, not to mention his PBA coaching titles, don't count?

Any claim that La Salle, man for man, is a better team than Ateneo is just plain wrong. Even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that the claim is true, then that's a backhanded compliment if I ever so one—it can only mean that the Blue Eagles have succeeded more than the Green Archers this season because they're greater than the sum of their parts.

*That particular blog entry has been edited since it was first posted.

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