Tenacious defense by Ateneo limits Mbalain Here is your first Forum Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:20 pm
by pinkpink • 799 Posts
For the first time in his UAAP career, De La Salle University big man Ben Mbala found himself limited to single digits in scoring.Against a tenacious, disciplined Ateneo defense, Mbala attempted only seven field goals, making three of them for a total of eight points. He did have 12 rebounds and four assists, and was a team-high plus-12, but his lack of impact on the offensive end definitely hampered the Green Archers.
That it came in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 80 Finals only made Mbala's subpar performance all the more painful. Without their MVP making his usual contributions, La Salle bowed to Ateneo, 76-70, in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
"They played good defense," Mbala conceded after the game, which marked his lowest scoring output in two seasons in the UAAP. "They were able to hold me down to eight. I give it to them.""They made me sure they will make me score the lowest points ever, that's what they were able to do," he added. "You guys all saw, my team struggled a bit without me not being able to help in the offensive side."
The Ateneo coaching staff made it clear that Mbala was their primary concern when they were preparing for La Salle in the Finals, and with good reason. The big man averaged 26.0 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game in the eliminations – numbers that made him the hands down MVP of Season 80.
However, in Game 1, the Blue Eagles were able to neutralize Mbala's impact, particularly on offense. The 6-foot-8 center averaged over 15 field goals per game in the elimination round, as well as nearly 12 free throws per game. Yet he only had seven field goals in Game 1 as the Blue Eagles repeatedly denied him the ball, and they forced him to give up the http://www.officialheatauthentic.com/authentic-33-alonzo-mourning-jersey.html rock by double-teaming the La Salle center.
Ateneo coach Sandy Arespacochaga commended the entire squad for following their game plan – one that they did not have time to fully practice ahead of the Finals."We can't play Ben Mbala straight up, one-on-one," he said. "We needed to come up with a scheme against him, and we needed all of our five guys to come up and do their roles in order to slow down Ben."Because Ateneo played in a do-or-die Final Four game against Far Eastern University last Wednesday, they were unable to physically practice those schemes. Instead, their preparations were "mostly mental."
"It was all video," he explained. "We talked to them and showed them diagrams, and they picked up on it.""So they implemented the game http://www.eaglesofficialsshop.com/Brandon_Graham_Jersey_Cheap plan," Arespacochaga also said. "There were some mistakes, but more or less, we were happy with how they executed, considering we couldn't really go live five on five in practice. So I'd like to give credit Adam Clendening Jersey to our players for that."
Yet even though Mbala was limited to his career-low, the Green Archers still remained in striking distance. It was not until Isaac Go converted a clutch and-1 play with 10.4 seconds left that the Blue Eagles could breathe easily.
"La Salle is not just Ben Mbala," Arespacochaga stressed. "If you look at their box score, he only scored eight, but Aljun Melecio scored 24, and a couple of their players scored eight, seven, seven points.""So this is a good team, this is a deep Alexander Burmistrov Jersey team, this is a strong team," he added.Adjustments, thus, are needed for Wednesday's Game 2. Arespacochaga says they already saw La Salle make some changes during the series opener, and they will again try to counter those moves.
"This is where the chess game comes in," he said."La Salle will make the adjustments, so we have to be able to read their in-game adjustments and try to adjust to what they're going to do," he further explained. "They actually made a couple of adjustments already, and again, tribute to our players.""We told them what La Salle's adjustments were, we told them how to counter it, and more or less, they did that on the fly. Great job by our players there."