Breaking down La Salle's woes

Jason Perkins of the De La Salle University Green Archers dives for ball posession during their recent game against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, Sept. 13, 2015 at the Mall of  Asia Arena in Pasay City. The Archers lost,  | Philstar.com/Izzy Toledo

MANILA, Philippines - People are wondering why La Salle isn't playing well. They are at 1-2 but could have been 0-3 had NU not bungled its late-game chances even as the Green Archers faltered down the stretch.
 
Nevertheless, here are my thoughts.
 
The Archers need more frontline scoring
 
Let's talk about their bigs - Prince Rivero, Abu Tratter, Jason Perkins, Larry Muyang and JBoy Gob.
 
Right now, their frontline strength lies in the hands of sophomore, Rivero, who is playing superb. Rivero has proven able to slip in and around taller defenders with his high basketball IQ. There's isn't much wasted movement and he doesn't make too many bad decisions. In three matches, while averaging close to 26 minutes of playing time, he has only turned the ball over twice. That is like a TO every 13 minutes of play. Summing up his game, Rivero is averaging 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in three matches.
 
He is the only bright spot so far. We'll skip Perkins for now and save him for next. But looking at the others...
 
Tratter - 13.9 minutes per game. 1.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. 
Muyang - 5.8 minutes in two matches. 3.0ppg, 1.5 rpg and 0.5 bpg.
Job hasn't even gotten a single minute of play.
 
Jason Perkins' game has continued to go down
 
It was a far cry from his first year in Season 76 where he shot the ball well, was a bundle of energy, and gave every foe a lot to handle down the post. Since that championship season, his performance has gone down. Some say it is because he is slimmer and might not be used to his weight. Er, I am not sure about that. It just might be coincidence.
 
In three matches, Perkins has averaged 7.7 ppg to go with 9.0 rebounds. His rebounding is fine. It is his scoring that is down. Tracking his production, in all three matches thus far, he has scored in only two quarters in each game.
 
Perkins
Vs NU: 2nd quarter - 7 points; 4th quarter - 6 points
Vs UP: 2nd quarter - 3 points; 3rd percent - 2 points
Vs FEU: 1st quarter - 2 points; 4th quarter - 3 points
 
La Salle's power forward isn't the only one who isn't playing well. There's Thomas Torres who has been making uncharacteristic turnovers and misfiring.
 
DLSU's 1-2 punch isn't shooting very well
 
Jeron Teng is averaging 19.0 ppg while rookie Andrei Caracut is scoring 12.7ppg. Teng is shooting at 40 percent accuracy rate while Caracut is at 39 percent.
 
Do they shoot too much? Maybe. But every team needs its gunners, go-to players who may score well or not. They aren't shooting the ball very well. 
 
But you might want to take a look at these numbers.
 
Prince Rivero is shooting great:
3/6 vs NU (50 percent)
6/8 vs UP (75 percent)
4/8 vs FEU (50 percent)
 
Rivero is averaging 11.3ppg on 59 percent FG shooting. His teammate, Julian Sargent is averaging 8.3ppg on 41 percent FG shooting. Both secondary scoring options are shooting better that the 1-2 punch of Teng and Caracut.
 
Let's take a look at the scoring and FG accuracy of teams with good win-loss records.
 
UST
Ed Daquioag 24.3ppg (52 percent FG), 1apg
Kevin Ferrer 17.7ppg (48.6 percent FG), 2 apg
 
FEU 
Mac Belo 16.7ppg (58.1 percent FG)
Mike Tolomia 15.0ppg (54.3 percent FG)
Roger Pogoy 13.3ppg (43 percent FG)
Raymar Jose 11.3ppg (65 percent FG)
 
UP
Paul Desiderio 10.7 (36 percent FG)
Jett Manuel 10.0 (31 percent FG)
Diego Dario 10.0 (44 percent FG)
 
Playing small ball
 
What is "small ball?" Playing with a smaller lineup with stretch players so the team can run or provide more scoring options as opposed to fielding others who might slow down the offense.
 
La Salle was outrebounded by NU, 47-42m with a 19-10 advantage in the offensive glass. Again, NU bungled its chances from the stripe and missed open shots in the endgame.
 
The Green Archers outrebounded the Fighting Maroons, 50-37, yet they lost. The Maroons eked out a win because they shot better from the field and DLSU crumbled in the end with costly turnovers and offensive fouls.
 
Against FEU, even if La Salle got crushed on the boards, 53-40, they scored more inside points, 34-30. They were killed by the perimeter scoring. Just like they did against UP. That means they are so worried playing small ball they try to double team the opposing team's taller players - like Aroga of NU and Prince Orizu of FEU who had his breakout game against La Salle - that they scramble to rotate out. 
 
Against NU, I was surprised to see La Salle's players getting lost in the maze of screens running after JJ Alejandro and Gelo Alolino, who got a lot of open looks. 
 
This is the team that wrote the book on staggered screens to free up its shooters.
 
What can La Salle do?
 
Aside from Perkins and Torres playing better, they might want to consider moving that ball around a bit and giving more shots to Rivero and Sargent. And they might want to involve Larry Muyang and Abu Tratter a little more.
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