Looking at the DLSU-SBU Filoil finals match-up
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - June 21, 2019 - 1:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — This is the fourth Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup finals between De La Salle University and San Beda University. The titanic battle is slated at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

Right now, the count goes to San Beda, which is 2-1 in championship bouts against its former NCAA rival.

The Green Archers won the first match-up in 2007, 89-81, but the Red Lions won the next two (2015 behind Ola Adeogun and Art Dela Cruz, 79-53, and in 2017, when Robert Bolick Jr. trumped the Ben Mbala-led Archers, 75-72).

La Salle has won the tournament four times while San Beda took home the trophy, twice.

The Red Lions made the finals in 2018 but were blown off the court by Ateneo, 76-62.

Let’s take a look at the match-ups:

Offensive Rank
La Salle – second (behind LPU) with a 79.4 average
San Beda – seventh with a 74.6 average

Defensive Rank
La Salle – fourth best which limits foes to 70.3 points per game
Sa Beda – best in the league which holds opponents down to 64.1 points

Top Five Players
La Salle
Justine Baltazar – 15.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks
Encho Serrano – 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists
Andrei Caracut – 10.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists
Aljun Melecio – 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds 4.7 assists
Jordan Bartlett – 6.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists

San Beda 
James Kwekuteye – 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists
Donald Tankoua –13.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists
Clint Doliguez – 9.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals
Even Nelle – 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals
Calvin Oftana – 7.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists

Turnover and fastbreak points
In this tournament, La Salle has forced 122 turnovers, but San Beda really makes a living off defense with the 153 they have forced on foes.

La Salle has scored 88 points from turnovers and scored 126 fastbreak points.

San Beda, on the other hand, notched 112 turnover points and 126 fastbreak points.

San Beda is better off on the half court set while La Salle likes to run. 

I think La Salle gets more contributions from its bench than San Beda does. The Green Archers have 11 players averaging more than 10 minutes of playing time while San Beda has only eight. That isn’t saying the Red Lions’ bench will not step up. They all play their roles, but of late, the rotation has gotten shorter with the starters playing longer minutes. La Salle on the other hand has stretches where the bench carries even the starting five.

Even when Joel Cagulangan steps on the court, La Salle does not lose a beat.

Brandon Bates though does need to play better. Justine Baltazar was clearly tired against Lyceum during their semis battle.

San Beda struggles somewhat when Prince Etrata is on the court. Ralph Penuela gets the job done but he needs to be more consistent. In their semis game against Adamson, he was off and giving up silly fouls. When Evan Nelle returned, the team stabilized.

We all know what Baltazar, Caracut, and Melecio bring to the table. In my opinion, it is the ascension of Encho Serrano as a force for the Green Archers makes them a very good team. This kid needs no plays designed for him. He creates and manufactures shots and opportunities. He has played well l and displaced even Joaqui Manuel in the starting unit. 

For San Beda, they have arguably one of the best players in college right now with James Kwekuteye. He can play the 1-3 spots with aplomb. He moves well without the ball and sees the court well. It is these two things that allow him to mesh well with Evan Nelle. 

Both Serrano and Kwekuteye scored points in bunches off a variety of moves. While all the others will need to contribute to their respective team’s chances, I’d say how Encho and James do will contribute to their team’s success. If they are balling – and you know what I mean – and having their way, their team will bag the trophy.

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