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Dugout Triple Threat presents FEU-La Salle preview

By Dugout Philippines

TRIPLE Threat is back! Three questions are to be answered by three resource persons regarding a particular sports issue. To kick off the new season, let's take a look at the crucial match between FEU and La Salle on Wednesday.

Wednesday will be a big day in the UAAP 78 Men's Basketball Tournament because there is one game that will decide who will join Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern and Ateneo in the Final Four.

Wednesday's game between De La Salle and FEU at the Big Dome will be of much significance not just for them, but also for NU. The defending champion took #KaguloSaUAAP to a more chaotic level after beating FEU last Saturday and in the process, putting the final blow on the flickering postseason hopes of UE.

Fittingly enough, that leaves the race for the last ticket to the Final Four down to its final game (or two) of the regular season, a game (or a couple of games) that would make or break any school's hearts.

A win by La Salle and it will live another day as it will force a playoff with NU for the fourth seed. Otherwise, NU will smoothly sail to the Final Four.

For this Triple Threat, Dugout PH writers JA Espiritu, Kevin Estrada, and Ivan Saldajeno will make a look-ahead to the game.
Question no. 1: FEU is in a slump, losing back to back games to UST and NU to blew their chance at the top seed. What should FEU do to end its regular season on a high note?

Kevin: For FEU to win, they need to have three Bs: Balanced Scoring, Ball Movement and Big Man Domination. 

In their last game vs NU, the gap between Tolomia and the rest of the team in scoring was too wide, with Monbert Arong followed him with a measly ten points. This was not the FEU we see all season long, remember the first game of the season vs Ateneo, none of the four who scored in double digits have reached 20 points. To beat La Salle, FEU needs a Tam apart from Belo and Tolomia to share the scoring duties, and that's where Monbert Arong, Achie Inigo and Francis Tamsi have to step up.

Their ball movement in the half court set was also needed to counter La Salle's zone defense and have to make their open shots count. So FEU needs to punish them from the inside and out.

Knowing that the tallest player La Salle uses is a 6'5" in Larry Muyang, FEU should punish its lack of ceiling and at the same time, making them pay for neglecting Ben Mbala by starting Prince Orizu right from the get go. This is a right time for Coach Nash to utilize the high-low on him to create some bonus points for a rebound-first guy like Prince.

JA: First of all, the TAMS need to win in order for them to end this eliminations on a high note. Get some momentum for a war of final vs ADMU.

T- Treat this game like a playoff game. They've been in cruise control mode in their past games. They need to bring the pain of losing in last years finals to regain the fire in their belly.

A- Allow everyone to shine and contribute. Don't rely too much on Tolomia, Belo, Pogoy. They are much dangerous when everyone is zoned in and are playing for each other. 

M- Make defensive stops and get easy baskets to loosen up the pressure. They got to create turnovers in order for them to get their running game going. Use their athleticism, length, and height into play. Make it an advantage.

S-Stop turning the ball over. They've been turnover prone in their recent slide; that's why they've been struggling. Turnovers kill their athleticism, length, and speed advantage. Not getting fastbreak and easy baskets puts the pressure in them to execute halfcourts in which the only guy who can really breakdown its defender is Mike Tolomia. They need to take care of the ball. If they control their turnovers and they dictate the tempo, TAMS will end the elims on a high note.

Ivan: While I'm not saying this match should be taken for granted knowing La Salle has everything to lose, FEU should look at this as a tune-up against Ateneo. The Tams beat the Blue Eagles twice this season, so the same spirit the Tams had during those games should be there as well. FEU also defeated La Salle in the first round, but with the playoff push a motivation, expect FEU to grind it out this time.

Next: With pressure on La Salle, how can the team force do-or-die Saturday? Their answers on the next page.

Continued on the next page...

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