MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) Blue Eagles will have to depend more on their outside shooters to beat the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers in their UAAP Final 4 showdown starting this Saturday.
According to UAAP basketball analyst Marco Benitez, the Archers’ twin towers of Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal clicked during La Salle’s do-or-die game against Far Eastern University (FEU).
Benitez expects the Archers to utilize their big men against the defending champions Blue Eagles.
“In the last game against FEU we saw a lot of tandem of Norbert Torres and AVO (Arnold Van Opstal). They were successful with that against FEU,” Benitez told ANC Headstart.
Benitez said Ateneo could also rely on perimeter shooters like Nico Salva.
“Offensively, Nico Salva will be really, really big…If Salva is gonna be effective and he's gonna step up he'd be able to hit that 15-17 footer consistently, that's more or less going to eliminate the advantage that La Salle has with the twin towers,” he said.
The Eagles will renew their fabled rivalry with the Archers on Saturday when they battle for one of the two Finals seats.
Top seed Ateneo enjoys a twice-to-beat advantage against La Salle.
Meanwhile, former Ateneo stalwart Kirk Long said flexibility will be key if the National University (NU) Bulldogs hopes to beat the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Tigers.
The Bulldogs will need to beat the Tigers twice before they could advance to their first Finals appearance in the history of the UAAP.
“Coach Eric [Altamirano] will just have to find ways to help his other players to be adjusted whenever they need to be,” said Long.