ABL 2011 Game 5: Learning Pains (19 February 2011)

At the end of the first half, the team was down 9-23. The superior ball rotation of AHS 4H 03 and their height advantage boded ill-for our pell-mell offense. Man-per-man, they were the much better team.

With the absence of main-man Merrill Lazo, the team could not set a disciplined offense. We relied on the hardworking Ryan Agas for dangerous one-on-four forays into the paint and on the sweet shooting Adi Dimaliwat for outside sniping. Yayo Puno and Velden Lim were also missing in action, leaving a wide hole in our defensive life and offensive rotation, respectively.

Despite our decent defensive effort, we were outrebounded. And since the objective of a basketball game is to score as much points as possible, a muddled offensive system is a major handicap.

To be honest, I had the impression that all was lost after the dreaded 1st half. But the guys pushed through, not wanting to give up the fight so early. The usually cool Agas exhibited a fiery demeanor. For the first time in recent memory, the former UAAP juniors standout became vocal, exhorting the rest of the guys to collapse on the big men, to run fastbreaks – to fight for every inch!

Slowly, gradually we cut down the lead. The entry of man mountain Jave Maceda was the catalyst. Even if we were still outrebounded, his hulking presence deterred many a shot taker. Marc Ruiz’s inspired play brought life into our sagging game.

At the game’s dying minutes, back-to-back three pointers by Dimaliwat and the mercurial Paolo “The Machine” Rosales saw the team going as close as 3 points, with 3 minutes remaining in the final quarter. Turnovers and missed free throws cost us the game.

But then again, our motley crew did the best we could under the circumstances. Besides, this morning’s game was a marked improvement from the double digit shellacking we took from the very same team at the start of ABL 2011.

Nevertheless, a loss is still a loss. We have a long way to go before we can ourselves a “basketball team.” Defeat, after all, is the best teacher.

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