Defense never rests its case
You get great insights from astute and ardent sports followers everywhere.
A long time ago when I was still dropping by the after-work chill sessions of advertising and production folk, I gathered an unforgettable sports point from creative executive Tony Gloria.
I had worked in advertising production as a voice talent for many years before I became a sportscaster. Industry people from different ad agencies and production houses would come together at night to share war stories, Frank Sinatra songs and sports opinions.
Gloria told me that one of the worst pieces of sports analysis or courtside reporting is to say, “coach said that the team must play defense.”
Basketball is a two-way game and a team should play defense as well as it plays offense. How true. I’ve never forgotten that insight and have always whispered it to aspiring courtside reporters and new analysts to avoid reporting, “a team must play defense.”
When winning coaches talk in post-game press meets, they will very often single out defense as the main ingredient for victory. The coach is actually telling his team that if we do play great defense, good things will happen for us. Guys, we’re working on our defense in practice tomorrow.
Some very recent examples attest to this. De La Salle coach Aldin Ayo instituted what he called “mayhem” to force opponents into awkward possessions and subsequently, turnovers. This translated into a 13-1 season and two more wins in the finals against Ateneo to win this year’s UAAP crown.
In last week’s PBA schedule, Alaska scored a first win in the current conference to avert a
0-3 start that could have been the early diggings of a difficult hole. The Aces turned around a lost cause against GlobalPort into a won game by wearing down the offense of the Batang Pier. A seven-point string in the dying seconds of the third slashed a huge Globalport lead to three.
The Aces’ run was lit up by extreme backcourt pressure on the ball carrier. Alaska won, 95-84.
Defense is hard work and it’s really not much fun to do because you don’t have the ball.
Those of us who play pick-up games and participate in leagues around town have teammates who have the energy to run isolation plays and spearhead fastbreak bust-outs but have no heart to run back for defense.
It’s a different case for pro and collegiate squads, most of whom hustle back quickly to play D. Even when the retired pros play pick-up games, they still naturally run back to assemble defensive lines on the other end of the floor. I learned that from playing pick-up with Eric Reyes and Ronnie Magsanoc.
Teams with no commitment to defense will have lesser chances of winning, even if they have the best offensive players.
The case of the defense never really rests: After you score on your end, you have to hustle down the other way to stop your opponent from scoring more on you.
It seems so logical but many players would rather just shoot the ball.