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Do’s & Dont’s: PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals 2015 Game 4

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The Game 3 Story:

TNT needs to make some adjustments immediately if they want this series to go at least 6 games. Another loss for TNT (their third straight in the Finals) would almost assure that RoS would be raising the Commissioner’s Cup trophy by next week. Anyway, here are some keys to winning the game for both teams.

Rain or Shine

Sharing is caring.
Coaches will always preach ball movement and looking for the extra pass to get a great shot. The epitome of team play can be found in the number of assists. RoS certainly displayed that in Game 3 when they amassed 27 assists. Their point guards, Paul Lee and Chris Tiu, each had five assists while Gabe Norwood also contributed five dimes. On the other hand, TNT only had 11 assists.

Continue rotating the lineup.
In Game 3, Jericho Cruz was a surprise starter. That move might have caught TNT unprepared. The rookie was given 19 minutes of play and Cruz responded with 14 points to go along with his physical play, high intensity and tough defense. Other rotation players like Chris Tiu (6 points) and JR Quiñahan (9 points) also contributed.

Let’s get physical.
Body bumping and chest-thumping are common occurrences in a RoS game. It’s no surprise that they are playing physical in this series and they are experts in playing mind games. It has worked so far since their main target; Ivan Johnson has succumbed to taunts, trash talking and others. Johnson was reportedly waiting to pick a fight with Ryan Araña after the game.

Keep on running.
RoS was able to force a bunch of turnovers from TNT and the Elasto Painters pilfered the ball eight times. This allowed them to run in transition and score a bevy of fast break points where RoS had a +12 advantage over TNT (17 to 5). RoS also has more transition finishers like Norwood, Lee, Araña, Jericho Cruz, Chan and Almazan which make it a lot easier for them to run on every opportunity.

Talk ‘N Text

More ball movement please!
You won’t win a lot of games when you have more turnovers (13) than assists (11). Jayson Castro had the same number of assists and turnovers (4). How did this happen? Isolation plays were prevalent in their half court sets and TNT simply did not rotate the ball from side-to-side. Quick shots after 2-3 passes were common and even Castro kept the ball often to go one-on-one (or two or against the whole RoS team).

The bench needs to contribute.
It has been mentioned time and time again that TNT has a very deep bench. They have two ex-MVPs (Kelly Williams and Willie Miller) and two former multiple BPC winners (Jay Washington and Danny Seigle) but the bench has performed poorly in the Finals. In Game 3, the bench for RoS thoroughly outscored TNT, 39-10. Part of the blame goes to the coaching staff of TNT because they haven’t utilized their bench as well as RoS. This has to change in Game 4 because if the bench does not produce again, expect RoS to have a 3-1 series edge soon.

Stop settling for threes.
While the three-point shot is a known strength of TNT (just like RoS), the Tropang Texters cannot settle for threes especially when they are not falling. Castro and RDO each attempted eight threes but they only connected on a total of 5 threes. Their reliance on the long ball hurt TNT because instead of attacking the paint or running a play, TNT simply hoisted threes. I think ROS would be a lot happier if Castro continued to launch threes instead of driving to the hoop where he is more dangerous.

Slow down Wayne Chism.
I made a mistake in predicting that Ivan Johnson would be the better import in the Finals. Chism has been more productive and effective than Johnson in all three games. It’s about time that TNT puts extra effort in getting the ball out of Chism’s hands at all cost. They should double team him, deny him the ball and/or have Johnson defend him early. If TNT manages to limit Chism to less than 30 points, then they might get to tie the series.

Prediction for Game 4:
TNT’s bench will finally contribute after three games of lackluster performances. TNT will escape with a win to tie the series at 2-2 and assure us that we get at least six games in the Finals. Is there anyone here who does not want a long series? =)


MORE 2015 PBA COMMISSIONERS CUP FINALS OVERAGE

Guiao credits Rain or Shine defense in Game 3 dominance

Guiao calls Johnson a ‘danger to other players’

Defense leads Rain or Shine in Game 3 wire-to-wire victory; notch 2-1 series lead

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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’

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Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players ever since entering in 2012, was all praises with the way the officiating has become this 43rd season, which is just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over Barangay Ginebra, Sunday night.

Like what had been told many times, physicality was something that was controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty of such as he had paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it can already be called a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he could display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence

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For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense

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Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs

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It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have always struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue to stay as they are, it looks like it will be another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be an excuse.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” expressed Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco though has a chance to end their slump against Kia this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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