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Stats Don’t Lie: Should Kevin Ferrer jump to the pros next season?

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Here’s a little bit of trivia for all of you UAAP junkies – Kiefer Ravena never won a UAAP Juniors MVP award during his four years playing for the Blue Eaglets. During his senior year – the one season you’d think he’d have biggest chance of bagging the MVP – a skinny, silky, smooth kid from Espana stole it from him.

That kid’s name? Kevin Ferrer.

Of course, Kiefer did bring home the Finals MVP award after leading the Eaglets to the crown over Kevin’s UST Tiger Cubs. And now, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will finally take home the best player trophy. He also has a legit chance to add a third Seniors’ crown to his collection. Rumor has it that he will forego his last playing year to jump to the pros or perhaps join the Gilas national team program.

This brings me to our fallen hero, Kevin Ferrer. Should Ferrer also make the leap to PBA? Let’s take a look at the tape.

On one hand, over the past 5 years, he’s been part of some pretty solid teams. He took his Juniors squad to the Finals against Ateneo, then the past two years, was part of the Seniors team that made back-to-back Finals appearances.

He’s also put up a decent stat-line last season, putting up per 30-min norms of 11.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 0.7 spg and 1bpg. Considering that he was merely a third option behind Karim Abdul (perennial MVP candidate) and Jeric Teng, I’d say that’s pretty good.

On the other hand, when he was expected to take a bigger role this season and lead the charge of the Growling Tigers, his game regressed. Take a look at his per-30 min numbers from last season to this season:

PPGRPGAPGeFG%*TO%USG
Last season11.38.02.136.511.6%23.1%
This season10.35.61.528.6%16.7%25.1%

*effective field goal percentage – takes into account that 3-point shots are worth one point more. Therefore, 3-point makes (and attempts) compromise a heavier weight of total FG%

The data simply doesn’t lie. He used slightly more possessions while he was on the floor, but registered a lower effective FG%*, lower points / rebounds / assists, and a higher turnover rate.

Not only that, but he wasn’t particularly effective in any part of his game.

Play typeFGMFGAFG%FD%**TO%PPP***
Drives to basket31421.4%20.0%10.0%0.45
As ball-handler on P&R1812.5%20.0%0.0%0.60
Recipient of drive and kick1812.5%0.0%0.0%0.25
Swing plays1812.5%0.0%0.0%0.38

**FD% – Foul drawn %. How often a player draws a foul that leads to free throws.

***PPP = Points per possession. This basically means, how many points we can expect Kevin to score each time he uses that type of play. This includes free throws and turnovers.

Ferrer’s only saving grace was that he was aggressive on drives and in his use of ball screens, which helped him earn some a few trips for some freebies. Aside from that though, he really struggled, as he looked totally uncomfortable in UST’s offense.

What the heck happened?!

First, I think the change of coaching from Pido Jarencio to Bong Dela Cruz has had a major impact on the team as a whole. The transition appears to have been tough on all parties involved and it showed early in the first round, when UST came tumbling out of the gates. Aside from an upset win over FEU, there was no game that showed the rah-rah spirit of UST teams’ past.

Second, without a playmaker on board, the team has had to rely heavily on isolation sets stemming from its flex and off ball-screen offense. At least when Jeric was still plying his trade for the Tigers, defenses would see him as the top priority, allowing Ferrer to wreck havoc elsewhere on the court.

ferrer-shot-chart

The iso-heavy offense makes the point of attack easy to predict and allows defenses to set themselves up to help whoever is guarding the ball. With Ferrer stuck on the perimeter and seeing 3 guys in front of him, he was forced to settle for long-range bombs that quite frankly never really hit the mark.

Perhaps the combination of high expectations for both the team (some here at TBTimes predicted that UST would come in 3rd) and Kevin were simply too much.

Truthfully, Kevin isn’t quite the 1-on-1 player that Kiefer or even former teammate Jeric was. Coaches at the higher level see him more of a system player, who will do well as long as he’s not the primary option on offense. Allow him to take his shots on leak outs on transition, get tip-ins on put backs and be a recipient of drive and kicks, and he will thrive. However, put him in a situation where he has to carry the team – a role that he is unfamiliar with, and what you get is his UAAP Season 77 campaign.

That being said, I’m not quite sure if Kevin should enter his name into next year’s draft. There are a ton of hot names next year, such as former Bulldog Bobby Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena, who will make it quite crowded at the top, and given his down season, may see his stock drop. Another year of seasoning and reestablishing his value could make him a top-3 pick in the 2016 draft.

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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 since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by 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 the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can 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 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 as they are, it looks like 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 excuses.

“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,” asserted 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 that 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 have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto 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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