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2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Game 7 preview

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There is nothing like a Game 7 in basketball.

There have been 75 best-of-7 series in PBA history, with 34 going the distance. 25 of those 34 Game 7s happened in the championship round.

Last season alone had two different finals series — Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup — go the full length, with San Miguel (over Alaska, 4-3) and Talk ‘N Text (over Rain or Shine, 4-3) taking the cups.

But the Game 7, which tips off at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena, is one never before seen in the league.

The Alaska Aces went up 3-0 in the 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup finals series. 16 of the 75 best-of-7 series saw teams going ahead 3-0, and yes, they were undefeated after establishing a commanding 3-0 lead.

But the San Miguel Beermen were able to stage a remarkable comeback, taking Games 4 to 6 to tie the series at 3-3, sending both sides to uncharted territory. Even just tying the series at 3-3 after going down 0-3 is already a piece of history.

The unique circumstances have led to an exciting and entertaining series never seen before, and now it all comes down to a single game which means everything for both the Aces and Beermen.

Hot and Cold

Lutz v Dondon HontiverosIn the last two games which Alaska lost, the team shot a woeful 10-for-55 from three-point area. Veteran shooting guards Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio were both non-factors in Games 5 and 6, combining for only seven points on 3-for-27 field goals combined.

The Aces have not been as aggressive as they had been expected to be as well, only getting 15.5 free throw attempts/game in the past two meetings.

It is in stark contrast to the Beermen’s onslaught as they seemed to have found the groove throughout a ‘Beeracle’ run.

PBA41 PH Cup Finals - LassiterMarcio Lassiter has been completely locked in, firing 21 PPG over the past three games (all wins) while making 50 percent of his three-point field goals.

Chris Ross has also been on a tear. In Games 1 to 3, Ross had only averaged 2.3 PPG, 2.3 RPG, and 2.7 APG. But that changed in Games 4 to 6, where he normed 10 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4 APG to inflict damage on both ends of the floor for San Miguel.

Yancy De Ocampo had scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in the Game 6 win too, helping June Mar Fajardo (15.5 PPG in two games in the finals) in the low block and making it even more difficult for the Aces’ interior defense.

Heading into Game 7, it’s now down to the basics.

Execution should be close to perfection. Bad habits should be erased. All the little things matter between two teams which have shown great chemistry and teamwork on the floor. Every player, no matter how few or how many the minutes he gets, should be able to perform well and contribute what is asked of him.

It has been one of the best finals series in recent memory, and the entire Philippine basketball world awaits for a Game 7 like no other.

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