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2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico

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The Star Hotshots had caught Barangay Ginebra off guard during their elimination round encounter. Star had led by more than 30 points, dominating a Ginebra side that had still lacked identity early in its new era.

But a full elimination round schedule after, Barangay Ginebra have certainly looked like they are nowhere near what they’ve shown in the early parts of the conference. Ginebra have won three straight games and six of their last seven outings overall.

With a switch to the triangle, Ginebra play at the league’s lowest pace (89.1). They often go to their big man Greg Slaughter, who has posted league-best averages of 23.5 PPG and 15.1 RPG. Slaughter attempts 16.3 field goals/game, almost doubling his average from the last Philippine Cup. With such strength coming into play, Ginebra have posted their best elimination round record since the 2013-14 Philippine Cup.

Proper positioning in the triangle also allows Ginebra to get back on defense well. In the elimination round, they allowed the least fastbreak points. Ginebra are also the league’s best defensive team, allowing opponents only 93.4 points per 100 possessions.

With the departure of Tim Cone, the Star Hotshots, on the other hand, had adopted a system that is more loose and allows mostly their guards to take charge.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico    James Yap was one of the benefactors, as he has attempted 4.2 more shots per game than the last Philippine Cup. He has increased his scoring average to 15.7 PPG and also had a higher usage rate of 28.3 from a previous 22.2.

Mark Barroca has been having a more productive conference as far as his points and assists averages are concerned, becoming a more aggressive, shot-creating guard for the Hotshots.

But the new system also has its downsides. A team that had once built a reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the league, Star have seen their defense this conference plummet to 101 points per 100 possessions. Star also had a negative net rating (-2.7) for the first time in recent history.

Star are the second-worst rebounding team, and also allow opponents to shoot 45.1 percent from the field, the second-highest rate.

Now up against a better team that holds a twice-to-beat edge, it will be a different story for Star. They are battling for survival and they need to come up with a superb effort to extend their stay in the playoffs.

Four things


1) Which version of the scoring apostle will show up?
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
While Peter June Simon’s scoring average went down by 2 points/game, the wing man is shooting better from three-point area at 42.9 percent. He is coming off a 26-point explosion over Blackwater where he shot 57 percent. Showing the same form may pose problems for Ginebra.

2) Support for Slaughter
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
Aside from Slaughter, only Japeth Aguilar is averaging double-digits for Ginebra (17.7 PPG). The team will need contributions from more individuals to succeed.

3) Joe Devance against his former team
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
With Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar as the main frontcourt weapons, Joe Devance’s production dipped (4.8 PPG in 17.6 minutes/game). But it doesn’t mean he should be just counted off. Devance can provide impact in certain stretches especially when Cone decides to go deeper to his bench.

4) Scottie x playoffs
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
It’s Scottie Thompson’s first career PBA playoff experience! Nothing much else to say; let’s hope people enjoy the show he’ll put up. After all, Cone said Thompson possesses unique skills and he is a special player.

X-Factors


Barangay Ginebra: Shooting

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico

Photo by PBA Images


Ginebra do not take that many three-point shots (15.5) a game and shoot only 25.1 percent from beyond the arc. But any time they can get their shots to fall, it will help pull the defense out and create more space inside. Last game, Sol Mercado and Chris Ellis combined for 3-for-4 triples. Those little things help.

Star: Mark Barroca
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
As mentioned above, Barroca has been a more aggressive version of himself in the new system. In his last four games, Barroca had 17.3 points/game and 4.5 assists/game. That kind of mentality will surely help the Hotshots.

Prognosis


Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup QFs Survival Kit: Manila Clasico
Barangay Ginebra in 1. This is a better Ginebra team in most aspects of the game, and they have the tools to control the game and stop Star’s main scorers.

Ginebra or Star? Sound-off in our comments section

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