“We won the game, and we’re happy, but we are not satisfied.”
These are words of Talk ‘N Text Head Coach, Jong Uichico, in the postgame interview after their series opener against Rain or Shine. He pointed out how they gave up so much points to Rain or Shine. Uichico also talked about the low energy and emotions of his wards.
Not a One Sided Affair
The Texters held on the lead the majority of the game, but that was not a translation of a perfect game. Rain or Shine battled tooth and nail all throughout as both teams can’t seem to find their rhythm offensively. Talk ‘N Text relied on their superb free throw shooting to keep Rain or Shine at bay for most parts of the game.
Numbers for Rain or Shine
In fact, the Elastopainters led in the rebounding battle 55-50. They also shot a slightly better compared to the Texters with a 41% clip, three percent above Talk ‘N Text. In a normal game, the team who shoots better wins, but Rain or Shine just gave up too many possessions to their opponents as they turned the ball over 21 times.
It is no surprise that Coach Jong Uichico was unhappy postgame. With the way Rain or Shine took care of their possessions, his team may be up by leaps and bounds but they just won the game by seven, 99-92.
Breaking the Trends
In various predictions made before the series, a lot of people have been looking at different aspects of the game from both squads. However, in the series opener, few to none had accurately predicted the scenarios that ensued.
Best Player of the Conference, frontrunners Jayson Castro and Paul Lee, were expected to be in their top form, but both guards were quiet throughout the match. They scored 13 and 14, respectively, which is way lower than their playoff averages.
A three-point shootout did not happen. These two teams are the top two teams in three-pointers made and 3FG during the conference. Last night, both squads just made eight shots each from rainbow country with Rain or Shine shooting 27% while Talk ‘N Text shooting a measly 26%.
The biggest storyline for Coach Yeng Guiao was how both teams canceled each other with great perimeter defense. He also cited how he wanted his team to get back in training and prioritize free throw shooting. Rain or Shine missed 15 free throws in 33 attempts.
With uncharacteristic performances coming from both ball clubs, it is evident of how their semifinal duels shrunk their intensity. Talk ‘N Text looked tired after an emotional run against defending Commissioner’s Cup champions Purefoods, while Rain or Shine’s shotting looked rusty after a short break coming from their sweep of the Meralco Bolts.
After the series opener where both squads looked off guard, Talk ‘N Text’s slight experience advantage won the game for them. One thing’s for sure, all predicted number lines will be back on form for Game 2, where both teams would have found their Finals push.