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PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit



The 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup has boiled down to a battle of its top two seeds, Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text, and it was only fitting as both sides parade talented rosters from top to bottom. The Elasto Painters and Tropang Texters — two of the best offensive teams in the league — have eliminated the rest of the opposition, and set up a collision of their own that has the indications of becoming a classic series.

Both teams play in a similar way. Moreover, both sides banner superstars complemented by a solid supporting cast. The chance of winning a PBA crown does not get any closer for Rain or Shine, but Talk ‘N Text is also ready to reclaim its lost glory.

Talk ‘N Text swept Rain or Shine during the 2013 PBA Philippine Cup finals and the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals, but with Rain or Shine’s new tools boosting the team’s arsenal, the series at hand is bound to be a different one — It possesses excitement, quality, and drama all rolled into one, and will definitely be a classic treat for all the basketball fans.

23 PT FG%1


Five things we learned:
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
1. What makes the series different primarily for Rain or Shine is health. Everyone is playing at a high level. They have an abundance of wing guys who work extremely hard on both ends of the floor. The presence of youngsters, like Jericho Cruz (7.5 PPG in the playoffs) and Jeric Teng, adds more depth to that supporting cast, and they will need the effort of everyone on the roster.
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
2. Raymond Almazan will be the focal point of Rain or Shine’s defense. In his second year in the league, Almazan is steadily becoming the reliable rim protector that the Elasto Painters did not possess last season. With length and agility, Almazan is able to affect shots, cover huge space inside the paint, and collect rebounds.

Almazan is averaging 9.8 PPG and 5.3 RPG in the playoffs in only 18 minutes, and has rebounding splits (rebound rate – OREB%/DREB%/TREB% – an estimate of rebounding opportunities when on the floor) of 13.3/20/16.7. The ideal line for a big is 10/20/15. In the NBA, DeAndre Jordan is at 13/26/19 so far.

3. There is no other compelling side story than the virtual tussle between Paul Lee (16.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 41 percent 3 PT FGs, 90.6 percent free throws) and Jayson Castro (19.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 50 percent 3 PT FGs, 61 percent true shooting %), two of the best backcourt players today. Castro scores/creates more than a third of TNT’s total points, while Lee is one of the most efficient team players who can hurt opponents in a lot of ways.
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
4. After a three-game stretch where Ivan Johnson shot 19-for-31 from three-point distance, the Tropang Texters import struggled to make his outside shot against Purefoods, shooting only seven-for-32 (21.8 percent) from beyond the arc. It is interesting to know if Rain or Shine will play the percentages force him to be a jumpshooter while clogging the interior. Johnson spacing the floor will be integral as it will open the doors for Castro to penetrate and, in the process, create options from there.

5. Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine are the top two three-point shooting teams in the league, and this a duel which validates the thought that in this generation, teams which shoot the three are relatively the better squads.
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
More than 37 percent of Talk ‘N Text’s total field goal attempts are three-point shots, while 36 percent of Rain or Shine’s shots are from beyond the arc. What separates the two teams from the rest is their range. They do not settle for the mid-range jumpers or the long twos; instead, they extend all the way to the three-point land, aside from getting attempts around the rim.

Since they run similar systems, it would definitely a treat for the fans to witness an amazing offensive display.


Rain or Shine: Gabe Norwood
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
There will surely be points where Rain or Shine will apply ball pressure (they have to because you don’t want Castro to just attack time and again), and Norwood is one of the best one-on-one defenders in the country. He should be able to make it at least difficult for Castro to spot some cracks in the Painters defense.

Talk ‘N Text: Jay Washington, Ranidel de Ocampo
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioners Cup 2015 Finals: Survival Kit
It’s all about space for the Tropang Texters. Washington and De Ocampo have had noteworthy performances in the semifinals because of how they complemented Castro. If they continue shooting well from the outside, it would be a massive catastrophe for the opposing side.


This series is something the Tropang Texters don’t want to lose. We know the Elasto Painters are darn hungry for a title as they fell short a couple of times last season, but for the Tropa, winning it all will be a proof that they are still one of the top forces in the league this decade.

Talk ‘N Text in 6 games.


Round Table: PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Rain or Shine vs. Talk ‘N Text

Alapag speaks on the importance of Castro and Lee in the Finals

In quotes: Chance to win PBA crown as close as it gets for RoS; TNT ready to reclaim its lost glory

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