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PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Game 5 takeaways and how the Tropa returned the favor



As the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals has been reduced from a grueling marathon to a footrace toward the crown, Talk ‘N Text has put on the pressure back to Rain or Shine.

There were many positives to consider from the way the Tropang Texters defeated the Elasto Painters in Game 5 and we will break them down one by one.

CASTRO PLAYING OFF-BALL MADE TALK ‘N TEXT UNPREDICTABLEPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioner's Cup Final Game 5 takeaways and how the Tropa returned the favor

The Tropang Texters become too predictable when Jayson Castro handles the ball on offense. The Elasto Painters have done well to stop the penetration of Castro when he is the primary playmaker/creator since the rest of his teammates tend to watch/become stagnant. This changed in Game 4 and was even more visible during Game 5, when Castro played off the ball.

Ivan Johnson was an overspeeding trailer truck in the first half, getting most of his points inside of five feet. It starts by receiving the ball from the high post and then attacking the lane ferociously for the high-percentage baskets.

The Tropang Texters ran post plays for Ranidel De Ocampo with Larry Fonacier doing the entry pass. They went with a virtual five-out unit (Castro, Kevin Alas, Aaron Aban, Kelly Williams, Jay Washington) at one point, ran horns sets, and dizzied the defense. The ball moved well from one side to another, and with many weapons on offense, the Elasto Painters had a difficult time reacting not knowing which player from the TNT side will do the damage.

SHARING IS CARINGPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioner's Cup Final Game 5 takeaways and how the Tropa returned the favor

Castro’s usage rate (USG%), or an estimate of team plays used by a player, went down to only 19.17 in Game 5 after 24.13, 40.52, 33.99, and 30.38 in Games 1 thru 4.

He scored “only” 15 points and dished out 9 assists. The entire squad assisted 20 of its 39 field goals. Talk ‘N Text averaged 18.67 assists per game in the three wins they had, and only 13 in the two losses.

“Malaking bagay talaga ang ball movement. Alam naman natin scrappy talaga dumepensa ang Rain or Shine so kahit papano dapat maipasa namin ng maayos (ang bola),” De Ocampo said.

“Ginagawan niya ng paraan paano maging magaling at maging effective ang kakampi niya. Malaking bagay na tumitingin siya sa kakampi niya. Sa tingin ko yun ang nakatulong, nabibigyan niya kami ng magandang tira.”

De Ocampo and Johnson scored 27 each; Fonacier added 12 while two others scored 7 points as the Tropang Texters distributed the load (no pun intended) very well.

THE PICK AND ROLL IS ALSO A TNT WEAPONPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times PBA Commissioner's Cup Final Game 5 takeaways and how the Tropa returned the favor

Rain or Shine’s first play when they got hold of the leather was a pick and roll involving the ball-handler and Wayne Chism. Castro was defending the ball-handler and after a switch, he ended up on Chism. Luckily, the Elasto Painters missed from point blank.

It looked from there that Talk ‘N Text would be beaten again using the simple play, but they adjusted very well by fielding a positionless unit which involved a lot of quickness in switching and rotating.

As mentioned above, the unit of Castro, Alas, Aban, Williams, Washington made the Rain or Shine defense adjust but that five on the floor also helped the Tropang Texters get stops. Rain or Shine was still ahead 29-27 before that unit entered at the start of the second period. After six minutes, Talk ‘N Text would hold a 40-36 lead.

“Nag-improve talaga siya. Yun naman talaga ang problema namin sa dalawang talo namin. Natutuwa kami at nagawan ng paraan so sana magtuloy-tuloy,” De Ocampo quipped of Talk ‘N Text’s pick and roll defense.

Rain or Shine’s points in the paint dropped to 32 a game during the last two outings from 38.33 in the first three meetings of the series, and it had something to do with Talk ‘N Text’s effort to stop the penetration by putting bigger guys on the Rain or Shine guards.

With a combination of both offense and defense, the Tropang Texters have once again reclaimed the lead. They are now 48 minutes away from ending a two-year dry spell and the only way to repeat their performance in Game 5 is do well again on both dimensions.


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Rain or Shine’s Jeff Chan out of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals series

De Ocampo, Talk ‘N Text torch Rain or Shine, now one win away from championship

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