First up, numbers generally don’t lie but they don’t tell the entire story so take it for what it’s worth. The numbers above are the statistics for both squads when they met twice earlier this conference. San Miguel took game one, 84-77 and Talk N Text bounced back in the redo with an 85-80 win. Here are the three (and some) key categories which will define this best-of-seven series:
PROTECTING THE GLASS AND THE BALL (OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS AND TURNOVERS)
In their first meeting, San Miguel had the big edge in rebounding (83-53) and had a +10 advantage on the offensive glass as well converting 21 second chance points, eight more than the Texters. Despite have more than 10 turnovers, San Miguel was able to get extra points on the boards that help bring them the W. IN the return match at Singapore, it was the Texters who had the edge in the offensive rebounding department (21-16) converting 14 second chance points compared to San Miguel’s 6, a measly effort compared to their output in the first meeting. It did not help that San Miguel again had problem taking care of the ball (24 TO’s) even as TNT did their share in containing their errors (12)
THREE-BALL GALORE (3FGM/A AND 3FG%)
Curiously, despite shooting just 13.8 per cent from beyond the arc and generally having a bad shooting night San Miguel still won in the first game. Why? Because TNT shot even worst from three-land (Made just 10 in 48!) and the field as well (29.5%) But will they leave the three point land? I don’t think so. To an extent both teams live (and die) by the three-ball. Whoever shoots better and find their rhythm early will have the advantage.
ATTACKING THE LANE (FT)
The irony is this: for a couple of teams that falls in love with the outside shot they are actually more effective when they attack the basket and fish for fouls. In San Miguel’s victory they went to the line 18 times and succeeded in making 66.7 per cent of their foul shots. TNT did attack the hoop and finished with 22 FTA however they could not capitalize and just made half of those shots. Meanwhile, in the second game it was TNT’s turn to take advantage from the line. They shot just 63 per cent but went from the 4.5 meter line 30 times while San Miguel was better (73%) they could only muster 15 FTA. Clearly, whoever attacks the hoop and is the more aggressive team will get their time at the line--- and they should take advantage.
CONCLUSION: Both teams practically use the same fast-pace style but at the same time attacks the offensive glass--- meaning the easy fastbreak and 2nd chance points will be vital to this series. The hot (or cold) hand from beyond will likely define which team would have the advantage and the shooting from the free throw line will most likely provide the difference.