Thursday, January 15, 2009

PBA Semis: TNT Explodes in Game One

Game One: TNT 129, SMB 100

Andy Jao was on the dot all night long emphasizing the fact that SMB is trying to be the first wildcard team to go all the way to the Finals... That should take it's toll, he says. And immediately it showed in game one of this series.

More than anything it's not an excuse but just a plain fact. A fact that TNT took advantage of. Moreover, you have to credit Talk N Text for knowing what to do right off the bat and that is what practically what they did. Chot Reyes knew that they had to take advantage early and they did that by pressing the Beermen in the first quarter and never really letting up.

This is the price of having an inferior record--- you'd have to go through the wildcard phase then the quarters against tough teams (one was called Ginebra) and this is the prize of clinching an automatic semis slot--- you'd have all the rest in the world at the same time scouting the opposition in multiple games. Make that multiple do-or-die games, meaning that is practically the team's make-up and patterns, rotations and match-ups.

Again, credit Chot, his scouting staff and his players how they executed the plan to perfection. Run San Miguel down early and use their offensive might because San Miguel might fold due to lack of legs and that is exactly what happened. This is a game where most of the numbers will be deceiving because after all this is a blowout. Nonetheless here are a few key numbers from that game:

One of my key stats pre-series was both team's three point shooting. Obviously, the Texters did an excellent job in the very first quarter of the very first game of this series. At some point they were shooting at a 9-of-12 clip in the first half! The turnover story also favors Talk N Text, just another clear cut stat to show how Talk N Text dominated San Miguel in Game One.


So what now? Is the series over and will Talk N Text continue their dominance? No and no. At some point Siot will make the adjustments on how to defend the perimeter and how to attack Talk N Text just to make their scorers defend. Here are a few of the adjustments i believe Siot should apply for San Miguel to get back in this series:

+ More Man-Zone. A 3-2 pressing zone would put pressure on the perimeter. The danger of course is when the likes of the Carey and Peek start finding the holes for the offensive rebounds and even easy penetrations. However, i don't think TNT big men can be effective entire game long (as opposed to the hot hands of their shooters) This type of defense will also discourage iso's from spitfire Jimmy Alapag who can break down any of the SMB guards.

+ Ride Washington, Seigle. There was just too much Harvey Carey all over the floor in game one especially defensively. Carey, in my opinion was the best player of game one. For San Miguel, they know that this is Carey's role now and that is to stop the SF/PF of the Beermen and at the same time helping out on defense when there's a penetration (Custodio particularly)... San Miguel should attack him and force him into foul trouble and fatigue (ok, this is Carey but he has to get tired as well), meaning they should just bring it to him.

+ Stop the turnovers, pleaze. If San Miguel thinks they can be careless with the ball and win (wildcard and vs. Ginebra), they better think again. Unlike Ginebra, TNT is a team that has multiple options on offense that more likely than not they'd take advantage at the other end.