Saturday, January 17, 2009

PBA SEMIS: Beermen Bounce Back

Game Two: San Miguel 112, Talk N Text 103

After the TNT thrashing of SMB in Game One it was important for the latter to bounce back and avoid the 0-2 hole and that they did by dominating some of they key stats vital for this series. If you will notice the usual suspect stats standout namely free throw shooting, turnovers, points off turnovers and fastbreak points. All of which were won convincingly by the victorious team. Curiously, the three point shooting (made and percentage) and rebounding (with offensive) went to TNT but still they found themselves at the losing end.


San Miguel attacked the basket the entire evening earning 32 trips to the 4.5 meter line and converting 75 per cent of their shots. TNT, meanwhile just converted 13 shots in 19 attempts. To note, rookie Bon Bon Custodio went to the line 10 times while making 90 per cent of the freebies.

If there is any indication on how SMB made their adjustments from game it was how they valued the ball on this one. From a 23-turnover output in the first game they cut down their errors to 13 for this game. Moreover they showed more hustle on the defensive end by forcing 21 turnovers (Texters had only 12 in game one) and converting 29 points off those errors.

Despite not winning on the boards, San Miguel was still able to run because of TNT’s turnovers. SMB had a +24 advantage on fastbreak points which speaks volumes on how to beat a good offensive team like TNT. Probably, the best defense against this squad is offense, putting them in the heels and running at them. SMB’s 28 FB points is an improvement over their 13-point output in game one while TNT’s 4 points on the break could not buy them the easy baskets.

More and more of the same. Meaning both teams will continue to run their offense at a fast pace. TNT, by virtue of their dominant game one performance now average 116 points per game in this series. San Miguel in the meantime isn’t far behind at 106 per game. Both teams are having a conscious effort to emphasize their offensive might with San Miguel attempting 85 shots per game and TNT at 75.5 per. Sure, who cares about the field goal percentage, eh? In the Philippines, there is the saying, the more shots you take, the more chances of winning…. Or something like that.

As both teams start to clamp down on the defensive end (Yes, despite the fact that they are offensive machines they still play respectable D) the pace will be relatively slower and games will be won whoever shows more effort on defense.

San Miguel made their adjustment in game two by stopping the perimeter and doubling on the penetration. TNT meanwhile has just realized that SMB is a capable defensive squad and they need to realize that ball movement is the key in upending that. With that in mind they also realize the need to attack SMB inside and on the break even more-- going to the free throw line and converting them and attempting more fastbreaks can get them easy baskets.