Thursday, January 23, 2014

PBA Post-Game Summaries: The First Games

Marcio Lassiter of Petron jumps for a deuce over Barako Bull's Willie Miller.
Image from

The PBA 2014 Philippine Cup quarterfinals has officially begun. Having given my predictions two days ago, let's take a look at what happened during the first game for each contest.

Lassiter explodes in fourth, fuels Petron over Barako (1-0, best-of-three)

Petron Blaze Boosters demolished Barako Bull Energy in Game 1 of their best-of-three series, 101-88. Marcio Lassiter, who just returned from an overseas trip, dropped 13 of his 17 points in the final quarter, helping Petron cushion its lead to thirteen. While Barako outrebounded Petron 49 against 43 (with forwards Willie Wilson and JC Intal with 11 apiece), Petron was able to spread the wealth with 24 assists (guards Cabagnot with 7 and Lutz with 6) contra Barako's 16, with six of Petron's players in double-digit scoring. Barako only had 3 players with more than 10 points (Miller, Buenafe, and Intal). Intal's 2-of-9 2FG shooting (22.2%) or 4-of-15 overall FG shooting (26.67%) certainly did not help.

Game changer: Petron had six men scoring in double figures coupled with 24 assists. This team played with sharp inside shooting while guided by the dictum spread the wealth.

Still in momentum, SMC surges past TNT (1-0, best-of-three)

San Mig Coffee Mixers trumped Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 90-83, in their first game. Nino Canaleta, TNT's new acquisition, shot 1-of-5 (20%) in terms of 2FG and 2-of-5 (40%) from the triple territory, earning 8 points in 25 minutes of action. While TNT's Castro and Alapag dropped 24 and 12 points, respectively, they also had a combined 8 turnovers, almost half of the team's 15. Ranidel de Ocampo shot poorly from beyond the arc, with 2 out of 10 attempts. Fonacier also had another bad night, with 1-of-4 3FG and 1-of-4 2FG. Veteran Danny Seigle of TNT stepped up with 15 points alongside Castro's 24. Still, SMC crashed 55 rebounds (compared to TNT's 45), with Pingris listing 13, of which 5 are offensive rebounds. Pingris likewise registered 10 points, missing only one of his six FG attempts, plus 2 shot blocks. SMC is now on a roll with 5 straight wins coming off the elimination round.

Game changer: SMC took 61 2FG shot attempts, connecting 27 of them (44.3%). TNT attempted only 47 times (14 tries less SMC's), draining 18 in the process (38.3%).

Rain or Shine sends Globalport packing for vacation, 106-96

Terrence Romeo's 23 points (12 from beyond the arc), Kelly Nabong's 18 and Sol Mercado's 16 (6-of-10 by way of free throws) weren't enough to propel Globalport to a second game contra Rain or Shine. Scoring by quarters stood close, though, with the largest margin happening right in the first quarter with six by Rain or Shine (35-29). Six Rain or Shine players scored in double figures, combining for 85 points out of the team's 106 (approximately 80%). With its win, Rain or Shine is the first team to enter the semifinals.

Game changer: Beau Belga scored 6 of his 17 points in the final 40.5 seconds of the game, stretching Rain or Shine's lead from two (98-96) to eight just when Globalport was about to retake the helm.

Alaska hoists win against Ginebra, 104-97

Top-seeded Ginebra shot miserably from downtown, converting only 8 treys out of 30 tries (26.7%). On the other hand, Alaska Aces' snipers landed 12 of their 20 attempts (60%) from three-point territory. Alaska likewise did not allow the taller Ginebra to dominate the rebounds, grabbing 48 (with 8 of Abueva's 11 boards by way of offensive rebounds) contra Ginebra's 46. The Aces executed well with their setup plays, proof of which is the team's 24 assists. Ginebra only had 16. But even with yet another vital win, Alaska remains in survival mode.

Game changer: Hustle and hard work, two crucial qualities not seen in stat sheets, helped Alaska cruise against the imposing giants of Ginebra, turning unproductive possessions into points. Abueva was pure hustle. Ginebra lost its offensive rhythm turnover after turnover, while Alaska gained offensive composure from one triple to another.

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