Usually for rookie players, coaches want them to just play hard when they get minutes, with expectations not as clear cut yet. That’s clearly not the case for Ginebra’s Chris Ellis. The high-flying rookie immediately made an impact not only for his team, but for the league as well. Fans of all teams expected him to have atleast a hightlight or two every game. For the Barangay, Ellis was assigned to be their number one wing defender, because his length, athleticism and versatility allows him to guard the perimeter well. This while giving the team contributions on the offensive end here and there.
Ellis’ stats may not be eye popping as he averaged only 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest during the Commissioners Cup but his defense and versatility gave Ginebra a new dimension. His defense created a lot of fastbreak opportunities for the team, where his physical gifts allow him to excel. During Ginebra’s Cinderella run, Ellis’ was a nightmare against league’s top wings with Jeff Chan scoring only 9 points on 33% shooting in the close-out game and Larry Fonacier with only a three point output (all on freethrows) in game five of their semifinals match-up. In the finals, Cyrus Baguio averaged 10.7 points, but Ellis was able to hound him towards a measly 30% from the field.
At times, the Ginebra faithful expected too much from Ellis, that sometimes we forget that he’s still a rookie. While he was Ginebra’s top perimeter defender, Ellis also found himself in foul trouble at times. He average almost four fouls a game, which limited not only his minutes, but also his aggressiveness on the court. Also, Ellis was a horrible freethrow shooter for someone that is expected to get to the line, as he only connected on only 45% of his shots from the charity stripe. Lastly, his outside game is still a problem as it was exposed during the finals where Alaska was daring him to shoot from outside, leading to a 17% clip from beyond the arc.
Ellis needs to develop his offensive game if he wants to reach the next step in his pro career. As good as he was on defense, he became liability on offense with teams absolutely loving to just leave him alone on the perimeter. He also needs to limit his fouls and be a smarter defender. Besides all that though, Ellis definitely exceeded Ginebra’s expectations in the Commissioner’s Cup. He clearly has a lot of upside and couldt realistically be the piece that the team builds around moving forward.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Approval Ratings
|Elmer Espiritu||Robert Labagala||Billy Mamaril||Kerby Raymundo||Jayjay Helterbrand|
|Mac Baracael||Rudy Hatfield||Chris Ellis||LA Tenorio||Mark Caguioa|