Before Marc Pingris, Calvin Abueva and Cliff Hodge, the PBA had Rudy Hatfield. Rebounds, dives for loose balls, intesne defense, hustle and a relentless energy is what Hatfield gives Ginebra and the team and its millions of fans expect nothing less from him. Every time he enters the floor, you just have to expect that he will change the landscape of the game in some way. He’s a type of player that, when engaged and healthy, makes Ginebra much, much better.
Hatfield has been a source of energy for Ginebra the past five years and this last conference was no different. He usually comes off the bench to be the reliever for either big, but his effectivity of defense for the team extends beyond the paint as he effectively guarded Tony Mitchell during the last two games of their semi-final series against Talk N Text. He also made some smart decisions during wanning moments of game five that really changed the outcome of the game. His contributions to the team isn’t really felt in the stats and his game winning play in the semis wherein he caught a pass from Tenorio, drove to the basket and threw a no look pass to Macklin for a slam that secured their finals berth is a perfect way to sum up what he gives Ginebra.
While he can still contribute to the team, Hatfield’s age is starting to show. He is now clearly a step slower on both ends to the court and with a mid-range game that has been inconsistent at best, Hatfield was constantly left open by defenses outside of the paint. With his offense waining, his minutes dropped as Kerby Raymundo started to rediscover his game. Hatfield posted career lows in points and minutes with 3.8 points in almost 19 minutes of action as a result of his declining play and the presence of bigger and stronger imports.
I expected a bit more out of Hatfield this conference, but he failed to deliver. With imports with towering size in town, it was too hard for him to try to guard them consistently game in and game out. Maybe that’s why he finally chose to retire (among other reasons). Will this latest round of changes within the San Miguel camp pave the way for him to take his retirement back? It’s definitely possible, but probably not in the next conference.
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|