Barangay Ginebra survived a late surge by the San Miguel Beermen in the last 3 minutes of the fourth quarter to win, 105-98. Ginebra had only an eight point advantage at the start of the second half before blowing the game wide open with a furious run that saw them lead by as much as 19 points. But San Miguel threatened the Kings’ win when they cut down the lead to four points in the final minute. Ginebra was able to put away the Beermen with free throws from Slaughter and Mason. San Miguel had a glimpse of hope when Chris Ellis missed two crucial free throws but Tenorio from out of nowhere grabbed the rebound that sealed the game.
Keys to the Game
NEUTRALIZE THE KRAKEN
As I have said in my pregame analysis, stopping the Kraken at this point of time is a daunting task indeed. Even with Ginebra players swarming him whenever he receives the ball, the Kraken was still able to find a way to carve some space and score. He was still able to grab important rebounds against Slaughter. Despite losing the game, it has been proven that Fajardo can still dominate even in the face of the best defense in the league this conference and against a fellow giant in Greg Slaughter.
Fajardo finished with 23 points (82 percent TS), 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
CONVERT THOSE 3S/MISSING MAC
It was another poor shooting night by Ginebra from behind the arc, as they made 2 of 12 only. They had a lot of open looks throughout the game, but just couldn’t convert from 3 point distance. The Kings’ wanted to be aggressive in this game and drove to the basket more often than settling from the outside.
Mac Baracael’s shooting woes continue, he finished with only 7 points and shot 1 of 5 (20 percent) from behind the arc. Despite still playing poorly, Baracael stayed on the floor for 30 minutes, mainly as the man guarding San Miguel’s import Reggie Williams which he did a good job at.
CRASH THE BOARDS
Despite valiant efforts from Ginebra’s frontline, they still lost the rebounding battle, 54-51. Aside from that, the Beermen had 25 offensive rebounds of 54 (40 percent ORB), while the Kings’ grabbed only 15 offensive rebounds (34 percent ORB). Ginebra won this game, so I wouldn’t elaborate how they allowed SMB to grab 25 off rebounds. It’s easier to say that SMB is a good rebounding team especially with June Mar Fajardo.
GREGZILLA VS KRAKEN
Greg Slaughter finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, as opposed to June Mar Fajardo’s 23 points and 14 rebounds. They were almost equally matched, Fajardo showed his dominance inside the paint with his strong post moves, while Slaughter punished SMB with his perimeter jump shots. Fajardo won the battle, but Slaughter won the war and he gets the last laugh in this one.
Ginebra’s 24 assists (28 percent AST) against SMB is a statement of their growing confidence in playing with the triangle offense. They were able to find the open man resulting into easy points and limiting 1-on-1 plays. Although the Kings’ are still turnover prone, one could say that they have performed better than expected, especially on how complicated it is to run the triangle system. Credits to LA Tenorio for rediscovering his true role in the team, as a facilitator (although his scoring punch once a while is helping the team at crucial parts of the game) and his experience with the triangle back in his Alaska days are a great help. Ginebra has a long way to go, but this is a great start.
Story of the Game
With Ginebra losing many important facets of this game, one would wonder how they won and dominated SMB (before that late fourth quarter run where the Kings’ got really complacent). They lost the battle of the boards, June Mar Fajardo played an excellent game (again), they shot poorly from behind the arc, and committed 16 turnovers. Despite all of these Ginebra won because of their impressive defense. They limited the Beermen to 32 of 90 (35.6 percent) from the field, challenging every shot that SMB took and never gave up on broken plays. Even SMB import Reggie Williams got caught by Ginebra’s defense. The NBA veteran shot 12 out of 33 (36.3 percent) from the field and finished with 37 points.