Good god that game was terrible to watch for TNT. Their offense had no flow, no go and no show. Norman Black’s patented 3rd quarter magic was missing and the deepest team in the league had nothing to show for it. TNT had nobody who could defend Dawson — who torched TNT to the tune of 37 points. In fact he was very efficient today, he needed just 24 shots to get there. Overall, Dawson registered an ORTG of 118.9 while using almost 43% of his team’s possessions while he was on the court. The point is Dawson wanted the win, and they got it.

Eric Dawson, Keith Benson

Eric Dawson dominated Keith Benson for this game (Photo Credit: InterAKTV)

Here are the relevant team statistics:

– As you can see, Meralco totally dominated TNT. The game was a fast paced one — 98 possessions over 48 minutes of play. The key culprit?? A lot of turnovers and a lot of early shot clock shots. It isn’t surprising that Meralco dominated most of the categories (except for Free Throw Rate). If it weren’t for the FTs, the lead would have been larger than that. A huge reason for that is Jayson Castro — who despite playing limited minutes got to the line 8 times and converted all of them.

A couple of notes from the game:

– Let’s start with the immediate news — Jayson Castro was apparently injured. He felt some pain on his ribs so the coaching staff opted to rest him. TNT is deep enough to sustain Castro’s injury but it will be interesting to see how they move forward with this injury. Before the injury, Castro was an efficient scorer — scoring 17 points on just 10 shots. He was getting to the line at will.

– Jimmy Alapag was a big reason why the game was not a blowout. He made plays for others — more than his 5 assists would indicate. he scored efficiently, putting up 18 points on just 12 shots. He’ll be critical to TNT’s offensive attack — always has and always will.

– TNT was just awful on offense. They were too content on taking 3 PT shots. One of the main culprits is Ryan Reyes — who took 6 3 PT shots, making only 1. I understand that TNT is a team that hoists a lot of 3 PT shots (they took approximately 24 shots from deep last conference, 2nd only to Barako Bull) bu they should be taking good, open (or semi-open 3 PT shots) and not forced, contested ones. This is on the coaching staff.

– Question: Is Jared Dillinger’s defensive contribution that important that his non-existent offensive game balance out?? He can somehow function as a semi-creator. But I am of the opinion that the didn’t deserve 34 minutes — minutes that could have been given to someone like Ryan Reyes (who is an equally adept creator and defensive player but who contributes more offensively).

– Good gob was Rabeh playing a bad game. He fouled too much (3 fouls in 12 minutes), he wasn’t rotating well and made some horrible decisions — more than his 2 turnovers indicate.

– Fonacier was also having a bad game. Took too many awkward shots for my liking — if I remember correctly, he took 2 floaters, 16 feet from the basket. Not good enough.

– Ranidel was clearly bothered by the physical defense that Hodge and Hugnatan were playing. He missed some make-able shots inside not to mention taking some ill-contested 3PT shots. Probably just a bad game for him. Look for him to bounce back next game.

– Keith Benson — despite scoring 25 points — is really awkward with his movement. He’s long and he’s athletic, but he’s not fluid. A lot of his points were created for him and this will continue to be the case. His effect will be felt the most on the defensive end — where his combination of length, timing and hops being the center of a much improved defense. He just needs to watch his turnovers and pick his spots on the defensive end.