The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers failed to wrap the series up and take home the Governor’s Cup trophy against a determined Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in Game four, 88-79.
It was a close contest after the 1st quarter but an offensive explosion by the Elasto Painters proved too much too handle for the Mixers. The Mixers tried to mount a comeback in the 2nd half but for every run made by the Mixers, the Elasto Painters always had an answer and looked very determined to extend the series to a do-or-die Game five.
Let’s now take a look at some numbers to provide us a clearer view on how Rain or Shine was able to control Game 4.
Game Four Key Stats
In Game four, the Elasto Painters were obviously the more aggressive team, especially with their backs against the wall, and their championship hopes on the line. They were able to go toe-to-toe against the Mixers in terms of rebounding for the first time in this series, getting multiple shot opportunities for them. The Elasto Painters were also able to defend well as the Mixers had a difficult time moving the ball around while on the other end, the lack of defense on the part of the Mixers made it easier for Rain or Shine to move the ball around and find their gunners who found their touch from the outside after a miserable shooting night in Game 3. It also didn’t help that the Mixers weren’t able to make their free throws. In the 3rd quarter where the Mixers made their run, it was their woeful free throw shooting that slowly killed their momentum.
Another important thing about this game is the quarter scoring. Actually, the Mixers won (except 1st, tied at 21-all) every quarter in Game four, except the 2nd quarter wherein Rain or Shine just went on a blistering run, outscoring the Mixers by 15, that eventually cost the Mixers the game. In Game 5, it is imperative for the Mixers to limit the Elasto Painters to at least 20 points per quarter because they’ll be hard to stop if they have another 30+-point quarter like they did in Game four.
Story of the Game: Local Support
In this Game four win of Rain or Shine, the Elasto Painters gave the Mixers a dose of their own medicine as Arizona Reid finally got the much-needed support from his local crew. Arizona Reid still top-scored for ROS but 4 other guys managed to score in double figures. Paul Lee and Gabe Norwood were in Gilas Pilipinas mode scoring 14 points a piece. Beau Belga added 11 points and Ryan Arana was able to contribute 10 points from the bench as well. Another guy worth mentioning is Jonathan Uyloan, the seldom-used guard who erupted for 8 points, including 2 big triples, that sparked the 2nd quarter run for Rain or Shine.
As for the Mixers, only Marqus Blakely (21) and James Yap (12) were able to score in double figures. Although there were a couple of guys who hovered around the 8-9 range, the Mixers could’ve used more help from the likes of PJ Simon and Marc Pingris, and guys off the bench like Mark Barroca and Allein Maliksi.
Fortunately for the Mixers, they have one more chance against the Elasto Painters, one more chance at making history.
Let’s now look at the keys to victory for the Mixers in Game 5.
3D’s: Keys to the Grand Slam
DICTATE THE PACE
This here is very important. The Mixers must not be carried away by the frantic pace Rain or Shine wants to play in as this is a dangerous territory for them. They can’t afford to run with the Elasto Painters and instead must focus on setting up their plays and taking it one possession at a time. The point guards of the Mixers especially Mark Barroca must be able to lead the team and make the wise decisions when to slow it down or when to run the break if there’s a good chance to score. In Game 5, it is imperative that the Mixers dictate the pace of the ball game or else, the Elasto Painters might just run away with the Governor’s Cup trophy after the game.
DISTRIBUTE THE LOAD
As mentioned earlier, only Marqus Blakely and James Yap were able to provide the socring punch for the Mixers in Game 4. For them to be able to take this championship, others must also contribute in terms of scoring. Now would be a good time for PJ Simon to break out from his scoring slump in this series, Marc Pingris must be more aggressive on offense, and Joe Devance must keep doing what he’s been doing for the team. As for the Mixers’ bench, now would be the perfect time to provide solid support for the starters. All players in uniform mustbe ready to play and contribute come Game 5.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
More important that dictating the pace is this: DEFENSE. This has been San Mig’s weapon for the past three conferences wherein they’ve won championship after championship after championship. Now that it has come to a do-or-die game, the Mixers must bring their championship defense one last time. They must be able to play great defense as a team, closing out on shooters, and clogging the paint at the same time to make basketball pretty difficult for the Elasto Painters. In less than 24 hours, will we see another championship for the Mixers because of their defense? Will the balloons fall in favor of the Mixers once more? And will their dream of a Grand Slam finally turn into a reality?