It only took one quarter for the Purefoods Star Hotshots to take full control of this game. After a 23-23 score line at the end of the first, the Hotshots were able to assert themselves against the Elite come the 2nd quarter and never looked back; cruising to their third-straight win in the Commissioner’s Cup.
It was an all-around team effort for the Hotshots in this game most especially on offense. 5 players from Purefoods were able to finish the game with at least 10 points with Marqus Blakely leading them again once more with 23 points on 58% shooting (more on him later). Marc Pingris added 14 points while Mark Barroca chipped in 13 as well. Allein Maliksi and tonight’s player of the game, Justin Melton scored 12 points apiece for Purefoods. Most of their makes were centered inside the paint, dominating Blackwater in terms of points in the paint, 52-32.
But aside from their balanced attack on the offensive end, what were the other factors that lead to this victory? Let’s look at the numbers from this game.
|TEAM||REBS (OREB)||TO||STL||TO PTS||FB PTS||BENCH PTS|
In this game, Purefoods was able to dominate the rebounding battle despite having the shortest import in Marqus Blakely (No surprise right there as the Hotshots are currently leading the league in terms of rebounding with TREB% of 57.8). Blakely had a game-high 13 boards (Douthit only registered 11) and had solid support from the locals with 5 other players able to register at least 4 rebounds.
Purefoods’ defense was also steady as they forced 19 turnovers against Blackwater. These turnovers resulted into fast break points for the Hotshots, mostly on easy lay-ups, easy dunks, and amazing alley-oop plays (Barroca to Melton: SMASH!) (Again, this was quite expected as Purefoods leads the league in terms of FB points with 17 per game). It was like the All-Star game out there.
Another thing that worked well for Purefoods was their bench production. The shock troopers of Coach Tim Cone accounted for approximately 40% (41) of their offensive production in this game, that eased the scoring load for their starters. With James Yap struggling once more (it’s an up and down trend for him I suppose) and with PJ Simon just coming back from an injury, this bench production, anchored by Barroca, Maliksi, and Melton was a tremendous boost for them.
Best Player of the Game: Justin “QuickMelt” Melton
Speaking of Justin Melton, he’s been playing terrific basketball for Purefoods here in the Philippine Cup. He’s been given more minutes (because of PJ Simon’s injury) and he’s making the most of it. Looking at his stats and comparing it to his previous conferences:
Quickmelt is known for his leaping and dunking ability but he’s letting the PBA know that there’s more to his game other than highlight dunks and alley-oop plays. With the way he’s performing as of late, I can really say that Melton was the steal of the 2013 PBA Draft. Coach Tim Cone made the right choice drafting this kid in the 2nd round of that draft.
- Yousef Taha and PJ Simon were back in action for Purefoods in this game. I wonder how this will affect Coach Tim Cone’s rotation in their next game considering how well his current rotation are playing.
- It’s been confirmed by Coach Tim Cone that this will be Marqus Blakely’s last game for Purefoods this conference. In his three games this conference, Blakely averaged 22 points (48.9% shooting), 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2.7 steals, and 2.7 blocks. It’s still unthinkable how a team could let go of an import with such numbers. But I guess Coach Tim Cone’s just sticking to the original plan: Blakely for a couple of games and then Orton the rest of the way. Who knows, maybe Orton’s a better fit for the team when they’ll be facing tougher and bigger imports in their next games. All I can say is, Coach Tim Cone knows best.
- In this game, Purefoods three-point shooting was atrocious as they shot 3 of 18 from deep (18%). Looking at their shot chart this conference, they have been shooting bricks from three most especially from the top of the key and on the wings. However, they should probably shoot more threes in the corner as they’re doing pretty good from out there.
Purefoods’ next game will be against the NLEX Road Warriors. It will be the first game of Daniel Orton in a Purefoods uniform and I’m very excited to see him play with Mark Barroca, Marc Pingris, James Yap, and the rest of the Hotshots. Will he be as dominating as advertised? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Featured Image Credit: Jerome Ascano, SPIN.PH; PurefoodsBasketball.com