I said in my pregame that it would be an easy game for Purefoods. They had nothing to worry about. It would be a walk in the park for them. For the first 22 minutes of the game, I was right. Blackwater struggled for most of the 1st half with Purefoods erecting a sizeable lead and gave Coach Tim Cone a chance to experiment a little with his line-up.
But then, Alex Nuyles happened. The former Rain or Shine Elasto Painter led a mini uprising for Blackwater at the end of the 1st half to bring them to within single digits. Nuyles and Blackwater did not stop from there as they continued to make life uncomfortable for Purefoods especially late in the 3rd where they inched closer to the Hotshots, 53-52.
It was a gutsy and gallant stand for Blackwater howeer, Purefoods poise and experience still prevailed in the end as they came up with a W, 90-82. Purefoods now have an even W-L record at 3-3 while hard luck Blackwater absorbed their 7th straight defeat.
|2FG (%)||3FG (%)||FTs (%)|
|27/64 (42%)||7/23 (30%)||7/9 (78%)|
|35/62 (56%)||0/9 (0%)||20/26 (77%)|
|TREB (OREB)||TOs||2nd Chance PTS||PTS in the paint|
Purefoods won this game by pounding the ball inside. They got their points inside the shaded area scoring 54 points (against Blackwater’s 38) anchored on 56% filed goal percentage from the 2-point range. There were times wherein the offense of Purefoods wasn’t going anywhere and Blackwater was making their run. The Hotshots’ usual shots weren’t falling but they still found a way to keep Blackwater at bay. The veteran team that they are, they used their aggressiveness to get themselves to the free throw line and got their points from there. As a team, the Hotshots sank 20/26 (77%) freebies compared to only 7/9 (78%) for the Elites.
But although Purefoods dominated the scoring inside, Blackwater used their relentlessness in crashing the boards to remain within striking distance of the Hotshots. The front line of Blackwater in Ballesteros (12), Faundo (10), and Rodriguez (6) surprisingly out-rebounded the bigs of Purefoods in this game, 54-39. It wasn’t only the big guys of Blackwater who helped secure some boards for them but the guards as well. Rookie Brian Heruela grabbed 7 boards while Eddie Laure and Riego Gamalinda chipped in 5 boards apiece as well. This rebounding edge resulted into an advantage for Blackwater in terms of 2nd chance points, 26-6.
Another alarming stat for Purefoods was the fact that they were 0/9 from deep (talk about shooting bricks!) compared to Blackwater’s 7 makes from the three-point line.
Key Contributors: JDV and PJS
Just like in their last game, sweet-shooting PJ Simon and the versatile forward Joe Devance led the way for the Hotshots. It was an efficient night for both players as they only missed a combined 6 shots for the game.
Joe Devance scored 16 points (7/9 shooting), 4 rebounds, 6 assists, and a steal in 32 minutes of action. PJ Simon on the other hand continued to have the hot hands for Purefoods as he led them with a game-high 18 points (9/13 shooting) to go with 3 rebounds and an assist.
- James Yap is becoming consistently inconsistent for Purefoods this conference. After a bounce-back game against NLEX, the main man of Purefoods struggled anew scoring only 6 points (37.5% eFG). If this up and down trend continues, he will definitely have a good performance in their next game against Meralco.
- There were stretches in the game wherein Coach Tim Cone used a 4-guard + 1 big lineup. It was an unconventional lineup but it worked well for the team. The defense of Purefoods’ spitfire guards was fun to watch. They were forcing turnovers here and there and made life difficult for Blackwater’s guards to orchestrate their offense.
- Marc Pingris had a solid (but unusually quiet) stat line of 6-7-8. He dished out 6 assists, scored 7 points, and grabbed 8 boards in 30 minutes of play.
- This postgame analysis woudn’t be complete without mentioning Mr. Ogie Menor‘s wild hair style. The “Iguana” look sported by Menor was so wild that it even reached Bleacher Report and SB Nation. For me, it was wild but it was nice. Bumagay naman sa kanya eh. Haha!
Although it wasn’t a perfect game, it was still a win for the Hotshots. Riding on a 2-game winning streak, they have 4 days to adjust and prepare for battle once more as they face the Meralco Bolts (3-3) in Binan, Laguna this coming Sunday.
Featured Image Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5