To say that Purefoods started slow in this game would be an understatement. The Hotshots only managed to score 24 points (yes, you heard that right, TWENTY-FOUR) in the first 24 minutes of action. And according to the PBA’s resident statician Mr. Fidel Mangonon, Purefoods 24 first half points last night equaled their 5th all-time lowest first half points in franchise history and is their 2nd lowest in a half under Coach Tim Cone. On the other hand, the Batang Pier looked like they were on their way to securing their 2nd back-to-back win in franchise history as they lead the Hotshots, 40-24 at the end of the 1st half.
But as what Lenny Kravitz would say, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”. This game brought to mind Purefoods’ (then San Mig Super Coffee) come-from-behind win against Globalport in the elimination round of last year’s Governor’s Cup. It was another classic Purefoods fight back, down by as much as 18 points (early in the 3rd), winning the game 81-75. With this win, Purefoods finally win one this conference as they now move up the team standings, 1-2 (currently in a four-way tie with GBP, KIA, and TNT).
Story of the Game: Barroca saves the day!
Playing without their go-to guy late in the game in “Big Game” James Yap, there was one man that was willing to carry Purefoods to their first victory this conference: Mark “The Coffee Prince” Barroca (as they’re no longer called San Mig Super Coffee, can we think of another monicker for Barroca? “Star Barrocs” maybe? Haha just kidding). Kidding aside, it was a monster game for Mark Barroca. He finished with an impressive 25 points (tying his career-high) (TS 55.80%), 6 rebounds, and 2 assists in 35 minutes of action off the bench.
Going up against a trio of talented guards in Cabagnot, Romeo, and Pringle, it was Barroca who had the last laugh as he scored 15 of his 25 points in the 4th quarter, saving the day for the Hotshots.
Aside from the end-game heroics of Mark Barroca, here are some key stats that led to Purefoods’ win against Globalport:
|PF||20/24 (83.33%)||49 (14)|
|GBP||6/8 (75%)||45 (15)|
The Hotshots hasn’t been a good free throw shooting team early in this conference. But in this game, they made sure to knock down those freebies shooting an 83.33% clip from the line. They need to work on this in the coming games as their style of play allows them to get to the foul line more often than their opponents. If they could shoot like this from the stripe game in and game out, they will be a harder team to put away.
In terms of rebounding, Purefoods edged Globalport in this game, 49-45. The return of “Sakuragi” Marc Pingris was definitely a huge boost for the Hotshots frontline as he collared 17 of the team’s 49 rebounds. No other player from both squads tallied double-digit rebounds aside from Ping. However, it was evident that he still has issues regarding his timing (on offense) but his mere presence in the shaded lane, crashing the boards, was already enough for Purefoods to edge Globalport in this game.
*Coach Tim Cone wasn’t pretty happy with this win. It was an ugly win and he even admitted that he had forgotten his team has won as he came in late at the press room after the game. A striking remark Coach Tim made was: “We have great chemistry on our team. Guys get along, there’s a little it of comfortability that’s going on. That’s a big part of our success but also can be a part of our downfall because we are so relaxed and comfortable and happy that we’ve become kampante.” Is it me or is this a hint of some changes in the line-up of the Hotshots? (Will Willie Miller be activated by Purefoods soon?)
*James Yap still did not suit up in this game with a hamstring injury although he has already targeted a return on the hard court in their next game against Ginebra (Manila Clasico!)
It wasn’t a pretty game for Purefoods but they will take this win. But I really do hope that starting slow won’t become a habit for them as climbing from deep holes against more experienced teams (no offense to Globalport) will be much more difficult. In their next game against Ginebra, hopefully they’ll finally recover from their Grand Slam hangover and play like champions once more.