Game 1 of the Finals series was a showcase of Alaska’s determination, and a huge disappointment for the Ginebra fans. Carla and RJ are here to talk about what happened and what to expect in Game 2.
RJ: What happened? This is the question every Ginebra fan is asking. It happened in a blink of an eye – Alaska got off a hot start and never looked back. Ginebra was caught by surprise.
Carla: True. I was expecting a tight game, so I was impressed when Alaska pulled off a 14-0 run in the first few minutes. I was actually expecting Ginebra to close the scoring gap mid-game, but Alaska just kept pummeling them to the ground.
RJ: And that stifling defense by the Aces is so suffocating. RJ Jazul also made wide open threes. This is not the way we wanted to start the series.
Carla: Though Alaska is the leading defensive team in the league, everything was also going their way offensively. They definitely had an easy time scoring, and their confidence was really high. I mean, RJ Jazul would get a fastbreak and then score a three pointer. They were also extremely focused all throughout, never allowing their lead to slide down to less than 10.
RJ: I’ll give Alaska some credit. Their defense won Game 1 for them.
Carla: I agree with you there, RJ. Like I mentioned earlier, they are the best defensive team in the league and they proved that in the first quarter. They limited Ginebra’s scoring to only six points – possibly an all-time low in the PBA. They were able to limit Macklin to 16 points and 14 rebounds, while top-scoring local LA Tenorio only came up with 14 points. Let’s explore our keys to the game for the next match:
Ginebra’s Keys to the Game
1. Start the game strong
Ginebra must not duplicate its first quarter performance on ame 1. After Alaska built an 28-6 first quarter, Ginebra never had a chance. It was too big of a lead. Maybe it’s a finals jitters for most of them but they can’t afford to start the game like that.
2. Tame the beast
Calvin Abueva’s best asset is to put his game inside the player’s head – and he succeeded on the first game. He was all over Macklin. He was all over the court. He doesn’t respect Ginebra’s shooters and he made them missed their shots. This is not a typical Ginebra game. Only Billy Mamaril had the courage to tangle with Abueva. Ginebra needs Hatfield to match Abueva’s intensity. Ellis needs to shoot those wide open three. Ginebra needs to calm down and show their poise against the Abueva-led Aces.
3. 100 and counting
In their series against TNT, Ginebra averaged 106.3 points in three wins and 79.5 points in two losses. In Game 1, they scored 70 points. In order to have a chance against Alaska they need to score and score and score. Yes, defense wins championships but if they could beat Alaska’s defense they have a chance. They did it against Rain or Shine and Talk n’ Text and there’s no way they can’t against Alaska.
Alaska’s Keys to the Game
1. Maintain good defense
I’m sure Ginebra will do everything to put up a better fight against Alaska in Game 2. Ginebra almost figured out how to adjust in Game 1, but it was already too late. They’ll be spending their day figuring out what to do, so Alaska just needs to be quick in adjusting as well. If they limit Ginebra’s scorers and maintain a steady offense, then they won’t have any problems in Game 2.
2. Play with confidence
The Aces should just keep in mind that they have been the number one team this whole conference and are only two wins away from the championship. It’s all about who wants it more. After all, the tight schedule is also on their side – Ginebra only has a day to figure everything out. Aside from that, Ginebra seems tired from their five game series against Talk ‘N Text, so that’s another plus for the Aces.
3. Don’t allow Macklin to dominate
Mark Caguioa is back on court, but after sitting out due to his injury for so long, I don’t think he’ll be “the spark” the team needs. Macklin’s performance could dictate Barangay Ginebra’s game, so Alaska needs to hold him down. In the first game, Macklin got away with 16 points and 14 rebounds. They should continue to limit his scoring, and Dozier should prove once and for all that his consistent game can earn him the Best Import award.
(We were supposed to come up with a consensus prediction but we just couldn’t agree.) Here’s what we think:
RJ’s prediction? Ginebra has always been down this conference and they have managed to overcome every obstacle. Ginebra won’t allow a repeat of Game 1 and there’s no way that RJ Jazul can maintain his hot shooting. Macklin will lead the Ginebra to a Game 2 victory and we will see LA Tenorio’s best game in this conference.
Carla’s prediction? Ginebra just seems too tired, and the schedule isn’t exactly on their side. I agree that it will probably be a much closer game than the last one, but I think Alaska will take the win today as well. It’s all about teamwork for the Aces, so it doesn’t matter if RJ Jazul doesn’t shoot as well as he did in the last game. Someone else will always be there to step up.