Let’s take a look at what’s at stake for this game.
After Meralco‘s win over the Blackwater Elite, the Bolts have once again reached the .500 record standing at 7th place in the PBA table with a 3-3 record. Sitting firmly ahead of them with a half game lead is 3-2 Commissioner’s Cup Defending Champions, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters who are going to play the Bolts this Tuesday.
Halfway the conference has gone by and the Bolts are still their usual poor-shooting selves (League 2nd lowest, 45.0 eFG%). At this point, we shouldn’t expect anything drastic to change about that unless Gary David suddenly breaks out from his slump.
If we are going to expect the Bolts to breakthrough in this conference further on, they need to solidify their rebounding even more. As mentioned in last game’s pre-game primer, rebounding wins games for the Bolts and their last victory over Blackwater with 51.5 TRB% will be the third time that Meralco has rebounded at least 49% of total rebounds and won. This is why I loved the Kelly Nabong–John Wilson trade so much. It broke my heart that trading Wilson away would be breaking up PBA’s “Line Up with Names Most Likely to Be Confused With a 1970’s American College Basketball Roster”, but getting Nabong really should help them. In the Blackwater game, he posted a solid 14.6 TRB%.
That depends, however, on how many rebounds they are actually going to be available. Talk ‘N Text are currently the most efficient scoring team in the PBA posting an insane 53.4 eFG%. For reference, throughout the past 2 conferences, no team has topped 50 eFG%.
Just take a look at the Texters’ shot chart. Gaze into its beauty.
The areas in which they are most efficiently in scoring are also the areas where they are heavily shooting. That’s an efficient offense.
The Bolts will have to stop the Tropang Texters from scoring so easily, which is something that they have actually done at an above average level (47.0 Opp eFG% compared to League Average 47.7 Opp eFG%). For the Bolts to make this happen, they will have to stop the Texters’ obvious offensive weapons:
- Steffphon Pettigrew: 28.8 points per game on 63.1 eFG%. Talk ‘N Text’s Import (Slightly disappointed that no one has photoshopped him on to Harry Potter’s Peter Pettigrew yet. YET)
- Jayson Castro: 26.5 points per game on 61.8 eFG%. Contender for PBA MVP (Even though he’s played in only 2 games)
- Ranidel De Ocampo: 11.7 points per game on 53.4 eFG%. Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP
Even IF they are able to slow down these three offensive juggernauts, they will have to find a way to stop Rookie of the Year contender, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser. Rosser’s eFG% as of right now, 5 games into the conference is an unbelievable 84.1%.
It’s unlikely that he’ll be able to keep that rate up all season, but it still proves that Rosser has now become more comfortable in his role in the Texter’s offensive scheme which will make them even harder to stop.
The Bolt’s have shown good progress in doing better rebounding the ball. To make another step forward, they just need to try to stop Talk ‘N Text from scoring.
Not an easy task, but nothing that is out of their capability.
TV: LIVE ON TV5, AKSYONTV, AND FOX SPORTS
RADIO: RADYO 92.3 NEWS FM AND DZSR 918 KHZ AM
TIME: 7:00 PM
ARENA: MALL OF ASIA ARENA
Featured Image Credit: Yahoo! Sports (http://sports.yahoo.com/)