The San Miguel Beermen (3-2) get a shot at another unbeaten team, this time the oft-maligned Barako Bull Energy Cola (4-0). Much like last conference, they have started extremely well due to a hoshpod of talent and a solid import.
So far, they’re second in offense and first in defense. Curiously enough, they don’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses statistically. What definitely stands out is that they’ve done this despite being the third-worst shooting team based on eFG%. This is likely due to the frenetic pace they run (second only to Rain or Shine) to generate more scoring possessions, supplemented by a ton of second chance opportunities (leads the league in ORB% and second chance points). The Beermen would do well to slow the pace down and limit Barako’s attempts as they’ve averaged 7.5 more FGAs than their opponents. They will also face the only team better than them at rebounding the basketball. They can’t expect to dominate like they did against the Star Hotshots, especially with how hot Barako has been.
Barako’s defense doesn’t seem particularly special, especially when you look at their opponents’ shot charts.
There’s a lot of green in the paint and on the wings beyond the three-point line., two areas the Beermen excel in. Barako seems to thrive by outscoring their opposition instead.
Speaking of bigs, June Mar Fajardo and company will be put to the test going up against Liam McMorrow. He’s pretty much Fajardo on steroids, accounting for 1/3 of Barako’s total rebounds and almost half of their offensive boards. He also sports a 65.6 TS% and gets to the line a lot. It might take more than Fajardo to contain him, which is bad considering that could leave guys like Joseph Yeo and JC Intal open. They can’t forget that Barako has the last three guys given the PBA Player of the Week citation. Yeo has always had a bone to pick with the Beermen ever since his exit from then-Petron while Intal is a tough cover with the lack of true SFs on the roster.
Barako is unbeaten for a reason. As such, it will take a total team effort to contain and defeat them, something the Beermen have done well as of late. Ending another undefeated streak isn’t out of the question here. #FearTheBeer
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Featured Image Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, Sports5