Two sister teams clash once more as the league-leading San Miguel Beermen (5-1) take on the struggling STAR Hotshots (2-4). The Beermen will try to build on their momentum after a hard-fought one-point victory over the Barako Bull Energy. On the other hand, the Hotshots will try to recover from losing another nail-biter to the Alaska Aces.
Much like their other sister team, San Miguel will face a squad that is still adjusting to the loss of Grand Slam coach Tim Cone and the installment of a rookie coach in Jason Webb and a brand new system. As expected, it’s been a struggle. As of this writing, they are the third-worst offensive team (95.1 offensive rating). They also own the fourth-worst net rating at -2.7. A high turnover rate is a mark of a team still learning a new system which is the case here as they’ve turned it over in 17.5% of their possessions, only second to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
For the San Miguel Beermen, their number one priority is to not take their opponents likely. Their defense will be the number one concern, especially since their defensive rating for the season took a hit after Barako’s hot shooting night (98.9 – fifth). They will have to do a better job closing out on the Hotshots’ shooters. They may not have a lot of attempts from behind the arc (21.8), but they hit their fair share of them (33.6 3PT% – fourth). Though they’re struggling, the Hotshots still have players who can turn it on at any moment. Seven players average at least 8.3 points per game, including three who have average double digits (James Yap, PJ Simon, Marc Pingris). In terms of individual match-ups, I’m looking forward to Ronald Tubid try to stop James Yap from scoring at will. His brand of physical defense will be needed.
All in all, San Miguel should play to their pace and prevent the Hotshots from generating easy points, particularly on the break or on the offensive glass.
Offensively, they should be fine. They just have to make sure to go to June Mar Fajardo early and often, especially after his monster 20-20 game against Barako. He is sure to be challenged by DOTA buddy Marc Pingris and a slew of young big men. But as long as the pain in his feet don’t flare up and teammates make their shots, he should be good for another big game. A possible X-factor here will be the play of Alex Cabagnot. He hasn’t had a bad conference (being in the top 10 for the BPC race is proof of that) as he’s been distributing well and putting up points when needed. The problem is that he’s had a few too many slow starts, especially shooting the ball. I would like to see better shot selection and more PnR from him.
The San Miguel Beermen shouldn’t really expect to adjust their game plan much. They just have to stick to what has worked in their five victories. Once again, as long as they stick to their half court game and play honest defense, they should end the day with another W in their belts. #FearTheBeer
|TV: LIVE ON TV5|
|TIME: 5:15 PM|
|VENUE: MALL OF ASIA ARENA|