The STAR Hotshots (5-5) are looking to make it three in a row to end the elimination round of their 2015 Governor’s Cup Campaign. Fresh from their lopsided win against Barako, the Hotshots now face a team that has nothing to lose, the Blackwater Elite (1-9). It has been a rough conference (and season as well) for the Elite. Right now, they are already out of the race but would like to close out their maiden season with a win against STAR. As they say, going up against teams that have nothing to lose are some of the most dangerous games. Can Blackwater Elite put up a challenge and halt the STAR Hotshots two-game winning streak?
To be honest, I don’t think so. With the way the Hotshots are playing as of late, Blackwater beating them would probably be a long shot.
Let’s take a look at some numbers to show you why this is so. Right now, Blackwater is the worst offensive team, only averaging 90.6 points per 100 possessions. A lot of this has to do with their ability to put the ball in the hoop. Currently, they are second to the last in terms of True Shooting percentage averaging only 46.6%. To make things worse, they are also the worst defensive team, allowing opponents to score at a rate of 109.4 points per 100 possessions. That’s really not a good combination, isn’t it? Also, they are not a good rebounding team (47.7 TREB% 11th) and are the league leaders in terms of turnovers (26.0 TOV%). That’s how bad Blackwater has been this conference. They just can’t seem to get it going and I don’t think that they can turn things around in just a snap here in their last game of the season.
Aside from Blackwater being Blackwater, STAR is coming into this game smoking hot in terms of offense. In their last two wins, STAR averaged 116.3 points while allowing opponents to only score 99.8 per 100 possessions. They are doing this with excellent shooting (57.6 TS%) most especially from beyond the arc. With James Yap and PJ Simon finding their groove once more, the Hotshots will be a difficult team to stop. Not to mention, they have so many other weapons like Marqus Blakely, Marc Pingris, Joe Devance, and Alex Mallari, to name a few.
For me, the only thing that will stop STAR from winning this game would be themselves. But I don’t think that the possibility of them losing focus in this game is close to zero. The team has been locked in and has been in the zone the past two games and taking their foot of the pedal wouldn’t be an option for them considering the importance of this game.
They have a shot of landing in the top four of the team standings for a twice-to-beat edge coming into the next round. A lot of things still has to happen (Alaska’s game vs. Globalport) and that includes a win over the Elite. Knowing STAR’s character, they will make sure that they get this much-needed W.
TV: LIVE ON TV5 AND AKSYONTV
RADIO: RADYO 92.3 NEWS FM AND DZSR 918 KHZ AM
TIME: 7:00 PM
ARENA: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM
Featured Image Credit: Sports.Inquirer.Net and PBA Recap (Edited by: MI.NI Graphics and Design)