After getting pounded by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters just last Saturday, the STAR Hotshots (3-5) will be back in action once more against another tough opponent in the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (4-5). It is kind of a must-win game for STAR as another loss will move them further at the bottom of the team standings. Currently, they are in danger of missing the playoffs as they are stuck down there together with BWE, NLEX, GIN, and interestingly, TNT. So for sure, this will be another dogfight. Remember the last time these two teams met in an elimination game? It was a triple overtime thriller with the Hotshots winning by just one, 118-117 and was definitely a classic.
Yes, we know that this will be a tight match between STAR and TNT. But the question remains, just how tight and tough will it be? Let’s look at the numbers especially the Four Factors.
In terms of eFG%, TNT clearly has the edge as they are currently ranked 1st in the league with a 51.1% clip (3rd in terms of net eFG% with +1.8). The Hotshots’ defense must be in tip-top form and they can’t allow themselves to be like they were against Rain or Shine or they’ll be massacred by TNT’s offense.
With regards to turnovers, although STAR commits more errors than Talk ‘N Text (TOV% – STAR 16.1 1st – TNT 14.7 4th), it’s actually a toss up in terms of net TOV%. These two squads are not that good in taking care of the basketball and forcing to their opponents to commit errors on the other end of the floor. Talk ‘N Text commits 4.4 more turnovers (worst in the league) than their opponents and STAR 3.5 more (2nd worst). For this game, STAR’s quite fortunate they’re facing an unusual turn-over prone TNT team.
In terms of offensive rebounding, both teams averages a net negative ORB%. TNT’s slightly better with a -2.7 for 8th in the league and STAR is at 10th with -3.7. But the good thing for STAR is they have a better Team ORB% compared to TNT. Also, with Marc Pingris‘ game resurrected and Marqus Blakely raring to get back after being a disappointment against ROS, I give the Hotshots the edge in terms of this one.
Lastly, we have the free throw rate. This is where the advantage clearly goes to the Hotshots. Right now, they are the best in the league in terms of going to the free throw line (26.9) and are also the best in the league in terms of allowing opponents attempts at the line (14.5). That’s a net FTR of 12.4. As for TNT, they are only an average team in terms of FTR with a net rating of 2.6 (Team – 21.4, Opp -18.8). If STAR can capitalize on this advantage and shoot better than their current average of 66.1 (9th), this will be a big boost for them; More so that TNT’s also been shooting bricks at the charity stripe with a 64.9 FT% (10th).
After discussing those Four Factors, we can see how evenly matched these two teams are (even in their struggles). For me, the biggest difference maker in this game would be the x-factors for both teams. I really can’t give a solid prediction for this game as TNT is fully capable of giving STAR another loss and vice versa. I wouldn’t be surprise if this goes down the wire or even to overtime to another overtime and to another overtime. I just hope the Hotshots would be the one to make the key plays for them to get this victory.
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: Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5 (Edited by: MI.NI Graphics and Design)