As the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup begins to draw to a close, teams are beginning to grow desperate for wins to get a spot in the playoffs. Even more so for three of the four teams playing today, namely Blackwater, NLEX, and Talk ‘N Text. For these three squads, it’s definitely time to go on survival mode, as they are currently ranked in the bottom 4 of the league right now, along with Barangay Ginebra. Just to give you an idea of how close the battle for the last two playoff spots are, I took a screenshot of the current standings from the HumbleBola website:
As you can see, even GlobalPort, which is playing NLEX today, is not safe from dropping to the bottom if they experience a few losses before the conference ends. Likewise, Blackwater will definitely still be fighting for a playoff spot, so Talk ‘N Text better not underestimate their opponents just because they are currently last in the standings.
On paper, most people would say that Talk ‘N Text is the sure winner in this contest against Blackwater, but there are still some holes in their game that they have to be wary of. The first, and probably the most obvious, is their weakness on the inside.
Former Gilas Pilipinas member and now Blackwater import Marcus Douthit is currently averaging 20.3 pts, 12.7 rebs, and 3.3 blks this conference. With him leading the inside attack of the Elite, the Tropang Texters will again have to find a way to keep up inside the paint. This may however, also serve as a weakness for Blackwater. Since most of the Elite’s offense goes through Douthit, if Talk ‘N Text can contain him, then that would surely increase their chances of winning this game.
Another concern for Talk ‘N Text could be fatigue. They played difficult games against Rain or Shine and San Miguel Beer just last Saturday (June 6) and Tuesday (June 9) respectively, while Blackwater’s last game was still way back on June 3. Not only have the Elite had more time to rest physically, but mentally as well. This 4-game losing streak the Tropang Texters have been on might be taking its toll on their mental focus during the games, and they have to be careful not to commit too many unforced errors.
Of course there are also weaknesses of Blackwater that Talk ‘N Text can take full advantage of in this game. Like I just mentioned, the Elite have not played a game in over a week. It is unavoidable that some rust may have settled in already in the game of Blackwater, and perhaps the Tropang Texters can use this to get out to an early lead in the opening minutes of the game. Personally, I would feed the ball to Ranidel de Ocampo early, and often, since I’m sure he’s itching to bounce back from his measly 8 point performance against San Miguel Beer.
Another strength Talk ‘N Text has over Blackwater is their 3-point shooting. The Tropang Texters make 9.9 3 PTs a game, and shoot it at 34.5%, while the Elite only make 5.1 3 PTs a game and shoot at 27.5%. That’s nearly a 15-point difference that they’re sure to exploit. They key player I’d like to see step up here is Larry Fonacier, who is currently shooting 1.5/4.4 (34.3%) 3 PTs per game this conference. He already broke out of his shooting and scoring slump in their previous game, scoring 11 points while hitting 3/5 from beyond the arc, and hopefully this will continue against Blackwater.
Featured Image Credit: Glenn Michael Tan, philippinesports.net