After their historic beat down of thee Alaska Aces, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters must be feeling pretty good heading into Sunday’s match-up vs. the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. Normally, it’s never a good thing to be playing a team as stacked as the Gin Kings, but this offers the unique (and hopefully beneficial) circumstance of playing two teams in a row that employ mostly the same system in the Triangle. A win here would not only be the Elasto Painter’s third straight win, but it will also allow them to position themselves to possibly steal one of the four twice to beat slots heading into the playoffs.
Let’s check out our keys to the game:
Against Alaska, Rain or Shine was simply masterful in denying one of the fain pillars of the Triangle offense – initiating the offense from the post. Ginebra, will probably do a lot of the same with Tenorio looking to enter the ball to Mason or Slaughter to the post to start their sets. The Elasto Painters must look to counter this by anticipating the lob pass and at the same time, being very physical in the post (pushing Slaughter/Mason as far away as possible from the paint, poking at the ball, showing them different angles etc.)
Forcing Ginebra to abandon this action will be easier said than done, but if they’ll be able to do it, it will force Ginebra to look for other options with limited time remaining in the shot clock. Give me a Cardona/Mason isolation any day of the week vs. an organized set play.
Man the Interior
To say that Ginebra plays inside – outside basketball would be an understatement. Their leading scorers Mason (21.8 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 2.6 apg) and Slaughter (15.0 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 2.6 apg) make a living on the inside and they use this threat to create shots for their teammates outside. Given Rain or Shine’s woes from the inside this conference, it might be best if the Elasto Painters just focus on containing the interior scoring and rebounding of the Barangay and just hope that not enough of their outside shots go in.
Do I see Coach Yeng and his boys coming out with a win here? Honestly speaking, no. Rain or Shine’s inability to contain the paint this conference will doom them in this game. But, I really do hope that I’m wrong. J