After slugging it out in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals last conference, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters are back at it once more. Currently tied at the top of the team standings at 5-2, the Mixers and the Tropang Texters are both looking to secure a win to solidify their playoff rankings as the elimination round of the 2014 PBA Governor’s Cup is coming to a close.
San Mig will be facing a dangerous squad in TNT looking to avenge their finals loss last conference (against the Mixers) as well as their “upset” of a loss against the Barako Bull Energy Cola in their last game. So what do the Mixers have to do to avoid a loss against the hands of a motivated Tropang Texters?
Keys to the Game
DISRUPT TNT’S BALL MOVEMENT
The offense of Talk N’ Text is predicated on good ball movement. TNT finds success mostly on sharing the basketball and finding the gaps in the defense for an open shot. This type of offensive system works well for TNT as they have a local cast capable of scoring mid-range to long-range bombs (Ranidel De Ocampo, KG Canaleta, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, JImmy Alapag, and Jayson Castro) and an import who buys into the system of passing the ball in Paul Harris. They are one of the most efficient team offensively in the league marked by their 103.3 ORTG (3rd) just last conference.
The Mixers are already familiar with the system the Tropang Texters run as they have faced each other multiple times in the playoffs in recent years. In this game, the Mixers just have to do what they do best. If there’s one thing that can stop TNT’s efficiency on offense, it will be good team defense. The Mixers must be able to recover from their uninspired defensive performance in their last game against the Air 21 Express. They must be able to disrupt the passing lanes and make it difficult for the Tropang Texters to find the open spot on the floor.
OUT-REBOUND THE TROPANG TEXTERS
In their last game, the Mixers were out-rebounded by the Express and it nearly cost them the game. In this game, their focus should also be on crashing the boards for them to have a better chance against the Tropang Texters. In the 2 losses of TNT this conference, they were on the losing end of the rebounding battle. Looking at the numbers:
|OPP||OPP TRB(ORB)||TNT TRB(ORB)|
This rebounding edge of opposing teams against TNT especially on the offensive end really affected the outcome of the game as TNT’s opponents in their losses had more 2nd chance points against them (14-4 vs. BAR, 14-2 vs. ALA). The Mixers must not allow multiple opportunities for the Tropang Texters. Marqus Blakely and Marc Pingris must be able to establish their presence early on on the boards and rebounding help from the other guys of San Mig will be critical in this one.
ENDGAME LOCAL SUPPORT
The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers’ locals lead by PJ Simon, James Yap, Marc Pingris, Joe Devance, and Mark Barroca must be able to provide the socring support to Marqus Blakely in the closing quarters of the game. In their last game, they got lucky that Blakely was able to carry the load for the team. However, in this game, they can’t afford to do that as they are facing a squad that plays better in the 2nd half of most of their games.
Key Match-up: Mark Barroca vs. Jimmy Alapag
Both Mark Barroca and Jimmy Alapag are quite inconsistent this conference for their respective teams. There are games where they would contribute significant numbers but there are also games wherein they aren’t that much of a factor. It will interesting to see who will come up with a better game between the two. It is fresh to the memory of many how Mark Barroca dominated the guards (especially Alapag) of TNT in Game 4 of the Finals last conference en route to the championship. Will Jimmy Alapag be able to have his revenge by having a big game against the “Coffee King” or will Mark Barroca continue to dominate the “Mighty Mouse” and give the Mixers their 6th win this conference? I guess we’ll have to see what happens in this game. But one thing’s for sure, this will be a highly-competitive game that will be really fun to watch.