Two teams trending on different directions clash as we near the tail end of the 2014 PBA Governor’s Cup. The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers (4-1) are now at the top of the standings riding on a three-game winning streak while their opponent, the Alaska Aces (2-4) just dropped deeper into the standings after a “massive” 51-point (yes, you read that right) beat down coming from the hands of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
The Mixers look to solidify their position in the top 4 for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs in this game and they must not look past this Alaska team that will definitely look to bounce back after a lackluster performance in their last game and stop their three-game losing streak. For the Mixers to secure their 5th win in 6 games, here’s what they have to do:
Keys to the Game
RUN THE BREAK
Usually, San Mig would like to have a ball game where they can run their set Triangle plays. But, in this three-game winning streak they’re having now, it seems that the Mixers are getting more comfortable with pushing the ball on the break. Looking at the numbers in their past three games, we see the following:
|OPP||FB ATT||FB PTS||OPP FB ATT||OPP FB PTS||DIFF|
They should look to do this in this game against the Aces who are struggling to find points in transition this conference averaging just 6 points on 5 fast break attempts per game. The Mixers should take advantage of this especially having fresher legs compared to the the Aces who are playing their 2nd game in 3 days.
In the previous conference, the Aces were already not that good of a team when it comes to taking care of the ball. They were 8th in the league last conference with a turnover rate of 14.5%. This conference, they seem to fare a lot worse. In 6 games this conference, they are averaging a turnover rate of close to 17%. In Alaska’s 2 wins this conference against SMB and TNT, they were able to take care of the basketball and only averaged a turnover rate of 11.85%. However, in their losses, their turnover rate is at 19.47% punctuated by their 27 turnovers in their last game against ROS wherein they gave up 29 turnover points.
The Mixers’ must put their best defense forward against Alaska and disrupt their offensive flow, take their rhythm out of the game, and force turnovers. The Mixers can put their vastly improved full court press to the test in this game and Blakely as well as San Mig’s guards must lead the way in this defensive attack.
TAKE WALKER OUT OF THE EQUATION
This NBA veteran, Henry Walker has been dishing out solid performances for the Alaska Aces this conference. Although the Aces have a losing record this conference, their import has been impressive numbers-wise averaging close to a triple double of 21.50 points, 9.33 rebounds, and 8.33 assists per game.
The Mixers must be able to limit his production in this game not only in the scoring department. The Mixers must be aware of Walker’s passing ability as this guy is great at locating his shooters waiting for the kick-out pass or his other teammates lurking in the shaded are waiting for that drop pass.
Key Match-up: PJ Simon vs. Cyrus Baguio
It will be interesting to see a scoring battle between 2 of the “silent-but-deadly” scorers in the PBA today in PJ Simon and Cyrus Baguio. Will PJ Simon continue his hot scoring spree for the Super Coffee Mixers or will Skyrus be able to lift his team out of this slump and lead them to victory?
With the way things are going over there in Alaska, it’s hard not to predict a win for the Mixers. The key here for San Mig is to maintain focus at the task hand and not be complacent. If the Mixers do this, win number 5 should be money in the bag for them.