Ever since the departure of import Othyus Jeffers, and the arrival of replacement Rodney Carney, the Talk ‘N Text Tropan Texters just haven’t been the same team they once were. Sure, they’ve got 4 wins and only 1 loss right now but that’s what great teams do, they still find ways to win despite their struggles. Quite noticeably however the Tropang Texters have not been performing to their fullest due to their problems with their imports. Props to them for still remaining atop the standings despite relying mostly on their locals.
Heading into their 6th game of the conference, Talk ‘N Text is making yet another import change by bringing back Paul Harris, who was already once their import in 2011 when they won the PBA Commissioner’s Cup over Barangay Ginebra. Harris, who boasts averages of 24.9points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 32 games with the Tropang Texters, will hopefully provide much needed help to this Talk ‘N Text team who has been suffering import woes as of late (Carney has only averaged 17.6 points and 3.6 boards in his 3 games with TNT). But besides the return of Paul Harris, let’s take a look at some other factors that the TNT Nation might want to look at for this upcoming game against GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Win-Loss records aren’t always the best way to determine how good or bad a team is, which is why the 4-1 Tropang Texters better be wary of the 1-4 Batang Pier, lest they be caught by surprise. There are actually quite a few aspects of the games of both teams that may seem similar, and I think these stats will be the keys to them winning or losing.
Make Your Free Throws
Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo are two of the best scoring guards in the PBA today, and they have something in common: they can draw fouls and make their free throws. Being able to get easy points at the line is definitely something that would help any team get a win, and I’m sure both teams will be looking at their respective players to try and make that happen. But we all know that it takes more than one person to win a game, and in this regard I feel that Talk ‘N Text has the advantage.
It is true that GlobalPort has a player in Romeo that can wreak havoc on the defense and get to the line consistently and effectively (23/30 FTs in 4 games), but as team they are only 100/146 from the FT line for this conference (68.49% FT shooting). Talk ‘N Text on the other hand, as a team, is 85/105 from the FT line for the conference (80.95% FT shooting), which is definitely much more effective shooting. Some might argue that GlobalPort actually has the advantage in FT shooting because they make 20 per game, while Talk ‘N Text only makes 17 per game. This would then mean that it would come down to the attempts each team would probably take during the game to determine who does eventually get more points of off FTs.
That being said, it is important to note that GlobalPort gives up an average of 25.2 fouls per game, which leads to 26 opponent FT attempts per game. Talk ‘N Text averages similar but smaller numbers as they give up 23.4 fouls per game, which leads to 25.2 opponent FT attempts per game. So if the Tropang Texters end up taking just about the same number of FT attempts as the Batang Pier, it would mean they’re probably going to make more of them as a team because of their better FT shooting percentage.
Limit Your Turnovers
You can expect this game to feature excellent guard play from both teams, as seen in backcourt duos: Castro and Alapag for Talk ‘N Text, Cabagnot and Romeo for GlobalPort. With heavy guard play of course comes the responsibility of running the offense properly and efficiently, which is why managing TOs will be crucial for this game. In terms of team averages, Talk ‘N Text (11.8 TOs per game) takes better care of the ball than GlobalPort (16.6 TOs per game), BUT GlobalPort (16.4 opp turnovers per game) forces more TOs than Talk ‘N Text (12.4 opp turnovers per game). The differences in these statistics is quite small, which leads me to believe that turnover numbers for this game are going to be very similar.
With that, we should also notice that both teams also average a similar number of points of off turnovers: 16.2 TO PTS per game for Talk ‘N Text and 15 TO PTS per game for GlobalPort. With all these numbers being so close to one another the course of action for Talk ‘N Text becomes obvious: there is a better chance of winning for the team that turns the ball over less.
Take (And Make) The 3-ball
For those who are avid followers of the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texter style of basketball, you already know that the 3-ball is an integral part of their offense. In this conference, Talk ‘N Text is averaging 26.6 3-point attempts per game and they make 10.2 of those attempts per game also (that accounts for 30 of their 96.8ppg as a team). GlobalPort on the other hand is a team that struggles from the 3-point line, as they average only 18.2 attempts and 4.8 makes per game. The scorching 38.35% 3PT shooting of the Tropang Texters is definitely going to be an advantage they have over the 26.37% 3PT shooting of the Batang Pier.
Who To Watch
The match-up you were probably expecting was Castro/Alapag vs Cabagnot/Romeo, but I don’t think their numbers are going to matter much. The reason is because I feel like these guys are going to get their usual averages, and so we should look elsewhere to try and find an x-factor that might have a surprise impact on the game. It’s possible that this might just be the new TNT import, Paul Harris, coming in to play his first game, but let’s mark him as an unknown for now. Although we do know his PBA career averages, there’s no guarantee that he will perform accordingly. If it’s not the import matchup, then let’s look at a local one.
Ranidel de Ocampo V.S. Jay Washington
It’s been quite an interesting last two conferences for Jay Washington, as he seemed to be having a break-out season with his performance during the Philippine Cup, but then his disappointing performance during the Commissioner’s Cup happened and we’re all stuck wondering what went wrong. For the current Governor’s Cup he seems to have recovered at least and is playing more consistently, as he’s averaging 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
On the other team, Ranidel de Ocampo has been one of the most stable big men of Talk ‘N Text throughout the conferences, and in the 2014 PBA Governor’s Cup, he’s averaging 17.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. These averages however don’t show the whole story of his conference so far. His rebounding and assist numbers have been pretty consistent throughout the 5 games they’ve played, but he’s had 2 lousy scoring games and 3 stellar ones. In the two games he didn’t score well he averaged only 7.5 points for both (9pts against ROS and 6pts against SMB), while he averaged 24.3 points in the 3 good scoring games he’s had.
Since they’re going to be matched up against each other, depending on which RDO and J-Wash show up to the game, Talk ‘N Text might have a harder or easier time getting a win.