89-66. 23-point loss. Tambak. It was a very ugly game (for Purefoods fans at least). The only thing beautiful about this game was the retro jerseys Purefoods wore for this edition of the Manila Clasico (way way better than their “stained” Hotshots jerseys).
It has become a habit of the Hotshots to start the game slow this conference. It was only in 1 of their 3 games this conference (against Globalport) that they escaped with a narrow win doing this. Against Alaska and San Miguel, they were down big and never recovered just like in this game against Ginebra.
This game started with Ginebra erecting an early 10-point lead and they never looked back. Purefoods tried to stage a comeback here and there but every effort was thwarted by Ginebra. It was a wire-to-wire victory for GSM as the Hotshots never lead (or even tied) the game for 48 minutes of action.
So aside from the lackluster start by the Hotshots, what were the other factors that lead to this 23-point win by Ginebra?
Story of the Game
GINEBRA: JUST TOO MUCH FOR PUREFOODS
It was a balanced attack for Ginebra right from the get-go enabling them to blitz ahead of Purefoods early in the game. Their main weapon was better execution and ball movement as they edged out the Hotshots in the assists department, 22-9.
There were at least 5 players who scored in double figures for Ginebra while Purefoods only had 3 guys that scored at least 10 points in PJ Simon (15 points), Joe Devance (11), and Marc Pingris (10).
Doing most of the damage down low was of course, the behemoth in Greg Slaughter and surprisingly, Billy Mamaril. Slaughter and Mamaril took turns in pounding the Hotshots’ frontline helping Ginebra edge Purefoods in the rebounding department, 58-51. Mamaril finished with a double of 12 points (6/11 shooting) to go with 13 rebounds. He also added 2 blocks in 30 minutes of action. It was inevitable though as Mamaril was being given open shots the entire game and he made Purefoods pay everytime by knocking them down. On the other end, Greg Slaughter also played a solid game finishing with 14 points (5/10 shooting) and also 13 rebounds. He did much of the damage in the 2nd half, and was one of the key factors in not allowing Purefoods to stage a comeback late in the game.
It was actually a close game at the half with Purefoods able to close the gap at 6 points. Actually, the momentum was on their side going into the 3rd quarter but then, Joseph Yeo happened. It was his outside sniping that broke the game wide open. “The Ninja” just caught fire in the 3rd quarter (knocking down 4 three-pointers in that stretch) finishing with a game-high 17 points (eFG 70.8%) to go with 5 assists and a steal as well.
BIG 3: OFF NIGHT
In their first game together this conference, the “Big 3” of Purefoods failed to lead their team to victory. Although Pingris and Simon scored in double figures, they had to bleed for their points in this one. Either it was just not their lucky day or Ginebra really prepared for them. They were missing shots that they were usually making with Pingris visibly frustrated for most of the game, arguing with the referees instead of getting back on defense.
Having the worst game out of the three was “Big Game” James Yap. He had a woeful shooting night (only finishing with 7 points) and although reports say that he’s ready to go after his hamstring injury, it seems that there is still some discomfort as he can’t seem to get the lift he needed for his shots.
For Purefoods to win games this conference, the “Big 3” must get their act together and lead Purefoods by example.
*The much anticipated showdown between arguably two of the most famous players in the league in James Yap and Mark Caguioa did not happen. James Yap had an off night while Mark Caguioa played off the bench in this game. It would be great to see these two superstars engage in a shootout in the future one more time just like the old days.
*Ian Sangalang’s presence inside the paint was greatly missed by Purefoods in this game. As James Yap said, “Nakikita naman natin kung gaano kalaki si Ian sa team. Kasi, siya yung kung (kapag) pangit ang laro namin, siya nagi-step up, so nasa adjustment at nagre-recover pa kami dahil nawala nga siya,”. It would be interesting to see who will fill in the void left by Ian Sangalang and step up for Purefoods in their up and coming games this conference.
*One player who had a solid outing for Purefoods was the versatile Joe Devance. He finished with an all-around effort of 11 points (eFG 56.3%), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal in 33 minutes of action. If ever there was a PBA Fantasy League, JDV would be a first-round draft pick for sure.
*Can I just say it again? The retro jersey sported by Purefoods was a thing of beauty. Sana ‘yun na lang ‘yung jersey nila talaga. I hope they wear it again in some of their games in the future. Those throwback retro jerseys brought back a lot of memories for many longtime Purefoods fanatics inluding the jersey retirement ceremony of two Purefoods greats in Rey Evanegelista and Jerry Codinera before more than 18,000 fans inside the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After another loss, Purefoods sinks deeper into the team standings at 1-3 joining KIA, Blackwater Elite, and Barako Bull in the bottom third of the team standings. Next up for them is another dangerous team in NLEX. Purefoods must be able to adjust and improve their focus for them to secure a win against NLEX as it will be pretty difficult to climb up the team standings at 1-4 with just 6 games left in the conference.
Featured Image Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5