The Purefoods Star Hotshots (4-3) suffered yet another loss, their third in a row, against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (3-3), 87-96. It was also the Hotshots’ second-straight defeat against Ginebra this season, following their blowout loss to them during the Philippine Cup.
After losing their previous game against KIA, lots of events took place in the Purefoods’ camp that led to the re-acquisition of former best import awardee and fan-favorite Denzel Bowles. However, Ginebra lead by Mike Dunigan, spoiled Denzel Bowles’ return to the PBA. It was his first game back and Ginebra gave Bowles a rude welcome to the league with a loss.
It was turning out to be a rout of some sorts as Ginebra lead by as much as 16 points (68-52) in the 3rd quarter. The absence of gunners James Yap and Allein Maliksi proved to be key for the Hotshots as they needed to spread Ginebra’s suffocating defense inside the paint. But Purefoods, the champion team that they are, tried their very best to steal the game late in the 4th quarter. Led by Mark Barroca, Joe Devance, and Denzel Bowles, Purefoods was able to tie it and make a ball game out of it.
But Ginebra, learning a thing or two from their loss to TNT, displayed end-game composure as they were able to weather Purefoods’ attack and take the fight out of them.
Story of the Game: Outhustled, Outmuscled
Ginebra won this game by using their advantage inside the paint and by also outhustling Purefoods.
|REBS||PTS IN THE PAINT||ASTS||STLS||TOs||TO PTS||2ND CHANCE PTS||BENCH PTS|
Ginebra was able to pull away from Purefoods by using their size advantage. Their perfectly executed high-low play for Slaughter/Dunigan produced a lot of points for them. Those perfect passes (timing and placing) from their guards made it difficult for the Hotshots’ defense to check their big men. This led to a 42-24 advantage for Ginebra in terms of inside points. Dunigan led the way with 22 points (maybe 3 or 4 open slams) and Greg Slaughter contributed 19 points as well. Adding to Purefoods’ problems in this game was Japeth Aguilar who provided some solid numbers of 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, his best game yet this conference.
It was expected that Ginebra would turn it up on the offensive end and Purefoods on the other hand, on the defensive end. But in this game, it wasn’t the case. It was like a role-reversal of some sort. It was Ginebra who played solid defense, as they forced the Hotshots into more turnovers that led to their 11-point advantage in terms off points off turnovers. As for Purefoods, they prioritized offense over defense for most parts of the game (one-on-one offense at that), and only realized it late in the game already when they made their run. Unfortunately for them, it was too late.
NAKAPUWING: EMMAN MONFORT
One guy in particular that lifted Ginebra and did damage to Purefoods in this game was the smallest guy on the court, Emman Monfort. Sabi nga nila, walang malaking nakakapuwing. It was the 2nd straight-game wherein the Hotshots failed to keep in check the smallest guy on the floor. Remember their last game against KIA? Remember LA Revilla? That’s what I’m talking about.
Emman Monfort finished with a solid statline of 9 points (57% shooting), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and ZERO turnovers! Justin Melton, who was supposed to be Monfort’s counterpart, continued to struggle, failing to score and contribute in 16 minutes of action.
*One thing Purefoods can improve is their free throw shooting. Looking at the numbers, the Hotshots missed 15 out of the 36 free throws given to them. That’s only 58.3% compared to Ginebra’s 91.7% (22/24). If only they’ve hit at least half of their foul shots, the complexion of the game could’ve changed. And who knows, they could’ve won the game if they did hit their foul shots.
*Looking at the bright side of things, PJ Simon was back in action for Purefoods. Simon had a decent showing scoring 14 points (60% shooting) in 30 minutes of action. Hopefully, James Yap’s knees will be able to recover soon so that Purefoods’ dynamic duo can be back once more.
*Going down the drain in this loss is Joe Devance’s solid performance. He finished with 14 points (5/8 shooting), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal including back-to-back makes from deep late in the game that tied the ball-game. For Pinoy Fantasy Hoops players out there, you got to keep an eye on JDV all the time because if you want numbers, he’ll provide you with those, all the time.
It doesn’t get easier for Purefoods as they’ll be facing the regning Philipine Cup Champs, the San Miguel Beermen. They have 6 days off to rest and prepare for the Beermen who just nailed their first W of the conference against the league leader, Meralco Bolts. Denzel Bowles was impressive in his debut for Purefoods finishing with 31 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. However, he did have 7 turnovers in this game. This could be unfamiliarity with some of his new teammates or lack of practice with the team (he only practiced with them once before the game against Ginebra). This 6-day rest should be able to help Purefoods improve their game with Denzel at the helm as they try to get over this 3-game losing streak.