Another disappointing loss by the San Miguel Beermen as they were picked apart by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for much of the game. They did manage to rally from a 19-point 4th quarter deficit but Ginebra’s composure was too much as they fell 105-98. The pace was dictated by Ginebra the entire night as San Miguel’s execution on both ends could do nothing to deter a revamped squad. Looking at our keys to the game will tell us exactly why they could not gain any ground.

Keys to the Game

 Pressure and Denial




8 13 10 9.0% 16 14.4%

Suffice to say San Miguel did nothing of the sort on defense. Even with a good number of steals, they could not break Ginebra’s transition defense, only accumulating a paltry 8 points on the break. They also could not take advantage of turnovers. In short, they simply allowed Ginebra to dictate how their defense would move. They were very reactive in that regard. There were barely any attempts to harass ballhandlers or deny passing lanes. The result? Too many easy looks at the basket. Ginebra just found it way too easy to score. When the Beermen suddenly decided to apply some more pressure, that’s when they managed to cut down a 19-point fourth quarter lead down to as low as four in the final four minutes. That begs the question: why didn’t they do it sooner? It just appears to have been a case of poor planning and execution.

Pick Your Poison

Like what was mentioned earlier, San Miguel weren’t decisive in their defensive scheme. There was no clear direction in wanting to defend the interior or the 3-point line. The result was domination in the paint as Zach Mason (30 points, 63.2 TS percent) in particular went to town on them, scoring 26 of his points in the second half. The interior defense was a mess as they allowed him to just go 1-on-1 against Arwind Santos, who could do little to stop him. What made it worse was that Ginebra only shot 20 percent from distance (2 of 12). In hindsight, they could have gambled on that and packed it in the paint instead of allowing Ginebra’s players free reign. Alas, they were the ones who made the decision for the Beermen on which “poison” to take.

Mason was unstoppable as he lead Ginebra in the 2nd half. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio,

Mason was unstoppable as he lead Ginebra in the 2nd half. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio,

Stop Mediocrity

Bad play from every other player not named Reggie Williams or June Mar Fajardo just continued. To a certain degree, Sol Mercado had a very good game (14 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds) but his defense was atrocious as he was used and abused by LA Tenorio (16 points, 9 in the first quarter) time and time again. Ronald Tubid was nonexistent as he went 2 of 10 from the field while Santos disappeared for the second straight game, something that we’ll get to in a while. The bench wasn’t any better as they were outscored 26-9. For much of the game, there was no one San Miguel could rely on to score except for their 1-2 punch and it cost them greatly.

Key Match-up

The Kraken vs Gregzilla



June Mar Fajardo

38 23 66.7% 83.9% 14 6 16.8% 12.4% 3

Greg Slaughter

39 19 60.0% 59.8% 11 3 12.9% 8.4% 1

This was one match-up that wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped but it did provide some interesting stuff. First of all, Slaughter showed his ability to play inside out as he scored almost all of his 12 points in the first half on midrange jumpers. Of course, it was better for San Miguel to have him shoot jumpers than wreck havoc inside but it served to bring Fajardo outside of the paint, further exposing an already flawed interior defense. Fajardo had a slightly better rebounding game but what is most noticeable is the difference in their true shooting percentages. Since it takes into account free throws, Slaughter’s was lower because he only had 2 attempts while Fajardo hit ALL 11 (!!) of his attempts, meaning he only missed 3 shots all game. That is huge for a career 60 percent free throw shooter and it looked as though he worked really hard on that aspect. Sadly enough, we didn’t get to see them bang much in the post, owing to their team-first mindsets, but it should be fun seeing them go head-to-head for many years to come.

A battle of conflicting styles. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, Interaksyon)

A battle of conflicting styles. (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, Interaksyon)

Game Notes and Other Observations

A Little Too Much

Reggie Williams’ performance was okay for the most part as he tallied 37 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals (4.7 STL%) as he played almost the whole game (46 minutes). The only problem was his efficiency.


3PT% FG% eFG% FT% TS%


30.8% 36.0% 42.2% 56.3% 46.2%

His shooting numbers were down across the board as he ended the game 4 of 13 from 3, 8 of 20 from 2, and a miserable 9 of 16 from the line. In the first half, he was far from passive as he took control of the ball and kept attacking Ginebra’s defense, getting layups and getting to the line. The only problem was he was jacking up a lot of shots. It may have been due to his passive performance against Meralco but he will have to learn when to turn it up and call for the ball and when to simply stand around and look for open shots. He just has to go back  and pick his spots more effectively. With regards to his free throw shooting, it was a mixed bag as he generated a lot of attempts but usually split them, and he was visibly thinking about his misses. He has to work on those much like Fajardo did.


For the second straight game, Santos had zero impact on the game except the last four minutes when he attacked the offensive glass. Sadly, those four minutes can’t account for the other 33 that he spent on the floor. As such, it’s a curious decision by Todd Purves when he refused to sub him out for majority of the second half. It wasn’t as if he was bereft of options at the power forward spot, which is arguably their deepest position. Just look at the performances of Rico Maierhofer and Doug Kramer.


Arwind Santos

37 8 7 4 8.5%

Rico Maierhofer

9 2 6 5 43.7%

Doug Kramer

17 1 4 3 13.9%

In less than half the amount of floor time, they pretty much produced the same as Santos, especially in the rebounding department. Maierhofer was a weird case as he dominated in his nine minutes in the first half when he seemingly grabbed every loose ball in his vicinity. We are all left to wonder why he was never subbed in again despite Santos’ struggles, especially on the defensive end. Maierhofer would have been much better suited to defend against Mason. Even Justin Chua could have seen some more time. Santos, as the reigning MVP, just cannot have nights like this where he barely produces in 30+ minutes of play. That is just too much court time for what he has been giving.

Could have used more than 9 minutes of his energy this game. (Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News Online)

Could have used more than 9 minutes of his energy this game. (Photo Credit: KC Cruz, GMA News Online)

This was just a terrible game all around for San Miguel. They only have one game left to decide their playoff fate but at this point, their top four hopes have been all but shot and look to occupy one of the lower seeds. Even then, if their play doesn’t improve, they will be looking at one long offseason.