For the 2nd time in as many outings, the Elasto Painter frontline proved to be the missing link for the team’s elusive first win. Both Fajardo and Williams led a late game surge, scoring 12 points apiece to overwhelm Rain or Shine and take a 97-92 victory.
I’ll admit. I wrote my pregame primer without really thinking much of June Mar Fajardo. Yes, he is one of the premier centers in the league, but Rain or Shine has historically done pretty well against him. He does get his numbers, but for the most part, Coach Yeng’s physical brand of basketball slows him down enough for Rain or Shine to pull out a victory. This game however, got me thinking… do we miss JR Quinahan that much? Quinahan has always taken a back seat to Belga, but these first two games have shown as that the team really misses his physical defense when Belga goes to the bench.
Without another big body, Fajardo took Belga, Almazan and Rodriguez to school, fouling out the first two on successive plays and leaving the latter with five personals in only 19 minutes of play. For the game, the Kraken finished with a monster line of 28 points (9/17 FGs, 10/13 FTs), 18 rebounds (6 offensive), two assists and one block.
For more on Rain or Shine’s rough night, let’s review our keys to the game.
Make Reginald Work
It wasn’t only Fajardo that got his in this game as Williams led all scorers with 29 points (2/4 3PT FGs, 6/15 2PT FGs, 11/14 FTs), 13 rebounds, two steals and one assist. Petron’s offense in this game looked far from their initial showing where it was mostly isolations and bailout plays from Williams. In this one, they made Fajardo the fulcrum of their halfcourt offense, establishing his presence down low which led to easier opportunities for Williams who played a controlled and efficient offensive game, picking his spots both inside and outside.
Say No to Penetration!
In the halfcourt, the Elasto Painters were able to contain the penetration (just not the interior plays), but it was in transition where SMB’s point guard tandem wrecked havoc. The box score says that SMB had only 10 transition attempts, which resulted to 14 points (almost identical to ROS’ numbers), but the Beermen’s transition hits mostly came in that pivotal 4th quarter run than buried the Elasto Painters. Sol Mercado had two of his three assists in transition early in the deciding quarter while Chris Ross (four points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five steals) came in midway and put the finishing touches in this San Miguel victory.
Key Match Up
Gabe Norwood vs. Sol Mercado
These two didn’t spend a lot of time guarding each other since Mercado only played 14 minutes despite starting. Coach Ravanes/Purves clearly preferred to play Ross in this one and it could be a cause for concern moving forward for SMB.
San Miguel Beer found a way to “preserve” Reggie Williams on the defensive end by putting him on Jeff Chan instead of Arizona Reid who was checked by Arwind Santos. It was a gamble that paid off since it allowed Reid to score, but nobody else from the Painters was able to consistently help out their import.
Instead of just giving Fajardo a simple entry pass, Coach Ravanes/Purves drew up this simple half court set where the point guard (Mercado) will initiate the play from the wing with Fajardo and the other big man (Kramer) setting up on opposite posts, while the other two players spread the floor. Kramer then suddenly flashes from point “A” to point “B” and receives the ball, drawing his defender towards him. This then gives Fajardo all the space he needs to work in the post, with passing lanes clearly open to him if the defense collapses.
I miss you, JR Quinahan.