So, that was not fun at all.
I just spent two hours of my life watching the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters completely destroy the Alaska Aces. It wasn’t a quick death, like when those bad people on Game of Thrones beheaded Sean Bean aka actor-who-always-plays-characters-who-die aka Ned Stark (seriously, it’s spawned a lot of memes and coverage).
It was a slow and planned death like the Red Wedding.
Now, I don’t watch Game of Thrones (yeah, sue me) but because I follow a lot of people who do (and generally, it takes over the entire Twitterverse), I have a general sense of what certain events in GoT felt like. This felt like one of those.
If I remember correctly, the Red Wedding was supposed to be a safe thing (something like a pact of guest or ageless god code or maybe just the bro code) for the Starks despite their reservations and suspicions against the other clan. However, somewhere in the middle of the wedding (congrats to those two BTW, RIGHT?!), the entire Stark family (and everyone affiliated with them) was massacred, leaving no one alive (except for Arya).
This game felt like that. I warned about a possible massacre because Rain or Shine was just the worst opponent for Alaska to face right now. Raring to go on a multi-win run, with all the elements of the game favoring the Painters, this was a #RedWedding PBA edition in the making.
And then the first quarter happened where Alaska was down by just four (!!!) despite a horrible defensive showing for the Aces (again). Alaska had a chance, right? I mean, even I, the eternal realist, started believing that.
And then the second, third and fourth quarter happened.
It was a blood bath of epic proportions. Bodies all over the floor. Bricks just showering the court. I don’t even remember if Alaska’s jersey was actually white at the start but turned red from blood and the linings turning black from the fire of destruction. By the end of third quarter(with Rain or Shine up 28), everybody – players, coaches, fans – checked out of the game waiting for the game to just end. But Rain or Shine would have none of it. They wanted to paint the town red (see what I did there? hahaha) with blood. So they continued the onslaught, building an already ginormous lead of 28 to an even more ginormous lead of 51 (almost doubling it!).
The reasoning was simple – because of the quotient system, Rain or Shine couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste (and Alaska, clearly, would have taken advantage of any lapses in play to pull the final deficit down). So they never relented.
For the record, hindi ko matanggap yung excuse ng ROS. Sa tingin ko lang ha, kung manalo ka by kahit 20-30 pts, mataas na quotient na yan.
— Carlos Araneta (@chuck_araneta) June 4, 2014
Cant blame RoS for running up the score here. It's a tight, no-playoff, quotient-only tiebreak system this conference. Every point counts.
— Nikko Ramos (@NikkoRMS) June 4, 2014
Some might argue it was unethical. Others thought it was completely understandable.
I don’t know what I actually felt. I’m not an Alaska fan per se. I am a fan of a lot of their players (and I am a big fan of the system they run). I can say the same thing for Ginebra. Or the Beermen.
But I do know there’s this unspoken rule in basketball about “respect for the game”. Like how the Starks were lulled into a sense of security by that unspoken bro code, the Aces were also lulled into a sense of security.
They wouldn’t dare trot out a good lineup while we send our shock troopers, will they?
But they did. While Reyes, Bugia, Buenafe and Eman (#FormerTopOverallPick) were going through the motions, Reid was busy building up his scoring numbers. Of all the quarters, the fourth quarter had the highest point differential. It speaks a lot about Rain or Shine’s intention.
I completely understood Rain or Shine’s intention — if it ever comes to a tiebreaker to get that last spot, they can look back at this 51-point win and say to themselves “We’ll definitely get that last spot”.
On the other hand, sportsmanship and that unspoken “respect for the game” rule was somehow broken. This is why stat chasers at the end of the game are condemned. Or why showboating (with breath taking dunks) is frowned upon.
Wherever you fall, there’s no denying — this is the PBA’s #RedWedding edition.
This loss actually hurts me more because I predicted exactly what would happen. It was sad. The few times I’m right, I’m at the receiving end. Oh well. Keys to the Game.
Ball Screen Defense
15 of 33 (45.5 percent from deep), a lot of that was because Rain or Shine just kept finding the open guy (or taking the open shot) on miscommunications on ball screens. Seriously, why would you dare go under on Jeff Chan (41.1percent from deep this season, 7.6 attempts per 36) or Lee (37.7 percent from deep this season, 7.8 attempts per 36)?
Belga was due for a good three-point shooting game and you choose now to hedge hard and leave him (he made both of his attempts from behind the arc)?
Even Reid, normally a bad shooter, was feeling it because he got so many open looks at the beginning.
Stop Fouling so Much
Awful Ball Screen Defense, meet Fouling so Much.
33 fouls. 34 free throws. 27.2 free throw ratio. Some were ticky-tacky fouls but most of them were because Alaska had no choice but to swipe.
Take Care of the Ball
Simple entry passes were being stolen! At one point, a RoS player (I can’t remember who) literally took the ball in-mid air! It was a clinic … on how to not make passes.
It wasn’t just passes though, players were fumbling the ball, making dangerous behind-the-back dribbles in traffic (Hello insan!) or passing to a teammate… who was not looking (Hello Casio!) or sometimes, just flopping the ball out of bounds (Hello Walker!).
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
Alaska is now on the outside looking in – with a 2-4 record (not to mention a point differential of -40). It’ll require a gargantuan team effort for them to get back on track. And by get back on track I mean win a regular game because it’s going to be against a focused veteran team in San Mig Coffee. I leave you with this: