Bias is natural — it’s our brain processing all that information and making sense out of it. Now it doesn’t mean it actually makes sense.
Take for example the TNT vs MFB (I’m using MFB because WTH). My brain tells me that TNT’s going to win this, right? I mean they’re a perennial powerhouse — what with the presence of Castro, De Ocampo and Fonacier along with budding young players like Tautuaa, Rosario and Pogoy — and Mahindra is a perennial bottom team.
And they did, by a margin of 12, 92-104. But watching the game, it didn’t feel like TNT won by 12. It felt more like 2 or 1, with a game winning basket basically deciding the game. That was how close the game felt on TV.
For the most part, the numbers tell the story. TNT was up 4 at the end of the 1st quarter, 29-25, thanks in part to Coach Nash’s quirky lineup featuring a mostly young lineup of Rosser, Rosario, Pogoy, Reyes and Tautuaa. That’s MGR at point, mind you. It worked. Those youngsters (Rosario, Pogoy, Tautuaa) scored 12 of TNT’s first 15 points, with Tautuaa leading the charge with 7 points. But Kia — with a 2-game winning streak on their tally — kept punching and punching, never mind the fact that they weren’t hitting a lot. It was quantity over quality.
In the 2nd, Mahindra just hit enough shots, thanks to Mallari, who finished with 19 points, and to their so-far steady transition offense. It was clear TNT was the veteran team, even as early as the 2nd. Their offense was smooth and intentional. Mahindra’s was rough and crooked. But lo and behold, Mahindra was actually leading by 6 thanks to Escoto and Revilla‘s two-man work late in the quarter (a beautiful pocket pass that set Escoto up perfectly).
But it became all to clear in the 3rd who would become the winner. Kia’s free flowing (in a bad way) offense was suddenly struggling. After scoring 25 and 32 in the first 2 quarters, they struggled in the 3rd, scoring only 21. The midrange Js and the short hooks started missing. Not a lot, mind you. But enough to make Mahindra doubt. And that’s all the TNT veterans needed. A barrage of 3s, 2 from Ryan Reyes and one from Fonacier, would break an 88-87 game wide open. It was 97-88, with a lone free throw from Mallari as the only score for Mahindra in that stretch.
While TNT featured a lot of ball movement and early offense, Kia was mostly relegated to isolations, sprinkled with ball screens every now and then. Some would scoff at that idea — isolations are awful, unless you have a singular talent who’ll make them worth it. Someone like Romeo.
But Mahindra doesn’t. That was ultimately their downfall, as their inability to generate offense late killed them. It also gave them a 2-game winning streak.
Mahindra’s drops to 2-6 while TNT rises from the quintuple tie to take sole ownership of the 4th spot.