Last week, we took a look at Ginebra’s performance as a team in an attempt to understand the reasons behind their struggles this conference. In this 2nd part, we turn our attention to the players to see if there are certain culprits we can pinpoint to explain the Barangay’s disastrous play.
For this post, we’ll take a look at all Ginebra players that played at least five games and logged 20 minutes for the conference.
9.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.9 turnovers in 35 minutes per game
Tenorio didn’t have an elite conference for Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup. Except for his assist numbers, Tenorio was not able to impact his team’s offense as he normally does. Without an import like Vernon Macklin who played to the Gineral’s strengths, his struggles on the offensive end this conference can be forgiven. But, it’s his high turnover rate despite using a below average number of possessions that’s more concerning at the moment. With turnovers by point guards probably happening outside of the paint and on live-ball situations, these could have played a major factor in Ginebra giving up an average of nine fast break attempts this conference.
10.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 turnovers in 31.6 minutes per game
The only local player outside of Greg Slaughter to average more than 10 points per game, Caguioa put together a decent offensive showing. Despite only shooting 38.2% from inside the arc, his eFG% and TS% were bolstered by the fact that he was one of Ginebra’s best three point shooters at 40%. He did only attempt 2.8 triples a game, which probably contributed to the team ranking only 7th in 3pt% in the league this conference.
8.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 25.9 minutes per game
Most people still consider him only a high flier, but Chris Ellis continues to look better conference after conference. With defenses focused on stopping imports in the Commissioner’s Cup, Ellis has taken advantage of the decrease in defensive pressure to pick his spots en-route to an efficient conference percentage wise, making 48.8% of his 2 point attempts and 38.9% of his 3 point attempts.
The raw numbers may not jump out of the page yet, but as the advanced stats have shown us, Ellis is definitely a more complete player than most people give him credit for.
8.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.4 blocks in 23.7 minutes per game
Another player that has benefitted from less expectations and pressure is Japeth Aguilar. This conference, Aguilar played closer to the rim (only one three attempted this conference!) and was often the beneficiary of easy scores off offensive rebounds. Amidst the team’s disastrous defense, Aguilar was able to do a relatively good job of holding down the fort, leading the team in rejections with 1.4 a game.
12.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 turnovers in 28.1 minutes per game
Slaughter played a very good conference especially considering the fact that he essentially matched up against imports for a good chunk of every game he played. Offensively, he stood his ground, leading all Gin King locals in two 2PT FGs and 2PT%, almost singlehandedly allowing Ginebra to rank first in the league in shooting from inside the arc. Defensively however, there will always be challenges whenever a local matches up with an import night after night after night. Too often, we saw more athletic imports take advantage of Slaughter, forcing the Ginebra coaching staff to sit him for extended periods and go with player combinations that the team may not be used to.
26.0 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.0 blocks and 3.4 turnovers in 36.3 minutes per game.
It’s not the prettiest of truths to swallow, but we know that in conferences with imports, it’s the performance of your hired guns that will make or break your conference. In seven games for the Barangay, Rodgers’ averages and advance stats actually paint a good picture of his offensive performance, but looking deeper at the numbers, we see that he made only 1.7 out of 7.1 treys a game (with the three pointer being his supposed specialty). His 24% clip from beyond the arc not only was responsible for making Ginebra the 3rd worst three point shooting team, but it may have also greatly contributed to their opponents’ dominance in transition, as misses from threes often create long rebounds that give the defensive rebounding team a distinct advantage in terms of getting out on the break. Defensively, it doesn’t seem like he put forth much of an effort as he averaged almost no blocks and steals in his tenure with the team.
After looking at both team and player statistics, it’s still pretty hard to pinpoint the reasons behind Ginebra’s horrendous defensive showing this conference. If I were to give my best take on it though, it all was a trickle-down effect from Slaughter’s inability to consistently contain opposing imports. Because of this, two things happened.
- Too much help defense
- Weird line-ups
With teammates having to help Slaughter on the defensive end, it opens up a lot of other opportunities for other opposing players. A quick kick drop pass leads to an easy two or a kick out and some swing passes leads to a wide open three on the other side. It makes sense then now how opponents ranked first in assists and 3PT% against Ginebra this conference.
At the moment, we still don’t have the data and the facilities available to accurately map out how certain line-ups performed. But, from the eye-test, we see that Coach Ato was forced to put out some weird, smaller line-ups out there like using Aguilar/Rodgers at the five. It was effective at bursts, but combinations like that, if used for longer stretches allowed opposing imports to dominate even more.
With Cariaso now inheriting the Barangay’s head coaching job, a lot of talk has been going around about him installing the Triangle as Ginebra’s offense. While I (to a certain extent), agree that the current crop of Ginebra players will be a great fit for the system, it seems that this team will need a lot of time to review or re-instil their defensive principles. There’s no doubt that this team can score, but if this kind of defensive performance continues, then I don’t see their title drought ending in the near future.