For those of you who were watching this game live or on television, you probably wouldn’t have believed your eyes when Blackwater came storming out of the gates to take a dominant lead in the first quarter. Here, maybe you have to see it to believe it:
This is of course not meant to demean the performance of Blackwater, which even led by as much as 16 points (largest of the game) in the second quarter. In fact kudos to them for taking advantage of the seemingly unfocused Tropang Texter squad early in the game. It’s just that personally I thought that the winning culture and mentality of Talk N’ Text would kick in sooner rather than later, but at this point it seemed like their losing streak would continue after all.
Talk N’ Text was clearly being outplayed by Blackwater in several aspects of the game. For example, the Tropang Texters were once again outscored inside the paint (28-44), and in this game they also gave up 21 second chance points to the Elite. And this also wasn’t just the work of Blackwater’s new import Marcus Cousin, but even locals like Heruela and Gamalinda were constantly able to attack the inside of Talk N’ Text. At this point in the conference, it seems like the clear weakness of the Tropang Texters is on the inside, and it will be something opposing teams will continue to exploit in the games to come. Blackwater for example was able to shoot 30/58 (52%) from 2-point range against Talk N’ Text.
Another reason for the struggles of Talk N’ Text in this game were the poor performances of Steffphon Pettigrew and Jayson Castro, who both turned in their lowest scoring outputs of the conference. Pettigrew got into early foul trouble (5 fouls for the game), and ended up only contributing 6 rebounds and 7 points on 2/5 shooting, while Castro also struggled, going for only 7 points on 3/13 (23%) shooting. This game marked the first time both of these players scored in single-digits this conference. With all these going against them, just how did Talk N’ Text manage to win this game?
Well, they were able to compensate for their weakness on the inside by scorching Blackwater from the outside. In typical Tropang Texter fashion, they shot 13/26 from beyond the arc, and outscored the Elite (only shot 6/14) by 21 points from 3-point territory. In particular, Larry Fonacier shot the ball very well once again, continuing from his performance in their last game against San Miguel Beer. It seems like the baby-faced assassin has finally found his shooting groove once again, as he went for 20 points on 7/10 shooting (4/6 3FG) in this game.
The bench of Talk N’ Text was also another factor that really helped them win this game. With Castro and Pettigrew both struggling from the field, the subs stepped up, pouring in a total of 60 points, compared to just 32 points from the bench of Blackwater. In fact four out of the five Tropang Texters who scored in double figures came off the bench, but it was really Sam Daghles and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser who led the charge.
For Sam Daghles, this was actually the first time in the conference the Asian import did not start for Talk N’ Text, and it turned out pretty good. The positive effect of Daghles’ move to the bench was obviously not apparent to start the game, since Blackwater looked like it would blowout Talk N’ Text, but it was able to prove valuable in the latter stages. With a solid point guard and play-maker coming off the bench to lead the second unit, it was much easier for coach Uichico to manage the minutes of Castro while maintaining order on the court. Increasing the “threat-density” (as I would like to call it) off the bench also makes it more difficult for opponents’ second units to keep up with the likes of Daghles, De Ocampo, and Ganuelas-Rosser.
But the real star of the night in my opinion was the seldom-used (at least in this conference) Matt Ganuelas-Rosser. His sudden 21 point & 9 rebound performance in 32 minutes against Blackwater came right after just a 4 minute stint against the San Miguel Beer, wherein he only tallied 2 points without any other contribution. This is clearly a player who is ready to play and gives his 100% effort at any given time in the season. I’m not even sure why he doesn’t get enough playing time, considering he has the second highest PER on the team at 23.5. This is only a little less than Pettigrew’s 23.8, and higher than Castro’s 21.8, so the Tropang Texters might consider managing his minutes better in the games to come.
FACT: Talk N’ Text has not lost a game this conference when MGR plays at least two full quarters (24mins) for them!
|Ganuelas-Rosser||Avg Minutes||Avg Points||Total FGs||Avg Rebounds|
5 TNT losses
4 TNT wins
In addition to all this, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser is one of the players on that Talk N’ Text roster that helps them balance their weakness on the inside. He’s averaging 1.3 blocks per game this conference, and he’s a slasher that takes majority of his shots inside the paint (around 75% according to HB Stats shot distribution). Give MGR some more playing time!