It was quite a surprise how Game two started. The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers raced to a 13-1 lead early in the 1st and stormed the rest of way to end the quarter with a 19-point advantage, 32-13. As the team being down in the series, I expected TNT to be the aggressors in this game but it just simply didn’t materialize. The Mixers’ solid defense and fluid offense powered their huge start and they never looked back. At some points in the game, the Tropang Texters made runs but were unable to gain enough momentum to take the lead from the Mixers.
Long story short, TNT failed to connect in Gane two. 14% FG percentage in the 1st quarter would probably best explain TNT’s woeful shooting in this game. They finished the game shooting only 35% (29/83) from the field. The Mixers’ signature defense was on display in this game making life miserable for the Tropang Texters. The Mixers tried as much as possible to contain their shooters, closing out on them well and challenging their shots from the outside. TNT managed to attempt 36 three-point shots but only connected 12 of them (33%). Actually, during some parts of the game, the Tropang Texters made a conscious effort of going inside to score easy baskets and fish for some fouls. However, the Mixers’ frontline were just too big and too athletic for TNT as their inside incursions usually resulted into a block or a turnover.
It was a huge win for the Mixers as they moved to within a win away from reaching the Finals once more. They have a chance to do this in Game three. What do they have to do to finish off this series and march on to the Finals once more?
Keys to the Game
In Game two, the defense of San Mig was nothing but stellar. As I’ve said earlier, they were able to close out on shooters and clogged the inside for most of the game. They tallied an impressive 12 blocks and did a really great job defending the interior. They also led in steals, 7-4. If they could replicate what they did in the 1st quarter of game two limiting TNT to under 20 points (13), it will be great for SMC as defense fuels their offense. The Mixers’ defense against the Tropang Texters will be a huge factor in Game three as TNT will be going all out in this game to fight for their lives.
With PJ Simon, James Yap, and now Marc Pingris hurt, it is imperative for the rest of the Mixers to step up their game may it be in offense or in defense. The Mixers must be able to continue getting quality minutes from each and every local for them to have a better chance of closing out in Game 3. In Game 2, it was JDV who led the way for the Mixers’ local crew finishing with 19 points (67% FG), 2 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. What makes SMC a special team is that you’ll never know who will play big for them game in and game out. Who will it be in Game three?
Key Match-up: Mark Barroca vs. Jayson Castro
Again, it will be these two we’ll have to look out for in this game as they are a critical barometer of their respective team’s success. In Game 2, Mark Barroca got the better of Jayson Castro as he tallied 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocked shots. On the other hand, Jayson Castro had a hard time against the Mixers’ defense only able to put up 12 points (29% FG) although was able to grab 5 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Who will have a bigger game in Game 3? Will Jayson Castro carry his team on his back once more and keep the Tropang Texters alive or will Mark Barroca once more lift the Mixers to victory and to the Finals once more?