After a very disappointing loss to Barako Bull last Tuesday, June 10, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters look to bounce back in a big way against the team that took the championship from them last conference, the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers. For sure, the sting of losing in the Finals against the Mixers is still going to be on the minds of the Tropang Texters heading into this game, but the more pressing matter they have to focus on is the poor performance they showed against Barako Bull.

Let’s be honest, although majority of the PBA fans expected Talk ‘N Text to win, they were simply out-played by a hungrier Barako Bull team. Perhaps it was a case of fatigue and stress finally catching up to the Tropang Texters, that caused them to play poorly. Or maybe Barako Bull was just the hungrier team because they needed this win to ensure their spot in the Quarter Finals. Whatever the reason may be, for sure there are some aspects of the game that Talk ‘N Text needs to work on to make sure they get the win this time around.

It’s All About BUCKETS

Talk ‘N Text and Barako Bull are two of the better offensive squads in the league, which is why it was surprising to me that their last game was relatively low scoring (just 162 points between the two teams). The game wasn’t pretty to watch either, as both teams shot the ball poorly, and played mostly in their half-court setups (only 11 fastbreak attempts for both teams combined).

Talk 'N Text 16 43 37.2% 8 31 25.8% 24 74 32.4% 18 23 78.3%
Barako Bull 22 55 45.5% 8 23 34.8% 33 78 42.3% 14 22 63.6%

Besides these numbers, Talk ‘N Text also had only 9 fastbreak points, 4 second-chance points, and 6 points off of turnovers, which shows us that “easy points” were hard to come by for them in this game. Obviously, they need to shoot the ball better than that to get a win against San Mig Coffee, a team that plays excellent defense. Getting easy points from fastbreaks, offensive rebounds, and opponent’s turnovers would also definitely help.

Make It One-And-Done

Durham had 9 offensive rebounds and 29 rebounds in total against Talk 'N Text (PHOTO CREDIT: PBA IMAGES)

Durham had 9 offensive rebounds and 29 rebounds in total against Talk ‘N Text (PHOTO CREDIT: PBA IMAGES)

Talk ‘N Text didn’t just struggle offensively, but defensively as well, especially with rebounding the basketball. They allowed Barako Bull to grab 18 offensive rebounds, and 59 rebounds in total, while they themselves only managed 41 rebounds (10 of those offensive) for the entire game. Those 18 offensive rebounds also lead to Barako Bull scoring 14 second-chance points on them. A big part of Barako Bull’s rebounding advantage is their new import Allen Durham, who had half of their offensive rebounds and 29 of their 59 total rebounds for the game.

In truth, this has consistently been a weaknesses of the Tropang Texters throughout the 2014 Governor’s Cup so far. Through 6 games (does not include the Barako Bull game) they have averaged only 44.5 total rebounds per game (34.8 of those defensive), while allowing their opponents to average 49.0 total rebounds per game (15.0 of those offensive). They are also giving up 13.3 second-chance points per game, while averaging only 5.7 second-chance points for themselves. The difference between their offensive rebound rate and their opponent’s is -8.0 percent for the 6 games, which is well below what they averaged as a team in the Philippine Cup (+3.1 percent) and the Commissioner’s Cup (+4.0 percent) this season. They have to address whatever it is that is causing their rebounding problems, or else guys like Marc Pingris and Marqus Blakely, are going to be in for some big rebounding numbers in this game.

Calling For Backup

It was already mentioned earlier how Talk ‘N Text struggled to score in their last game against Barako Bull, and a big part of that struggle was the lack of contribution from their supporting cast. The bulk of the offense admittedly goes through Paul Harris, Jayson Castro, and Ranidel De Ocampo, but that doesn’t mean that they are they only 3 players who are expected to score points.

Jimmy Alapag 10.5 PPG on 6.2 FGA 2 PTS on 3 FGA
Larry Fonacier 7.8 PPG on 7.3 FGA 0 PTS on 3 FGA
Kelly Williams 7.5 PPG on 7.3 FGA 2 PTS on 2 FGA
Niño Canaleta 5.6 PPG on 4.4 FGA 3 PTS on 3 FGA

Most likely it will again be Harris, Castro, and De Ocampo being checked on offense, so other Tropang Texters will have to share the load to remove some of the pressure of off them. The guys around them have to at the very least take the shots that they’re given, because 2 or 3 field goal attempts definitely won’t make the defense commit to you. Plus San Mig Coffee, like Talk ‘N Text, has a very good supporting cast, and I think the bench that plays better in this game will have a big impact in determining the outcome.