WHAT THIS GAME MEANS
After this game, it’s either the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers end up with a shocking 2-0 lead over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel or the latter ties the series as many should expect.
But the Mixers have busted our expectations all conference long. When they started 0-6 while nursing all their injuries, we thought that this team was done and they won’t meet our quarters-to-semis expectations for them. That’s when they started getting healthy enough to rack up wins and finish strong to climb up to the fifth seed.
Now, with all the pieces in place, with a more balanced attack, and with a key piece discovered (Justin Melton), this team may just be reaching its peak as it holds a one-to-nothing lead over Ginebra. Will Tim Cone continue to surprise us with a Game 2 W?
On the other side, people may not notice but Ginebra has been struggling big time. Going into tomorrow’s game, BGSM has lost three of its last four, and they’ve been having a hard time looking for the perfect rhythm on both ends of the floor. That’s definitely awful timing when you consider the red-hot roll SMC has been on. Has Ginebra’s peak been reached? Are they on the way down from that peak? Or will they discover the championship form just in time to tie this series?
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
The Super Coffee Mixers surprisingly had more attempts (24) from the stripe than Ginebra (18) in Game 1. BGSM normally wins that battle because Aguilar and Slaughter get fouled often and the team always enters penalty. That stat only shows that SMC was more aggressive in Game 1 but they were also smart at picking which points to attack. For example, instead of attacking all the way and challenging Aguilar and Slaughter at the rim, SMC’s guards chose to have a field day against BGSM’s big men from mid-range. They also moved the ball crisply, forcing Ginebra’s perimeter defenders to react at every pass before SMC found the best point of attack (not necessarily an open outside shot, they only took 12 three-pointers, but an open enough shot that forced BGSM’s guards to close out hard resulting to an open lane for the attack). That approach consistently resulted to freethrow attempts or open shots.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR
Aguilar wasn’t as aggressive going towards the rim as Ginebra fans were accustomed to. Aguilar only had six freethrow attempts all throughout the game and most of that — if not all — came in the first half. If Ginebra is to tie this series, Aguilar has to take less jumpers and more hard dribbles to the paint.
Photos by Paul Ryan Tan of InterAksyon.com/interAKTV