Kia 71 – Barako 68
There are games we’d love to analyze using a good dose of stats but there are some — like this tightly-contested affair between the Kia Carnival and the Barako Bull Energy — that are defined using the unquantifiables: toughness, grit, effort, all of those things statisticians refuse to endorse.
The Carnival refused to be counted out. Bodies slammed on to the floor. Jason Deutchman’s left eye bled. Hamady N’Diaye suffered a bad fall. Jayare Buensuceso was poked in the eye. Yet the squad showcased an insurmountable amount of grit that enabled them to shock the previously league-leading Energy.
That said toughness reflected in the defensive stats. Kia shut down Barako’s outside shooting by putting a bunch of perimeter defenders on the floor at all times, to complement the import N’Diaye. Joseph Yeo, who is a having a splendid conference, was shackled. He was scoreless in 40 minutes of play, going 0-for-11 from the field including five misses from downtown.
Overall, the Energy shot 3-for-17 from long-range (18 percent) which is way below their 30 percent average. The team was also out-rebounded by a hairline (51-52), and committed 21 turnovers.
As expected, Liam McMorrow and N’Diaye canceled each other out, and it boiled down to the squad that provided better support.
Chico Lanete, RR Garcia, and Carlo Lastimosa did combine for 37 points, but outside of that troika, the big names were held to disappointing numbers. Dylan Ababou was scoreless. JC Intal only had four points and was a -4. On the other hand, Kia listed six players scoring eight points or more.
The 68-point output of the Energy was a season-low, and was a lethargic show for the top offensive team in the league, which averages over a hundred points per outing.
Kia showed that its against-all-odds style of play can in fact work, amidst scrutiny, amidst doubt, and amidst adversity. In the end, it’s what helped them edge Barako in an all-important battle, as they moved over the .500 mark.