What we learned from Ginebra’s semis game three win over Star

PBA - Ginebra vs Star Hotshots - February 13, 2017 - PRT - 4

Ginebra 73 – Star 62

Finally, Ginebra is up on the board.

There was no way it would have been a sweep. It was even a little surprising that Star won the first two games. I mean, we all though they would split those, right?

Anyway, the series is 2-1. After a long, very low-scoring battle, the Barangay finally managed to end Star’s eight-game winning streak.

Here are some takeaways from last night’s game:

  • Mark Caguioa can still live up to his ‘The Spark’ monicker

Caguioa did not play a single minute in the first half. He was deployed by Coach Tim Cone somewhere in the third quarter. It was a time when Star was right up on Ginebra’s grill. What did Mark do upon checking in? He hit a couple of buckets, made a couple of stops, even grabbed a rebound. All within a couple of minutes of checking in.

It didn’t ignite a huge run. It didn’t allow Ginebra to pull away. But those plays from Mark Caguioa certainly produced positive effects for Ginebra. They got the crowd going. They allowed the Barangay to halt Star’s momentum.

That’s the beauty of having a Mark Caguioa on your squad.

PBA - Ginebra vs Star Hotshots - February 13, 2017 - PRT - 2

  • Sol Mercado should still be considered one of the best point guards in the league

Gone are the days when Sol would lead the league in points and assists. There’s a new guy – this Terrence Romeo dude – who does that now. Gone are the days when Sol would easily score in the 20s or 30s. But when called upon, Sol Mercado delivers.

Last night, Sol became the difference maker. Not only did he top-score for the Barangay, he also hit timely three’s that silenced the Hotshots in the fourth period.

Sol was beyond steady. He finished with 16 points, six assists, two steals and a block. Not bad, right? He did shoot a subpar 6-for-14 from the field. But those big three’s down the stretch made all the misses forgivable.

PBA - Ginebra vs Star Hotshots - February 13, 2017 - PRT - 3

  • Japeth Aguilar can and should develop a three-point shot

Somewhere in between those two Sol Mercado three’s was a Japeth Aguilar trey bomb. He was left wide open on the left wing. With little hesitation, Japeth uncorked one and swished it.

Imagine if he can hit that shot consistently. Imagine if Japeth can both fly high above the rim and stroke it from afar. Dude, that would be one scary ball player. That would be an incredible weapon, not only for Ginebra but also for Gilas.

I think I’d like to see more of that. I think Japeth should really work on that three-pointer.

Hey. If Raymond Almazan is allowed to shoot those, so should Japeth Aguilar.

  • Marc Pingris and Rafi Reavis are rebounding gods

The only real reason why Star was able to stay with Ginebra until the fourth quarter was the hard work of Ping and Rafi on the boards. Seriously. If they didn’t grab as many offensive rebounds as they did, it would have been a horribly lopsided win for Ginebra.

The two combined for 17 offensive rebounds. Star had 27 second-chance points as a team. Imagine how many possessions and potential buckets they kept alive just between the two of them.

Rafi and Ping deserve an award – a jacket or something – for the effort they put in glass cleaning.

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  • No buckets, no win

Star did get a bunch of second-chance opportunities. But while there were able to capitalize on a lot of them, it also meant they missed a lot of shots. They shot 29 percent the entire game. Check out the field goal clips from some of their scorers:

Paul Lee – 3/13
Allein Maliksi – 2/13
Mark Barroca – 3/10
Jio Jalalon – 3/8
PJ Simon – 2/8
Aldrech Ramos – 0/5

When that many players experience off-nights on the same date, it can get very, very, very difficult to win.

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