Friday, January 14, 2011

San Miguel, TNT on the verge...

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Some thoughts for today's double-header:

  • San Miguel's strength is its predictability. You know Jay Washington will perform. I know Alex Cabagnot is still Barangay Ginebra's Public Enemy #1 (especially with just 15 seconds remaining in the game), but the real thorn on Ginebra's side has been Washington. He's really the 2010-2011 version of Danny Seigle - understand that players are stronger, bigger now compared to Danny's counterparts back in the day. Washington is a wing-guy trapped in a power forward's body. And throughout this conference, Ginebra is still looking for a solution to the Washington Dilemma.
  • You also know Cabagnot will have the ball in his hands if the game goes down the wire. And good things happen when Cabagnot has the ball in his hands. Still remember the in-and-out-dribble-move he did against Jayjay Helterbrand in Game 4? Remember his clutch assist to Danny Ildefonso?
  • And San Miguel will be extra-motivated to win the game and clinch the series for Team Captain Olsen Racela. By tonight, Racela moves up to 4th all-time for most games played in the PBA.
  • Ginebra, on the other hand, is out to surprise. Every Ginebra game in the Semis, after all, has been some sort of McDo Happy Meal-- we wait for the surprise performance. Who will it be tonight? Miller? Caguioa? Tubid? Menk?
  • If Menk is healthy enough to post-up, he can change the pace of the game. He can also force San Miguel to defend differently. Because up to this point, San Miguel's defense is content watching Rudy Hatfield fire three-pointers. A post-up threat and perhaps the sudden emergence of JC Intal might be the extra boost Ginebra needs.
  • Ginebra's problem: Dondon Hontiveros and Arwind Santos don't need to be spectacular. If Washington and Cabagnot do their thing, all Dondon and Arwind need to be is -- steady.
  • Ginebra's solution: If there's one team built for do-or-die games, it's Ginebra.
  • In the meantime, can someone check if Jason Castro is officially listed as a Guard. In Game 5, Castro scored all of his 22 points in the shaded lane -- against Pingris, Maierhofer, Gaco and Salvador. How did he do that??? He also had 8 rebounds. Hanep - 22 points and 8 rebounds. Yan ang power-guard.
  • Jimmy Alapag had a modest 8 points but he tallied 11 assists. TNT knows Jimmy can score but they'd rather watch Jimmy moving that ball around, getting everyone involved as opposed to watching Jimmy's game completely possessed by the spirit of Mac Cardona.
  • And when the ball zips around, that's how Castro receives the ball under the basket, that's how lanes open up, that's how Larry Fonacier gets open looks, that's how Ali Peek flexes his muscle inside.
  • Kelly Williams, thanks to early foul trouble, had a forgettable Game 5. Don't expect him to have back-to-back bad games.
  • B-Meg Derby Ace is an energy team. It thrives on impact plays. James Yap will get his points. That's what MVP's do. But B-Meg goes high-octane when guys like Peter June Simon and Rico Maierhofer make big plays. If B-Meg's positive energy is contagious, so is the sometimes flat level of play.
  • Good News for B-Meg: Nino Canaleta is finally back on track. I think they decided to fine him PHP 800,000.00 for every ill-advised three-pointer he'll take in the final 3 minutes - so he'll be okay. Jonas Villanueva also found his offense (10 points in the first quarter of Game 5).
  • Bad News for B-Meg: Due to Castro's huge performance in Game 5, there will be less pressure on Alapag to score in Game 6. Thus, Alapag will have every reason to run the team, pass the ball and give everyone a chance to score. And a more generous Alapag makes TNT a more dangerous team. MH

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