SLR 96, MBM 101

On: 22 October 2007

PBA Phil CupA game that they could have won, but lost.

Sta. Lucia Realtors did everything right almost the entire ball game against the Magnolia Beverage Masters, but bad breaks and predictability in the last 2 minutes allowed Magnolia to escape with a 101-96 victory.

Without discounting the fact that the Realtors played aggressively in defense against their opponents and displayed more hustle in court (i.e. Dennis Espino diving for the ball), let us take a look at what the numbers in that game last night showed:

Rebound is Mightier than the Score

Nothwithstanding what they say about the frontline of the Realtors, one thing is clear: they have to put more effort in grabbing the rebounds if they want to get out of the trauma of allowing teams to steal two wins in a row now. Against the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, the Realtors can only manage to collar 42 rebounds. Against the Beverage Masters, they improve that slightly and grabbed 45 rebounds. This time though, Kelly Williams tried to assert his might by grabbing 9 rebounds followed by Espino and Ryan Reyes with 7 rebounds each. Marlou Aquino, the tallest Realtor at 6’9”, only managed to average 3.5 rpg in the last two games. Aquino needs to assert his superiority down low and not get shamed by smaller player who comes up behind him and steals the ball in midair, just like what Enrico Villanueva did in one instant last night.

Freethrow Woes

In my last analysis, I emphasized the importance of going back to the basics in shooting freethrows. I was hoping that somewhere along the way, one of the coaching staff of the Realtors would have gone his way and adopt a program to improve one of the very important aspects of the game. Unfortunately, that was not evident last night. Against the Giants, the Realtors shot a measly 66.7 percent from the line. Last night was even worse, 61.4 percent. What is frustrating is that two of those misses came from Espino, who was one of the team’s high percentage shooter from the line in the past seasons, in the most pivotal part of the game – the last 2 minutes and they led by only a point. If the Giants and the Beverage Masters can average more than 80 percent from the line, there is no reason why the Realtors would fail miserably in this area, especially if there are nobody there to contest your shot.

Shuffle, Shuffle and Reshuffle

It is just normal for coaches to shuffle players continually in a game until the right combination is achieved. It was obvious last night that the right combination for the Realtors was Espino, Aquino, Reyes, Joseph Yeo and Paolo Mendoza. All five players showed amazing hustle and grit which made them play brilliantly. The heads’up play of the five started to fall apart in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter when Aquino and Reyes were taken out of the game for a rest. Their relievers, Williams and Dennis Miranda were struggling that quarter and made some serious blunders. Even if Reyes was put back in the game, the momentum was already beginning to shift in favor of the Beverage Masters. It because apparent that the game will be close from that point on and the Realtors still has a good chance of salvaging a win until that two miss freethrows by Espino.

The Unmaking of Mamaclay

Is Melvin Mamaclay still part of the rotation after showing a lot of promise in the pre-season games? The 13th pick of the Realtors in the last draft seems to have warmed the bench longer than anybody expected after averaging in double figures in the 4 games he played in the pre-season tourney. With Norman Gonzalez unable to put decent numbers and getting outplayed by Danny Seigle in both ends of the court, Mamaclay could have been given chance to show his worth.

What to Expect Next?

In last night’s game against the Beverage Master, the Realtors a showed some notable improvements. The most obvious is that their field goal percentage increased from 37.5 percent to 41.3 percent. This can be attributed to the fact that their ball movement seems to have more fluidity this time with Yeo and Williams anchoring their fastbreak offense. However, unless the Realtor’s woeful freethrow percentage, rebounding and turnovers are not contained, this could well be a prelude to a finish that will allow the team to hire two imports in the next Conference.

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