The 2019 PBA All-Filipino Cup has already witnessed a fair amount of games in which we saw some surprises and disappointments so far.
As teams try to vie for playoff spots, it is imperative that they keep on doing the things they’ve been doing well while brushing up on certain areas needed for improvement.
In this conference so far, teams like Ginebra, Blackwater, NLEX, Meralco, Northport, and Magnolia are occupying the bottom half of the standings.
Today, FOX Sports Philippines takes a look at some points of improvement for these teams.
Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings
Low scoring affairs have became a norm for the Gin Kings as they’ve only allowed their opponents to score only 86.2 points per game so far in this conference. While their defense has been superb, the same can’t be said on offense as they’re second to the last in team points at a paltry 86.8 points per game while being last in three-point shooting at only 29-percent per game.
Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, and Scottie Thompson have carried much of Ginebra’s offensive cudgels as they tallied norms of 18.0, 15.8, and 11.7 points, respectively. However, veterans in LA Tenorio, Joe DeVance, and Jeff Chan have struggled so far in that regard as they only notched 9.5, 6.3, and 1.3 markers per game. Consistency and health are some of the main concerns for the Tim Cone-mentored ballclub and they might have to draw out additional production from young guns in Aljon Mariano, Kevin Ferrer, and Teytey Teodoro.
Coming into the season with multiple roster changes, the Elite has been struggling mightily so far in the All-Filipino Cup. Majority of their losses are blowouts as Blackwater has posted an average of -14.0 points per game in those.
Since Erram’s departure, it looks like the Elite has had a gaping hole in the interior as they are third to the last in defensive rebounds per game (31.8) and second to the last in blocks per game (2.4). However, they have five players who are tallying double-digit scoring averages in Allein Maliksi (16.5), Mike DiGregorio (11.8), Abu Tratter (11.5), Roi Sumang (11.0), and Mac Belo (10.3).
Perhaps Rabeh Al-Hussaini’s return could help on that regard given his size and heft, but it will take some time for the Elite to ease him back in the roster.
NLEX Road Warriors
From Kevin Alas’ re-injury to lackluster performances from their guards, it is understandable as to why head coach Yeng Guiao may be looking elsewhere for additional production down the stretch. The Road Warriors have failed to close out tight games in this conference as their average losing margin is only -3.2 in their four losses so far.
Poy Erram, JR Quinahan, and Bong Galanza have been the bright spots for NLEX with scoring norms of 15.7, 14.0, and 10.8, respectively. But besides the aforementioned players, inconsistency continues to haunt the MVP-backed squad.
It’s still evident that Meralco is offensively challenged in the All-Filipino Cup as they’ve never reached the century mark so far seven games in. The Bolts are third to the last in transition scoring at 9.6 points per game and second to the last in overall field goal percentage at a putrid 39-percent.
The Bolts continue to rely on Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, and Ranidel de Ocampo in scoring, with averages of 14.4, 12.3, and 10.0, respectively. Nico Salva has been a surprising asset for the Norman Black-mentored club with his much improved play, scoring 8.9 points per game. But other than that, head coach Norman Black would have to draw out more production from their vets in Jared Dillinger and Cliff Hodge, and their rookies in Bong Quinto and Trevis Jackson.
Northport Batang Pier
After a sizzling start to this conference, it’s unfortunate that the Northport Batang Pier succumbed to a three-game losing streak.
Four players have stepped up to the plate for the Batang Pier, as Stanley Pringle, Sean Anthony, Mo Tautuaa, and Robert Bolick have tallied point averages of 22.5, 20.4, 18.0, and 12.4 so far. The Mikee Romero-supported team is second overall in field goal percentage (45%), and first overall in two-point field goal percentage (50%). While scoring has never been a problem with Northport, they have allowed their counterparts to notch a point average of 99.2 points per game.
Shooting has been a continuous conundrum for the Hotshots as they are dead last in free throw percentage (63%), two-point field goal percentage (42%), and overall field goal percentage (38%). To their credit though, Magnolia has only allowed one opponent to score more than 90 points so far this tourney.
Old reliables in Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca provided decent offensive production with scoring norms of 14.4, 11.4, 11.0, and 10.4, respectively. What’s startling though is that none of them has shot above 40-percent overall from the field. The Hotshots would need to brush up on their shooting or maybe head coach Chito Victolero would have to find more ways to get better looks for his wards.
(Images from PBA)