#PBA2015: Commish Cup Finals Game 3 Preview

A 17-point lead in the first half and a 44-point explosion from Jayson Castro, which was a career-high for “The Blur”, could not catapult Talk ‘N Text towards a 2-0 lead in the #PBA2015 Commissioner’s Cup Finals. The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters delivered a marvelous team effort that gave them a 116-108 win over TNT and now the series is tied at 1-1. Anyway, here are some ideas for adjustments (or things that they need to continue doing) which both teams can use in preparation 
for Game 3.


Paul Lee and Wayne Chism have been solid for ROS in their first 2 games
(Image from: pba-online.net)

1.      Let everyone play. Coach Yeng used 14 players in Game 2. Only Jonathan Uyloan (might be hurt) received a DNP (did not play). The unpredictability of their lineup makes it harder for TNT to game plan against them. Additionally, players who get some minutes can potentially contribute and they also allow the starters to get some much needed rest. ROS had 46 points coming from their bench while TNT scored just 11 points.
2.       Spread the wealth. In Game 1, only Paul Lee and Wayne Chism scored in double figures. That wasn’t the case in Game 2 since Jeff Chan, Gabe Norwood and Jireh Ibanes chipped in 43 total points. Beau Belga also played a lot better and he even irked Ivan Johnson a little bit. It doesn’t take a genius to observe that ROS wins more games when they have a balanced scoring attack. 
3.       Win the turnover battle. ROS had a lot of turnovers in Game 1 (17 turnovers) and they significantly lessened that to just 9 errors in Game 2. At the same time, TNT committed 16 turnovers which helped ROS score 19 points from TNT’s mistakes. ROS is a better team in transition because they have guys who are not afraid to attack the paint and shoot jumpers early in the shot clock.    
4.       Control the paint. For the second straight game, ROS had a +5 rebounding advantage over TNT. The Elasto Painters also had one more block (4 to 3) and they scored more points in the paint (48-44). Most critics (including me) believe that TNT has the advantage with regards to frontline players but ROS has played with more passion and intensity down in the trenches.  


Can anyone from ROS slow down The Blur?
(Image from: pba-online.net)

1.       Help Jayson Castro. The Blur blitzed his way towards 44 big points including 9 of 14 threes. That was TNT’s point guard doing the heavy lifting and not the import Johnson who had 20 points. Ideally, the point guard should be assisting the others and not scoring all the points. Castro only scored 13 points in Game 1 but TNT won because of a more balanced attack. The problem with Castro handling all the scoring is that the others become passive and get too dependent on him. 

2.       Be more creative offensively. TNT became very predictable in their half-court offensive sets. It was either give the ball to Castro for isolation plays (drive or three-point shot) or dump the ball to RDO for a low-post move. Ivan Johnson became more of an observer instead of being actively part of the game. TNT should try to implement more pick and roll/pick and pop sets with Castro as the ball-handler, use backdoor cuts involving MGR and Johnson, decoy plays to free up Fonacier, etc… 

3.       Expand the rotation. TNT shortened their bench rotation for Game 2. Jay Washington and Harvey Carey received DNPs while Matt Rosser played less minutes compared to Game 1. The result was more minutes for Castro, Johnson, Fonacier and de Ocampo. The extra minutes probably led to fatigue occurring faster and earlier than normal. That was crucial in a high-scoring game that was mostly run and gun. TNT simply did not have enough gas left in the tank to hang with ROS. They were missing shots that they would normally make and jumpers were often short in the 4th quarter.

4.       Where is Ivan? Johnson has been so-so in the two games of the Finals. Sure, he is averaging about 21 points and 12 boards but Wayne Chism is getting over 30 points and just about the same number of rebounds. Johnson needs to negate the impact that Chism brings. In order to do this, Johnson needs to focus more on playing defense instead of jawing and talking trash. Again, one more misstep from him might result in an ejection or suspension.  


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