2016 COMMISH CUP GAME STORY: MAHINDRA ENFORCERS vs RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS - MELEE AT THE MIDDLE

(image from the PBA/Inquirer)

Both MAH and ROS are mired in the middle of the standings with identical 3-3 records. They have, however, arrived at that state from contrasting positions. Whereas MAH has lost back-to-back games after starting the conference 3-1, the Painters have won back-to-back contests after losing three of their first four outings. This melee at the middle should decide who ties GIN at fourth spot, and who joins the mammoth deadlock at 3-4.

MAH had a stirring start to their campaign, beating GLO, SMB, and NLX as they rose to the top with a 3-1 record, but they have since lost to GIN and PHX by an average of 17 points. Just like that, it seems like a turnaround has happened, but not in a good way. In both losses, the Enforcers had fewer assists and shot worse than their foes, so those are two things to address in this match-up with the Painters. One guy who has also struggled is Aldrech Ramos, who was having a great conference before MAH stumbled into its current slump. A win here should put MAH among the top 5 teams in the league again and give them the inside track to a quarterfinal slot heading into their last four games.

ROS, meanwhile, seems to have rediscovered their sharp form. They snapped a three-game losing streak with a big win over NLX and followed that up with a W over SMB. New import Mo Charlo debuted with aplomb in their victory over the Beermen, and that should serve the Painters in good stead as they try to extend their winning run. Coach Yeng Guiao has also seen good contributions from other sources like Chris Tiu, JR Quiñahan, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Jeff Chan, and if those locals can continue to play well, then things should continue to look up for ROS.


1. MAH: PLUGGING THE HOLE
- One of the Enforcers’ main weaknesses has always been the center spot. They drafted Bradwyn Guinto, who has partially addressed that, but having someone like Augustus Gilchrist has really been a godsend. Gilchrist is no PJ Ramos, but his double-double numbers have still been good enough to give MAH a reliable low post presence.

vs PHX: 21pts, 12rebs, 1ast, 2blks, 1 triple, 8/14 FGs
Stats: 21.3ppg, 11.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8bpg, 50.0 3pt%, 51.0 FG%


2. MAH: RAMOS REGRESSING?
- Aldrech Ramos started the conference well when MAH won 3 of 4 games, but he has since slowed down and the Enforcers have suffered, losing back-to-back. When he’s on, Ramos is among the deadliest stretch 4s in the league, but when he struggles with his shot, MAH really has trouble spacing the floor. Needless to say, Ramos’s performance will have a big impact on this game.

First 4 games: 14.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 1.0apg, 2.3 triples per game, 69.2 3pt%, 55.3 FG%
Last 2 games: 7.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 1.5apg, 25.0 3pt%, 43.8 FG%


3. MAH: THROWING THE BALL AWAY
- One big reason MAH lost to PHX in their last outing was because of turnovers. PHX forced MAH to commit 18 turnovers and consequently scored 21 points off these errors by the Enforcers. This effectively stifled MAH’s offensive flow and enabled the Fuel Masters to dictate the pace. That’s something they cannot afford to do here against ROS, which is the third-best team in forcing turnovers.

Turnovers: PHX 10, MAH 18
Revilla - 4 TOs
Dehesa - 3 TOs
Pts off TOs: PHX 21, MAH 4


4. ROS: UNDERSIZED BUT OVERWHELMING
- Despite being relatively undersized compared to the other imports, new ROS import Mo Charlo gave a good account of himself in his first ever PBA game. He showcased his balanced offensive arsenal in their win over SMB, hitting threes, grabbing rebounds, pounding it inside, and dishing assists. Despite giving up a few inches to other frontliners, Charlo seems to have the tools to be a dominant reinforcement for ROS.

Import Comparison:
Mo Charlo - 35.0ppg, 13.04rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0bpg, 6 triples, 75.0 3pt%, 54.5 FG%
Antoine Wright - 19.0ppg, 9.3rpg, 3.7apg, 2.0spg, 2.3 triples per game, 30.4 3pt%, 35.3 FG%


5. ROS: EXTRA RICE, EXTRA GOOD
- JR Quiñahan has always been a serviceable and solid big man for ROS, but this season it seems he has really kicked things up a notch. He is, so far, the best local player for the Painters, and he looks to fit well with Charlo at the frontline. Both of them can mix it up in the paint and can hit from the perimeter, and that should give opposing teams like MAH a lot of things to think about.

Last season: 5.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 1.4apg, 39.7 FG%
This season: 11.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.3apg, 44.4 FG%


6. ROS: BREAKAWAY!
- One reason ROS was able to beat SMB in its last game was because of the Painters’ ability to get on the brea and finish well in transition. ROS had 16 fastbreak points compared to just 7 for the Beermen, and ROS is actually the 3rd best team in terms of scoring in transition. That’s certainly a concern for MAH, which is in the bottom half of the league in terms of defending the fastbreak. If ROS’s guys can breakaway and exploit the transition game, the Painters should be in great shape.

Fastbreak Pts: ROS 16, SMB 7
ROS Fastbreak Pts: 13.5ppg (#3)
MAH Fastbreak Pts Allowed: 11.2 (#9)


7. KEY MATCH-UP: CHRIS TIU X LA REVILLA
- It will be blue vs green in this match-up as Chris Tiu has been solid for ROS at the PG spot, while LA Revilla has alternated with rookie Mike DiGregorio for MAH. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if MAH goes with Revilla in this game, though, as they really need to maxmize their chances at gaining a win. Both are streaky shooters and pretty good playmakers, so it’ll be interesting to see who can actually give his team a lift here.

Tiu last game: 13pts, 2rebs, 4asts, 1stl, 1 triple, 5/9 FGs
Revilla last game: 4pts, 3rebs, 2asts, 2/7 FGs

Tiu stats: 7.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.2apg, 38.5 3pt%, 41.7 FG%
Revilla stats: 10.5ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.7apg, 27.8 3pt%, 43.4 FG%


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