Expect the Phenom to Redeem Himself after Horrible Loss to Phoenix

Basketball is all about consistency and effort. If you exert a big amount of effort on improving your game to become a more consistent player on both sides of the game, you will be a big hit in the game regardless of your height or what position you are playing. 
However, all basketball players, regardless of how talented he is, are prone to having bad nights especially if they are known as elite scorers. And recently, Kiefer Ravena just experienced one of his worst games in his young career.
After leading the NLEX Road Warriors to 2 consecutive victories to open the PBA Philippine Cup, Kiefer Ravena was sent back crashing to Earth as his Road Warriors absorbed their first defeat of the conference after bowing down to the much-improved Phoenix Fuel Master, 102-95.
To give credit to the Road Warriors, they were actually up, 25-19 after the first quarter but the Fuel Masters outscored their opponents in the next two quarters before holding on to their first win for 2018. Balanced offense enabled the Fuel Masters to win as they had 6 players who scored in double figures, led by Matthew Wright who had 19 points while going 4 for 8 from the three-point line.
Kiefer Ravena had his fair share of the blame as he went 4 for 13 from the field while totaling 8 points after scoring easily during his first 2 PBA games. He did have 7 assists which are his usual numbers this season but one could only give credit to Coach Louie Alas who managed to find a way to shut down the Phenom.

Conclusion 

The good news is: he still got a lot of time to catch for his horrible performance and also got a big game ahead of him against Mark Barroca and the rest of the Magnolia Hotshots this coming Sunday. While having bad games is a norm in basketball, one thing we have seen in Kiefer Ravena even during his decorated stint in the UAAP is that every time he had a horrible game, his next opponent is probably doomed because the Phenom had always come back better.
Prediction: NLEX will win on Sunday.

Phoenix Explodes for 125 Points against Kia

Justin Chua Phoenix PBA
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Justin Chua leads a balanced attack by the Fuel Masters.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters entered the league’s 43rd season with lots of confidence owing to the fact that they have one of the talented young rosters in the PBA today. They have sharpshooter Matthew Wright who is also one of the vital pieces in the national team. They also have JC Intal who can provide the leadership because of his experience and longevity in the league. But most importantly, they have Jason Perkins, a super rookie who can bang his body with some of the elite big men in the league. And, they have a new coach in Louie Alas.
After faltering in their first assignment to open the Philippine Cup, Phoenix bounced back, big time. They overwhelmed the still winless, Kia Picanto, 125-102. And nobody from the Fuel Masters has scored above 15 points. So just imagine the damage if Perkins and company exploded for more. Scary, isn’t it?
What happened in the game? Below are the numbers:

125 Points and a Balanced Attack

Sure, scoring 125 points is big for a team such as Phoenix but the beauty of it is that nobody has to force himself to score more because of the fact that they had 8 guys who scored in double figures:
  • Justin Chua- 15 points
  • Matthew Wright- 15 points
  • JC Intal- 15 points
  • RJ Jazul- 13 points
  • Gelo Alonino- 13 points
  • Jason Perkins- 12 points
  • Doug Kramer- 12 points
  • Joseph Eriobu- 11 points

Firing on All Cylinders

Phoenix shot 55% from the field including a 56% shooting from the three-point line. They had help from everyone as evident by the 72 points that the bench players of Louie Alas have accumulated. While doing that, the Fuel Masters also limited the Picanto to only 44% field goal shooting which included a horrible 34% from rainbow distance. The only area that Kia was able to outperform Phoenix was at the free throw line where Kia shot 95% compared to Phoenix who only made 55% of their free throws.

Rebounds and Second-Chance Points

Rebounds and second-chance points were two departments where the Fuel Masters had dominated all throughout the game. They had a 53-39 edge on the boards, including a 17-9 advantage on the offensive rebounds. That dominance on the offensive rebounds allowed Phoenix to subsequently get 19 second-chance points while Kia could only manage 6 points off their missed opportunities. 

Conclusion

Now that Phoenix has rebounded from their opening day defeat, this will help in terms of allowing the team to  build a sense of confidence that yes, despite being a young team with a new coach, they can play against the elite teams in the league and yes, they can beat teams at any given day. 
For Kia, they have fallen to 0-2. However, the conference is still in its early stage and they can definitely get better. They just need to act quickly.