By the Numbers: Three BIG Things that Made Ginebra Champions Anew

Just what went well for the Gin Kings in last night’s Game 7?

LA Tenorio

Tinyente bagged another Finals MVP award as he led Ginebra to another title. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

As the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup trophy was finally into the air inside the Philippine Arena, as the confetti rained down the court, as the crowd mobbed the winning team, Tim Cone and the rest of the back-to-back champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings finally released a sigh of relief. 
After all, they saw the Meralco Bolts cut down a double-digit lead to just 4 points with just under a minute to play in the 4th quarter. Fortunately, time was on the side of the Gin Kings as they held on to win Game 7 with a 101-96 decision in front of a mostly pro-Ginebra 54,000+ crowd that watched the rubber match. 
Now, let’s check out the numbers that enabled Ginebra to win it all, finally:

Tinyete’s 26 Points= Another Finals MVP Award

If there was one specific player who deserved all of the praises, it’s none other than one of the smallest guys from either team, Lewis Alfred Tenorio. His 26 points, built on 4 long range bombs, 4 assists and 2 steals in 41 minutes of action gained him another Finals MVP award to add to his already full resume. 
Mind you, folks, this guy was playing all conference long with an injured arm but decided to wait until the end of the season to undergo a needed surgery. 
Now that the season has ended with Ginebra being the champs, again, Tinyente’s sacrifices were all worth it. That, folks, is the living example of Ginebra’s NEVER SAY DIE attitude and whether you like him or not, Tenorio deserves a drop of your respect. 

50% Field Goal Shooting: The Less. The Better

Sometimes, you don’t need to shoot more to win a basketball game, especially in a championship game. The Meralco Bolts took 84 SHOTS in Game 7 and they only made 35 of them. In contrast, Ginebra only took 77 shots and yet they made 39 of them, a 50% field goal shooting. Efficient, isn’t it? They also better at the 2-point area (53%) and from long distance (43%). Now that’s how you win a championship. By hitting your target instead of missing them, horribly. 

55 Points for Ginebra’s Giants

As mentioned by this basketball pundit on wheels during the entire series, one of Ginebra’s main strength against the smaller Bolts is their height. And if you watched Game 7 last night, then you saw how the bigs of Ginebra continuously pounded on the inside while Justin Brownlee sniped from the outside.
The result: Brownlee, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and Joe Devance went on to combine for 55 points- 23 from Brownlee alone. 
That’s a big difference compared to the output of Meralco’s bigs who got 26 points from Allen Durham and only 7 from Reynel Hugnatan. Now that’s dominance.


Meralco may have lost, again but that doesn’t make them any weaker. No. It’s just that they’ve lost to a better team, again. They’ve lost to a hungrier, bigger and more talented team in Ginebra. That’s the reason why the Gin Kings are kings again.

By the Numbers: Aggressiveness and Free Throws: Does Nash Racela Have a Point?

Who was the more aggressive team, really?

TNT Coach Nash Racela was left puzzled with the huge disparity in the free throws. 
The Talk N Text KaTropa were sent packing for an early vacation after they dropped their semifinal series against the crowd favorite, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings after Ginebra pounded on the ejection of TNT’s import, Glen Rice Jr., en route to a 115-105 Game 4 victory for Tim Cone and the rest of the defending champions which sealed another Finals rematch with the Meralco Bolts. 
But, if you were watching the entire series as this basketball pundit did, then you witnessed how heated and tensed the entire series was especially in the last two games which were both won by the Gin Kings.
If the players were tensed, if the fans were tensed, so were both head tacticians, particularly Nash Racela. In fact, during the halftime break of Game 3, he had to be pulled away from Ginebra Governor Alfrancis Chua after both gentlemen nearly came to land blows as both engaged in a verbal fistfight. Fortunately, no fines were handed down and no one was hurt. 
But even after that, Alfrancis Chua, the ever passionate Alfrancis Chua took things to Twitter, fired a series of tweets which were obviously for the TNT coach even without mentioning the former’s name. Nash Racela for his part, begged off to be dragged from this attack from Chua, saying it was up to PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa to comment about the tweets of the Ginebra governor.
So what was the point of all these? The answer to that is simple. Nash Racela, the ever-sarcastic Nash Racela first questioned Tim Cone in saying that the main reason why Ginebra was awarded 43 free throws in Game 3 was that Ginebra was the “more aggressive” team in terms of attacking the basket.
Okay. So let’s check the number for the entire series to see who was telling the truth:

Game 1: 121-94 win by Ginebra

Game 1 saw a dominant Ginebra team which frustrated the KaTropa by shutting down Glen Rice Jr., who missed 12 of his 20 attempts which rippled to the struggles of the rest of the team. Now, aside from shutting down the import of their opponents, the one thing Ginebra did in the series opener was shooting better in the 2-point area. In fact, the Gin Kings attempted 68 shots in the 2-point area while making 40. Free throw shooting also favored the Gin Kings as they went to the line, 32 times while making 23 charities. 
In this case, Tim Cone was right because TNT, as a team, only attempted 59 shots from the 2-point area and they only made 26 of those 59 attempts, a 44% field goal shooting. TNT was only awarded 25 free throws which the KaTropa converted 18 from the 25 giveaways. 

Game 2: 103-96 win by Talk N Text

Now, Game 2 was a little more different than Game 1. The 2-point field goal shooting of TNT was at 30 out of 53 which was good for 56%. On the other side of the fence, Ginebra fired 59 attempts from the inside of the three-point area and made 32 of those attempts which resulted in a 56% field goal shooting.

If you will ask this basketball pundit, Ginebra was the “more aggressive” team in this particular game because of the fact that they shot more and made from the two-point area, especially in the shaded area. In terms of free throw shooting, 35 free throws were awarded to TNT and only 19 for Ginebra and that was something that Tim Cone didn’t whine about until Nash Racela went sarcastic after Game 3.

Game 3: 106-103 win by Ginebra

If you’ve watched Game 3, then you know that this game was when things began to break apart especially for the KaTropa. Why? Here’s why:
Even though both teams made 29 field goals from the 2-point area and both Ginebra and TNT shot 45% and 47% respectively from that area, it was the huge disparity in the number of free throws that heated things up. Just how wide the disparity was? 43-14 in favor of the Gin Kings. Ginebra was awarded 43 free throws and made 30 of them. In fact, 27 of those attempts were awarded in the first half which had Nash Racela scratching his head. In contrast, Racela’s boys made 12 of 14 free throws for the entire Game 3. No wonder why he was being sarcastic after that. 

Game 4: 115-105 win by Ginebra

As mentioned above, the Gin Kings were able to book their return trip to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals after beating an all-Filipino TNT crew. To accomplish this, however, the Gin Kings needed 46 points from Justin Brownlee. 
But what was more interesting in this specific game was the disparity again, in the number of 2-point baskets, both attempted and made. TNT fired 63 shots from that are and the made 30. In contrast, Ginebra made 28 of their 47 2-point field goals. You cannot really blame Nash Racela for questioning aggressiveness of Ginebra if we are to look at the field goal shooting of both squads. 


Maybe Tim Cone was right for Game 2. Maybe Nash Racela had the right to be sarcastic about the outcome of Game 3 and, the series in general. But the basic rule in basketball: if you constantly attack the shaded area, you can score easy baskets and fish fouls from defenders. 
Maybe both squads were indeed aggressive from their own perspective. 
Or maybe, one team wasn’t lucky enough.  

By the Numbers: 3 Things that May Help Meralco in the Finals

Come the much-awaited Finals rematch, the Bolts can use these to their advantage

The Bolts have been preparing for this rematch since losing to Ginebra in last year’s Finals (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

While the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings needed a Game 4 victory which was tremendously heated and was mired with fouls and big disparity in the free throws awarded, the Meralco Bolts, last year’s runner-up to the Governors’ Cup champions, the Gin Kings themselves, have swept through the first two games of their semifinal series against the Star Hotshots and barely holding onto the win in Game 3 to sweep the series and book a second consecutive Governors’ Cup Finals appearance. 
Now, everyone has been expecting that both teams will meet again come the Finals not minding the fact that Ginebra even faced then Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen back in the quarterfinals. That match-up, of course, was won by the Gin Kings.
Since Justin Brownlee nailed that painful three-pointer at the end of Game 6 of last year’s Finals to give the Gin Kings its first championship in 8 years, revenge has been at the back of the minds of the players of Norman Black. They were out-lasted, out-muscled, and even out-coached by one of the greatest and winningest coaches in the history of the PBA in Tim Cone. 
Since then, the Bolts have improved in many ways. For starters, they ended the elimination rounds being the top-seeded team entering the quarterfinals. Then, they beat the Blackwater Elite by leaning on their experience. And, import Allen Durham has produced great numbers these days and we can expect more from him when he battles against Brownlee starting with Game 1 on Friday.

The 3 Major Things that Meralco may Use against the Gin Kings:

Allen Durham’s Numbers

If there’s one player who deserves to be praised for leading the Bolts back to the Finals anew, it’s definitely Allen Durham, the leading candidate for the Best Import award this conference. Why?  Here below are the reasons why he is first and foremost, on track to win back-to-back Best Import awards:
  1. Through 11 games of the elimination round, Durham has averaged 27 points, a league-leading 19 rebounds and another league league-leading 7 assists. In addition to this, he had a near triple-double in their game against the Gin Kings during the elimination round which the Bolts won, of course. He scored 30 points, grabbed 24 rebounds and dishing 9 assists. 
  2. During the semifinal series against the Star Hotshots, Durham was completely an unstoppable beast on both ends of the court as highlighted by his performance in Game 3 which saw him produce 24 points, 19 boards and 6 dimes. Big time player producing big-time numbers on a big-time stage. That’s exactly the kind of player who is poised to win another Best Import award. 

Ginebra’s Turnovers

Okay. Meralco has been turning the ball over too, as highlighted by their 20 turnovers in Game 3 victory over Star. But what enabled the Bolts to win was the mere fact that the Bolts were the more aggressive team in terms of converting those turnovers into points. 
The result: 18 points off turnovers for the Bolts. Now, against a Ginebra team who had 18 turnovers per game in their semifinal series against the Talk N Text KaTropa, the Bolts should be able to continuously pound on the mistakes made by Ginebra ball handlers come Friday because that is what they do best. Every time they successfully force a turnover, they run on the break for easy scores. If you’re Tim Cone, you’d surely want the turnover numbers as low as possible because not even Justin Brownlee’s 46 points can save them if they have more turnovers. 

Meralco’s Bench Production

Looking back to last year’s Finals series between these two squads, Meralco was clearly outplayed despite having Jimmy Alapag in the line-up. One of the main reasons why the Bolts lost the series was the fact that there was no significant reinforcement from the bench players. 
Fast-forward to 2017, the Bolts have reloaded themselves with veteran and proven winner, Ranidel de Ocampo, and young bloods like Mike Tolomia to be the leading bench players. Ranidel de Ocampo for one, has already proven that he is worthy of the trade from his long-time team, Talk N Text, as he delivered with his leadership and also, his ability on clutch situation as highlighted by his performance in Game 3 against Star when he scored 13 points, including the 2-point basket which gave the Bolts a 5-point advantage in the extra period. The Bolts need RDO and his timely baskets if they want revenge against the champs.
Game 1 of the best-of-7 Finals series is 4 days away and for Norman Black and the rest of the title-seeking Bolts, having a longer preparation time means they should be well-prepared for the war that they are about to get involved with. If anything, this will be an exciting championship series between two teams that are proven winners and two coaches who are both known as basketball geniuses.