Just how good the Gin Kings were last night?
At one point, there were three Ginebra players bothering MVP candidate Fajardo. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
While there's no denying the fact that the San Miguel Beermen, a team whose Grand Slam aspiration was crushed to the final piece last night, is still among the elite teams in the league thanks to having the best starting unit that was ever assembled, they had no concrete answer to the way the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings played against them last night and as a result, a 104-84 victory by the Gin Kings which booked their slot into the semifinals.
While many were shocked by the fact that the Beermen struggled offensively during the entire game, many were also quick to admit that Tim Cone's defensive schemes especially against June Mar Fajardo, worked to perfection as Ginebra successfully limited the offensive output of the Kraken by occasionally throwing in two defenders against the big man who was forced to take difficult shots that were either blocked or miserably missed the basket. And it didn't stop there. Even the snipers of Coach Leo Austria had a miserable shooting night which was one of the main reasons why they were blown out in the first place.
As good as the win was for Ginebra, let's take a look at some numbers and see how these numbers contributed to Ginebra's victory:
8 Offensive Rebounds
This was probably was of the amazing numbers that were produced last night. This, folks, was Scottie Thompson's total number of offensive rebounds. Let this basketball pundit emphasize it again: Scottie Thompson, a guy who is only 6'1'' in height, had 8 OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS and 13 in total. He was the leading rebounder last night. Even though his shots weren't falling, he managed to find other ways to be effective and out-rebounding the big men of the Beermen allowed Thompson to pass the ball to his teammates for another scoring opportunity. Sure, Fajardo grabbed 9 offensive rebounds but watching Thompson grabbed those 8 offensive rebounds with the big men of San Miguel around him, this guy has the "Never Say Die" mantra printed in his very soul.
9 Points in the Second Quarter for SMB
This was the total points that San Miguel scored in the whole second quarter, a far cry to Ginebra's 22 points. To begin with, the score was actually tied at 23 apiece to start the quarter and that was when Ginebra's defense started to bother Fajardo and company. In fact, the Beermen were held scoreless for almost 5 minutes as San Miguel's shots were clanking or rattling out of the basket thanks to the consistency and the willingness of the Ginebra players to contest shots, even those shots that the Beermen usually make. In addition to this, that scoring drought that was endured by the Beermen allowed the Gin Kings to go on an 8-0 run which allowed them to pull away, for good.
22 Points Bench Productions
Ginebra bench players stepped up and produced 22 points during the entire game which proved essential against a San Miguel team that is known as a team who relies heavily on their starting unit. 13 of those 22 points came from the gentle giant, Greg Slaughter who also got the assignment of trying to stop his fellow Cebuano, Fajardo. Sol Mercado also came off the bench to produce the same number of points as of the entire bench of San Miguel, at 9 points.
This was the number of assists that Ginebra generated in last night's victory. As a result, the Gin Kings were able to make most of their scoring opportunities as they made 49% of their field goal attempts, most of them were inside shots such as dunks and lay-ups off crafty passes from Ginebra playmakers. Tinyente LA Tenorio had 10 of those 25 assists, two more than the combined number of assists of San Miguel's Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross.
Game Recap Link: Ginebra vs SMB 2017 PBA Governors Cup QF