Breaking down the numbers that doomed the Elite
Allen Maliksi was a non-factor in last night's game. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
After Allen Maliksi drained that game-winner against the Bolts which forced a do-or-die game, in the minds of the Blackwater fans, the Blackwater Elite already had the momentum coming into last night's game to score another upset win against the league leaders, the Meralco Bolts. That was the case for the Elite in the first half as they took a double-digit lead into the break. From that point on, it was a free-fall for the Elite as the Bolts came back to take the lead in the 4th quarter- a lead from which Blackwater never recovered from.
Now, let's take a look at the important numbers which explained why the Elite missed an opportunity to beat a powerhouse team and book a date against the Star Hotshots in the semifinals:
After torching the Bolts with his 6 three-pointers in the first half, Henry Walker only made 1 in the second half to finish the game with a 7 of 11 shooting from downtown. In addition to this, the Bolts' defense limited Henry to 7 points in the second half after he almost scored easily in the first half with 27 points. Whatever Norman Black yelled about the Bolts' defense during the halftime break, it hit the Bolts and responded well. Result: Walker was contained and that doomed Blackwater.
Blackwater only scored 5 points off their opportunities to run on the break which is by the way, slightly better to the 2 fastbreak points that they had last Tuesday. There were many instances in last night's game where the Elite were able to run on the break only to miss both open and contested lay-ups. Or worse, the Bolts were already back on defense which prevented Blackwater to score quickly.
Allen Maliksi only had 10 points in last night's loss to the Bolts. If anything, last night's game proved one thing: if Maliksi struggles with his offense, Blackwater will struggle and the Bolts' defense made sure of that. In fact, Maliksi missed 8 of his 11 shot attempts and that's a big blow for the Elite.
If anything, the lousy defense of the Elite, especially in the second half, is also one of the things which cost them the game in the first place. Blackwater allowed Baser Amer to torch them and score 31 points, many of them were scored during the decisive 4th quarter run which enabled the Bolts to take the lead for good. Also, 31 was the number of points that the Elite allowed the Bolts to score in the 4th quarter. And one more thing, 31 was also the total number of points that the Bolts' bench players had scored which is a far cry to the Elite's 19 bench points.
While there's no denying the fact that the Bolts had more experience, you can't simply take away anything from Blackwater. With this latest setback, they can only get better because as it is, they're already one of the most exciting teams we have in the league and we can expect more from them come next season and beyond.