How Ginebra Won Game 1: The Numbers
Glen Rice Jr. had to bleed for his points during the entire game (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If anything, their defense both in their lone quarterfinal game against then Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen and again in Game 1 against the Talk N Text KaTropa got the job done for the defending champions, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings who took Game 1 by disorienting the offense of the KaTropa on a 121-94 victory to start their best-of-5 semifinal series. While defense was Tim Cone's main weapon against a TNT that has a Jayson Castro who can score at will given the opportunity, there were other things that Gin Kings did right and efficiently which inched them 2 more wins of another Finals appearance.
The bench players of Ginebra provided the needed reinforcement in last night's victory as they combined for 54 points, outscoring their TNT counterparts who only scored 30 points. Greg Slaughter continued to prove that he is still a vital part of the Gin Kings' core as he led the bench of Ginebra with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 BLOCKS, providing an effective performance on both sides of the court. Mark "The Spark" Caguioa provided the spark in the 4th quarter as he scored 13 points in only 12 minutes of action while Jervy Cruz was able to regain his shooting touch as he added 10 points on an effective 5 of 7 field goal shooting.
The production of the bench players enabled Tim Cone to limit the minutes of his starters with the lone exception of LA Tenorio who logged in 32 minutes in the game. Justin Brownlee didn't even need to score more as he totaled 21 points, 8 boards and 5 dimes to lead the Gin Kings. The bench players' production also enabled the Gin Kings to confuse the defenders of the KaTropa as almost every player that Tim Cone fielded contributed in other ways and not just by scoring.
That was the total number of turnovers that Ginebra was able to force on the KaTropa. In fact, those turnovers by Nash Racela's wards are one of the many reasons why Castro and company weren't a serious threat against the Gin Kings in the game as Ginebra was able to take advantage of the mistakes of TNT to score 23 points off those turnovers. Jayson Castro, known as a point guard with steady hands, turned the ball over 6 times while Glen Rice Jr. committed 7 of those 22 turnovers. If TNT doesn't want an early vacation, they will need to take good care of the ball, make extra smart decisions when they have the possession.
Otherwise, the Gin Kings will pound in on those costly turnovers.
If you want to see the effectiveness of Ginebra's defense last night, just take a look at the field goal shooting of KaTropa import, Glen Rice Jr. Of his 20 shot attempts, he missed 12 of those attempts including 4 of his 5 attempts from rainbow country. In effect, Rice Jr.'s struggles to score made life miserable for TNT throughout the entire as the defense of Ginebra also shut down the rest of the KaTropa's starters Aside from their import, Roger Pogoy was miserably struggling too, missing 9 of his 13 attempts to score 12 points.