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Back to Basics: 3 Things Ginebra MUST Do in Game 4

To avoid complications. That is.

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Defending Allen Durham is a priority for the Gin Kings.


Like it or not, the Meralco Bolts didn't look like the team that the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings defeated in the first two games. 

In fact, if you managed to see last night's Game 3 which the Bolts won, of course, the Bolts weren't clanking most of their shots especially from outside. The Bolts weren't bullied by the giants of Ginebra. 

And most importantly, Allen Durham, the reigning and now, two-time Best Import awardee, wasn't bothered by Justin Brownlee or any of the Ginebra big men for that matter. For one game, the Bolts were making their shots and the Gin Kings faltered in the second half.

Fortunately for Ginebra, their Game 3 loss to Meralco only did one thing: extend the best-of-7 series to a Game 5 to say the least, and if they win tomorrow's Game 4, a win in Sunday's Game 5 will allow fans at the Philippine Arena to celebrate Ginebra's 2nd consecutive Governors' Cup championship. 

That, if they win tomorrow and, on Sunday. 

Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves and simply focus on what the Gin Kings need to do come tomorrow's Game 4 to avoid extension of this series:


Defense on Durham

In the first three games of the series, Allen Durham showed us why he is indeed, this year's Best Import of the Governors' Cup. Through 3 games, he normed 30 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. In a victorious Game 3, Durham exploded for 38 points while making half of his shot attempts. If anything, it was Durham's marvelous performance last night proved that the defense of Ginebra on him wasn't clicking unlike in the series opener when he scored 27 points but missed 12 shots. 

What should Ginebra do?

Simple. Make life miserable for Durham. The Gin Kings must use their tremendous height advantage to frustrate the smaller Durham and the rest of the Meralco big men. Do that and the Bolts might just opt to shoot AND miss threes. Again. You shut down Durham and you disrupt Meralco's offense. 


Clamp Down on Shooters

You want to know why Meralco won last night? Three-pointers. After making 13 combined threes in the first two games, Meralco dropped 11 long-distance bombs in Game 3 alone. 11 out 31 attempts, folks. 

And mind you, folks, Ranidel De Ocampo only played for 4 minutes before being taken out of the game due to an injury. It was the 7 three-point shots by the old man, Reynel Hugnatan, that proved to be the difference as Hugnatan provided the reinforcements for Durham with his 22 points off the bench, making him and Durham as the only Meralco players who scored in double figures.

What should Ginebra do?

Contest every Meralco basket regardless if it's a two-point basket or a long one from outside. You leave one guy open. You're gonna pay the price. You leave a shooter unguarded. He'll find his rhythm eventually and it happened in Game 3. We all witnessed Reynel Hugnatan drain those threes as if he borrowed Jimmy Alapag's shooting touch.


The Bench Must Produce. More.

Sure, Greg Slaughter had 12 points while making 50% of his shots in Game 3. Sure, Mark Caguioa scored 8 points on an efficient 3 of 4 field goal shooting. But the rest of the guys from Tim Cone's bench? ZERO. Sol Mercado played for 12 minutes and Ginebra got nothing but 2 turnovers. The masked man, Kevin Ferrer also played for 12 minutes but only grabbed 5 rebounds and 2 assists. 

What should Ginebra do?

Simple. The bench players of the Gin Kings should score more and it is imperative that they do especially in situations when the Bolts are on the run and Ginebra's starters are either resting or struggling to get anything going on the offensive end. If Tim Cone can get his bench players going, then Ginebra will become much harder to deal with. 


Conclusion

While everyone is expecting the Bolts to keep on fighting for their lives in this series, we all witnessed what happened to the opponent who handed a defeat to the Gin Kings in their previous meeting. What happened? That team lost two straight games which ended their season. 

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