And Allen Durham was all alone. Again
Allen Durham had another Best Import awardee performance but wasn't enough. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Poor, Allen Durham. He scored 27 points and grabbed 19 rebounds- 8 on the offensive end, all while playing for more than 44 minutes in last night's Game 5 of the best-of-seven Finals series and yet, the Meralco Bolts are just one loss away from another disappointing Finals exit. We cannot blame Allen Durham alone, folks because he is the lone light that was shining for Meralco all series long. Take that lone light and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings would have won the championship in 4 games.
Now, let's not play the blame game and focus on the numbers alone. Why? If you were able to watch Game 5 last night, then you know how messy the rest of the Meralco Bolts, both offensively and defensively. To explain the mess that hurt the Bolts' chances of entering Game 6 with a chance to clinch their first-ever championship in franchise history, this basketball pundit on wheels listed down three important statistics that the Bolts clearly messed up, big time:
50 Points in the Paint for Ginebra
If you allow a team filled with big men standing at 7 foot to score 50 points in the shaded area, you cannot expect your team to win. Yes, folks, the Bolts' ever soft defense against the big men of the Gin Kings enabled the latter to bully their way into the paint and score 50 points in the process. Justin Brownlee and company were able to penetrate through the embarrassing defense of Meralco as they were able to score on all sorts of shots whether it's a high-flying dunk or an acrobatic lay-up from LA Tenorio. Bad defense + bad offense= bad game overall.
33 Attempts from Rainbow Country
One of the main weapons that the Meralco could have fully utilized to their advantage is their ability to make it rain from deep. In Game 5, yes, they were able to make 9 three-pointers, 6 more than what Gineba. The problem was, Meralco heavily relied on their sharpshooters who missed 24 of the 33 attempts that the Bolts took from rainbow country. Let this basketball pundit on wheels emphasize that: Meralco attempted 33 attempts. From the three-point line. No wonder why they lost.
During the first four games of the series, it was Ginebra who was more careless with the ball every time they had the ball possession. In Game 5, it was the Meralco Bolts who were either showing their carelessness or were defended well by the Gin Kings as the former committed 20 turnovers. 5 of those 20 turnovers came from Allen Durham and we cannot blame him either for that. He was the only one consistently and diligently carrying the load for the Bolts so it's only natural and human for him to commit mistakes especially when the Gin Kings threw two defenders at Durham. As a result of those Meralco turnovers, Ginebra was able to score 23 points off those turnovers and that was huge for the Gin Kings.
Meralco will have two choices to make come Game 6 on Wednesday: clean up their mess and play like the league's top-seeded team entering this conference's playoffs to force a Game 7 or, create more mess and watch platoons of red-shirted fans celebrate as the balloons fall from the ceiling of the Philippine Arena, all while Ginebra hoists up the Governors' Cup championship trophy.