(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Lack of energy and defensive intensity doomed Ginebra as they are facing elimination heading into Game 5
After their Game 3 victory which trimmed their series deficit down to 2-1, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were pumped up with so much excitement because they just beat a heavily-favored San Miguel Beermen without their star center, Greg Slaughter. On the other hand, the Beermen knew that they needed to regain control of this series if they are to defend their title in the PBA Finals.
And that's exactly what happened.
Marcio Lassiter scored 23 points while going 5 for 10 from the three-point line. Alex Cabagnot had 19 points, 8 assists, and 5 STEALS which made him the best player of the night. Arwind Santos had 16 points despite missing all of his 4 attempts from the rainbow country while June Mar Fajardo added 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Beermen took a 102-81 Game 4 victory over the Gin Kings which moved San Miguel within one win away from taking their seat in the PBA Finals.
While the great Tim Cone took the blame for the Gin Kings disappointing performance in Game 4, even saying that he was outcoached and outclassed, it's not fair for Tim Cone to be blamed, alone.
The question is: What are the things to blame for the Gin Kings' unacceptable performance in Game 4 which saw PBA greats Robert Jaworksi and "El Presidente" Mon Fernandez watching at courtside?
Energy just disappeared. Poof!
After taking a 10-5 lead early on, Ginebra's energy, the same crowd-infecting energy that enabled them to take Game 3, just vanished throughout the next 3 quarters. Sure, Ginebra was able to trim down a 29-point deficit to just 18 points but again, it boiled down to their lack of energy to sustain the run. One of the reasons why Ginebra's energy was so down was the fact that Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance, and Prince Caperal only combined for 6 points. Caperal had 3 points. Joe Devance had 2 points while Thompson only had a point. Sure, Japheth Aguilar had 31 points while LA Tenorio added 20 points.
The Gin Kings were also outclassed on fastbreak points as San Miguel scored 16 fastbreak points while also scoring 20 points off Ginebra's 16 turnovers.
Lack of Defense
First things first. Ginebra's lackluster inside defense has allowed San Miguel to score 58 points in the paint. It was so easy to score against Ginebra last night that it enabled Matt Ganuelas-Rosser to perform a reverse dunk in the 4th quarter. San Miguel was able to hit 12 of their 25 attempts from the three-point line which was in fact, one of San Miguel's known strengths.
While it's still possible for Ginebra to come back into this series and force a Game 7, it's going to be a long shot especially the mere fact that San Miguel has already regained control of the series and once they started clicking on offense, the Beermen will be much tougher to stop as we've seen in last night's Game 4. Will Ginebra finally unleash their "Never Say Die" mantra for Game 5 and beyond or, will San Miguel finally march on to their 4th straight appearance in the finale of the PBA Philippine Cup? It depends. It depends on which team will have the needed energy to get the job done.