Thursday, July 28, 2011


History Lesson:
The EAC Generals were the victims of two blowout wins by the San Beda Red Lions last season. In the first round, San Beda won by 42 points, as the Generals were trounced badly in the hustle point statistics, 25-6 on fast break points, 28 to 12 in turnover points, and 18 to 4 in second chance points. Emilio Aguinaldo was able to more than cut their deficit in the second meeting though, losing by "only" 24 points to SBC, 92-68 in round two, but hustle points were once again the key, with SBC winning the fastbreak points category 24 to 3, and the turnover points stat 12 to 8. This time though, the Generals stuck with the Red Lions in the second chance points line, losing by only a point, 9 to 8.

EAC Storyline : The Generals had a tough time without Claude Cubo down low, as they were forced to try to beat Mapua from the outside. While they were able to launch 9 triples out of 23 attempts (39%), the Cardinals got 21 more free throw attempts, and guys like Dhan Diolanto and Rafael Sanchez got into severe foul trouble trying to shore up the interior. Thankfully, Cubo returns on Friday, but it will still be tough going trying to match up with the host of big men San Beda can throw out.
Stat to Watch : The Generals struggled against the press of JRU, and overall, they concede 16.3 turnover points a game, thanks to an average of 23.8 turnovers, the most of any team. If they play that way versus San Beda, the Lions will gleefully take to running up and down the court, creating a nightmare for head coach Gerry Esplana to stop.
Player to Watch : Underrated shooter? That's Jan Jamon, who averages 16 points a game in just 20.5 minutes, while shooting a jaw-dropping 60% from downtown, 53% from the field. Problem? 4.3 turnovers a game, a team-high. If he gets hot, then that means a ton of points for EAC, but if he gets sloppy, then it goes the other way to San Beda, almost like a coin flip.

SBC Storyline : The Red Lions survived a squeaker against the Saint Benilde Blazers, winning by the slimmest of margins, 79-78, after Baser Amer missed two charities, giving Carlo Lastimosa a chance to win with a layup that luckily for San Beda, drew nothing but air. After the loss, coach Frankie Lim criticized his squad's execution, something that became especially clear in the final quarter, when only Amer seemed to want to keep the Blazers at bay. Thus, expect the Red Lions to come out on fire in this game, if only to prove to their mentor that they have what it takes to avoid a repeat of what happened.
Stat to Watch : Prior to the game versus Benilde, the Red Lions had never scored less than 82 points, and had never allowed a team to score more than 69. Look for them to treat the Blazers game as an aberration, and return to what made them such a strong team: fast break and turnover points.
Player to Watch : Many were wondering how long it would take for Baser Amer to fully integrate himself into the Red Lions system, as Amer's averages of 5.33 points, 4.67 assists and 2.67 turnovers were far off-base from what many expected the blue-chip recruit to contribute. Expect those criticisms to go away, if their game against Benilde was a sign of things to come for Amer, as he finished with 11 points, all in the fourth quarter, 7 rebounds and not a single turnover.

Prediction: San Beda Red Lions

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