Tuesday, August 2, 2011


History Lesson:
The Golden Stags have not been kind to the probationary Generals, especially last season, with two huge blowout wins. Round one saw the Stags break the century point by winning 106 to 66, courtesy of a 19-2 advantage in fast break points, a 25 to 10 advantage in turnover points, and a 16 to 10 edge in second chance points. The second game was not that much of a massacre but it was still an 81-63 blowout, keyed in yet again by transition points, 22 to 12, plus big baskets from Jonathan Semira and Calvin Abueva.

SSCR Storyline : In contrast to the San Bed Red Lions having the back end of their schedule filled out with Final Four contenders, the Stags have it easy, getting EAC and AU as warm-ups to a bout with MIT, followed by the rematch of the Finals with SBC. The softer opposition means more time for head coach Topex Robinson to give reserve big men Dexter Maiquez, Michael Miranda and forward Bobby Balucanag more reps while resting the Pampanga Trio at the same time. Ultimately, it will be about maximizing those reserves to match-up with the depth of San Beda, as best as they can.
Stat to Watch : The Stags have been the best defensive team so far this season, holding opponents to just 64.8 points on 33.52% field goal shooting. A large part of that has been their perimeter defense, allowing only 21.36% points from outside. With just Claude Cubo down low, much of EAC's production stems from their guards, Milan Vargas, Jan Jamon, Joshua Torralba and Igee King. Shutting them down basically means a win for the Stags.
Player to Watch : The play of the Big Three has been almost automatic now, and it's hard to assume that they won't be putting up big points in this game. That shifts attention to the bench and if they can produce anything. Right now, no one outside the trio averages more than 5 points, but they get an excellent opportunity in this game to show others what they have.

EAC Storyline : Tough week for the Generals, as they faced two strong teams with the odds stacked against them. They're in a similar boat here against the Stags, with San Sebastian coming off an entire week to prepare for this game. EAC has some talent especially in the backcourt, but they have no one to match-up with Abueva and Sangalang, which means this might turn into a shootout quickly, and they may not have enough in them to win that type of a game.
Stat to Watch : The Generals lost twice last season to San Sebastian in large part to the hustle points categories. This year could be more of the same, what with EAC turning it over a whopping 23.8 times a game, highest in the league, while also allowing the most fastbreak attempts, with 10.8 a game. The last thing you want to see is Calvin Abueva running in the open court, but that's exactly what EAC gives up in each game.
Player to Watch : Joshua Torralba is slowly rounding into an excellent player for the Generals, averaging 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1 steal and 0.8 blocks a game. The problem is that he's turnover prone (3.8 a game) and possesses an extremely questionable shot selection (28% field goal shooting). If he can buy a bit more into the team concept, even being used as a decoy, especially if Calvin Abueva gets assigned to guard him, then maybe the Generals can stretch this game out.

Prediction: SSCR Stags

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