PBA Fastbreak: The Quarterfinal Push Part 1
The Best: Coach Ryan Gregorio heaved a sigh of relief here as his Bolts came back from 20 points down to upend the Energy Cola and formalize their entry to the quarterfinal round. Six players from Meralco finished in double-digit scoring, with import Darnell Jackson leading the way. The 28-year old Kansas Jayhawk shot much better from the field here compared to his first game, making 12 of his 22 field goal attempts to score 30 points. He also dished out 5 assists, one steal, and one block to make up for his subpar rebounding (only 5 boards).
The Worst: The Energy Cola had most of the indicators of a win here. They outrebounded Meralco, 41-37. They shot 52.4% from three-point land. Josh Dollard also had another strong game, scoring 33 markers and hauling down 15 rebounds. And, of course, that 20-point lead, too. So what happened? Well, they went cold at a crucial stretch in the fourth, and they coughed up the ball a total of 21 times.
Sharp Shooting: One of the main things that helped Meralco complete its comeback was the sharp shooting of both Jared Dillinger and John Wilson. Dillinger shot 4/5 from long range on his way to 16 points, while Wilson rifled in 3 treys as he scored 15. Dillinger and Wilson actually combined for all 7 of the Bolts’ threes in this game. Needless to say, if Meralco wants to put up a stiff challenge in the quarterfinals, then its outside shots will need to fall.
The Best: The all-local crew of coach Norman Black got the job done, beating the Batang Pier and, more importantly, sweeping the eliminations to cop the top spot heading to the next round. Five guys finished in double-figures here, with Best Player of the Conference candidate Ranidel De Ocampo dropping 17 points to lead TNT. He was backstopped by frontcourt partners Danny Seigle and Kelly Williams, who scored 16 markers each. Williams also stepped up with 11 rebounds as he started at the slot in place of the injured Richard Howell.
The Worst: Prior to shooting the potentially game-tying free throws in the endgame, Evan Brock made 7 of his first 8 freebies. He wasn’t supposed to miss his free throws with less than two seconds to go. Make both, and he would send the game into OT. Make both, and the erstwhile winless Batang Pier might still upset the erstwhile unbeaten Texters. Alas, Brock made the first but missed the second, allowing TNT to escape and clinch the rare elims sweep.
A glimpse of the past: Alex Cabagnot was at his sharpest here, shooting 4/8 from beyond the arc and 10/18 overall to score a season-high 29 points for GlobalPort. This was, by far, his best game as a Batang Pier. The former Sta. Lucia Realtor and Petron Blaze Booster also got 6 rebounds and handed out 7 assists, reminding everyone of a bygone era when he was perhaps one of the top two or 3 PGs in the league.
The Best: With their prospects of finishing in second spot on the line, the Beermen stepped up and disposed of the Mixers quite convincingly. Import Kevin Jones was ultra-efficient here, making 4 of his 6 three-point attempts on his way to 26 points. He also grabbed 16 boards and dished out 4 dimes. He got ample support from other guys, too. Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and June Mar Fajardo all combined for 50 points. Now SMB is at 6-2. If they win over Air 21 in their final elims game, then they will lock up the second seed, which comes with a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals.
The Worst: James Mays shot just 6/16 from the field to finish with 15 points. The Mixers, as a team, shot only 55% from the line. They also had more turnovers and fewer assists than SMB. Still, the worst thing that happened to the Mixers here was seeing Marc Pingris injure his rib in the second period and never return. He was inadvertently hit by Doug Kramer and Fajardo in the rib area. Initial reports are not conclusive yet, so the jury’s out on whether Ping can help SMC close out the elims. This compounds the Mixers’ injury woes, as both James Mays and James Yap are nursing back spasms.
Mighty Marcio: Marcio Lassiter had a forgettable outing against the Aces in late March, scoring a paltry 3 points on 1/12 FG shooting, but he bounced back really well here. The former Gilas sniper connected on 8 of his 14 FG attempts, including 3 triples, to record 19 points. He also added 4 assists and one steal. For the most part, Lassiter has been the top SG this conference, and the Beermen will need him to consistently play at this level if they want a deep run in the next round. – Rappler.com