With over nine minutes to play in the third quarter of Game One, Larry Fonacier took the ball out for a sideline inbound for Talk ‘N Text. He passed to Jimmy Alapag, who was a few feet behind the three-point line.
Fonacier took two steps in, got the ball back and fired a three-pointer. Swish.
In basketball, people call the three-point shot “The Great Equalizer” and its something that Talk ‘N Text should consider when it tries to equalize the series Wednesday night.
In Game One, when the Tropang Texters shot miserably, they were somehow still in the game until the final minute.
“We had too many turnovers, we missed too many shots, they outrebounded us,” Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes said in the post-game press conference. “But in the end, if we miss 10 less free throws, we still would have won the ballgame.”
“That’s basketball. You need to put the ball through the hoop. And in this game, we couldn’t.”
One thing the Tropang Texters did do particularly well was make the three-point shot. Their 8-of-25 shooting in the game was in line with their conference averages in terms of makes, attempts and percentages.
But pretty much everything else was below average for them in Game One. Outside of Donnell Harvey, who played an efficient game with 25 points and 13 rebounds, there was little else the Tropang Texters could call bright in that game.
With B-MEG already coming into the series with a good size advantage and with a healthy amount of physicality allowed both ways, the league’s best offensive team was held to 38.7% field goal shooting en route to just 82 points.
Their local big men – Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo, Harvey Carey and Ali Peek – combined to shoot 6-if-19 from the field and totaled seven turnovers among them. Only two locals scored in double-digits, when five are averaging double-digits this conference.
Talk ‘N Text did get some action off of penetration from Alapag and Jayson Castro, although many of their forays ended up in free throws, for themselves and for teammates they set up – which they famously flubbed to the tune of 16-for-36 for 44.4% shooting, and to the dismay of their fiery coach.
But their three-point shooting was there. In the third quarter, when they hit four three-pointers, the Tropang Texters turned an eight-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead heading into the final canto.
The Tropang Texters are pretty good at sniping from long range. They’re making the second-most three-pointers per game this conference with 8.8 makes per game, behind just Powerade’s 9.9. In fact, in one of their most memorable games this conference, where they beat this very same B-MEG team while playing without an import, the Texters showed just how good they can be in a single game, hitting 19 threes at an impressive 46.3% rate.
And in that third quarter, it seemed to work wonders. Fonacier hit one on one of those textbooks plays where TV analysts always warn of the inbounder being the most dangerous guy on the floor. Later in the quarter, he converted on a rare four-point play that Ryan Reyes followed up with a three-pointer of his own to give Talk ‘N Text its first taste of the lead in the second half. With the seconds ticking down in the third, Kelly Williams would cap the period with a big three-pointer to end the period on a 13-point turnaround for Talk ‘N Text.
And that may be part of their answer for the Talk ‘N text. With grown-man basketball being played by B-MEG down low, maybe its time to start looking to play more of a small man’s game.
“These guys have been playing basketball since they were in shortpants,” said Reyes of his players.
B-MEG certainly looked like the big boys last Monday. So maybe it’s high time to strap the shortpants back on and start playing like the little guys.
That means speeding the game up, and it could mean looking outside for more three-pointers as well.
“They have the advantage in size, and we have the advantage in speed,” Reyes said before the series.
The Llamados pressed that advantage in Game One. Time for the little guys to hit back.
» Ginebra’s plan: Let Tony Mitchell score, but shut down Talk ‘N Text locals
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» Embarrassed after Game Three, Ginebra players display spirit in do-or-die victory