If there’s one thing B-MEG has done well in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup finals, it’s exploiting the matchups.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Jimmy Alapag has been limited in the series primarily because of his unfavorable matchup against the much bigger Peter June Simon. B-MEG coach Tim Cone has been switching Simon to the 1-spot, often with Joe Devance playing point forward, forcing Alapag to take on a bigger player.
After he took advantage of Alapag’s defense en route to 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the opener, Simon again went at the veteran guard in Game Two. In one sequence in the fourth quarter, Simon drew two fouls on Alapag on the same possession, forcing Chot Reyes to take his court general out of the game.
But Talk ‘N Text isn’t ready to push the panic button just yet.
“It’s a good thing we got good practice with it against Barako Bull, because that team just wanted to keep posting up Jimmy,” said Reyes.
The Energy, with a burly backcourt of Willie Miller and Wynne Arboleda, lost to the Tropang Texters in five games in the best-of-five semifinals.
“Normally, the way we answer that is to make sure that he also makes the defense pay,” said Reyes. “Unfortunately, Jimmy has not been hitting his shots. My reply to that is he just has to make his shots. Then we’ll see how long they’ll stay with that matchup.”
Alapag did return in the end game, and knocked down two free throws with four seconds remaining to seal the game for Talk ‘N Text. But he finished the game without a field goal in 27 minutes of play and scored just three points.
He is currently shooting just 3-of-13 from the three-point line in the finals.
Another B-MEG player that gave Talk ‘N Text problems was James Yap, who poured in 25 points, including five three-pointers, in Game Two. The Tropang Texters, surprisingly, turned to center Kelly Williams to mark the B-MEG star instead of resident stopper Ryan Reyes.
“We just need to keep giving James Yap different looks,” said Reyes of the decision.
“He’s an excellent player and he’ll get his touches and his shots. We need to make sure we’re giving him different looks and that’s just one of them.”
Williams tried to use size advantage against Yap on offense, posting up on the smaller man several times in the second half, but couldn’t get much going offensively in the matchup.
“We’re not really a matchup team. I’m not a coach who says, ‘Oh, this guy matches up well with this guy.’ That’s not the way I approach the ball game,” Reyes said.
The Tropang Texters coach would rather his players just run their offense – one that has given them much success in the recent past.
Talk ‘N Text entered the series averaging 100.4 points per game in the conference, the second-best mark in the league.
“They’re an excellent defensive team,” said Reyes of the Llamados. “Especially when they go to that big lineup of James and Simon, there are really no holes in that defensive lineup. So we don’t want to stress ourselves looking for a mismatch.”
“We just run what we want to run and find our offense. Hopefully, we get our looks.”
» Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio thrilled with acquisition of Jared Dillinger, Don Allado
» POLL | Who won the three-way trade among Barako Bull, Meralco, and Talk ‘N Text?
» PBA approves trade: Dillinger, Allado to Meralco, Buenafe to Barako Bull, Anthony to Talk ‘N Text