Fastbreak: Tenorio torches Alaska, RoS halts Petron
The Best: LA "The Lieutenant" Tenorio seems to have relinquished some of the limelight early this season to his more ballyhooed frontline teammates, but in this particular encounter he reminded everyone why he was one of the frontrunners in last season's MVP race. Tenorio displayed all-around brilliance, shooting 7/11 from the field, including 3 triples, on his way to 24 points, while also grabbing 8 rebounds and handing out 4 assists. In a young season where much praise has been heaped on Ginebra's towering duo of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, it's Tenorio who will continue to be the most critical piece in the Kings' drive for a conference title.
The Worst: Alaska is a team that prides itself on being able to unleash a balanced offense, but here the Aces' outside shooting faltered. Outside of JV Casio, whose hot hand connected from rainbow country thrice, nobody made a trey. Not DonDon Hontiveros. Nor Cyrus Baguio. Not RJ Jazul. As a team, again outside of Casio, Alaska missed all of 12 three-pointers. Sure, guys like Sonny Thoss and Gabby Espinas held their own in the paint, but without their snipers connecting, the Aces won't have much chance against the PBA's elite.
Unbalanced?: After the game, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo commented on the free throw shooting disparity. Alaska was awarded 22 freebies, while Ginebra had 44 FT attempts. This despite Alaska taking a whole lot more attempts from inside the arc -- 64 2-pt FG attempts for the Aces and only 39 for Ginebra. In fairness to coach Luigi, the numbers do provoke some critical thought -- to say the least. In addition, this is not the first time this season a coach has commented on the "interesting" officiating (hello, coach Bong Ramos and coach Yeng Guiao!).
The Best: Finally, a team was able to solve the Petron Blaze puzzle and deal the Boosters their first loss of the season. Rain or Shine's undersized frontline relished its match-up with last season's MVP and this season's best big man. Jervy Cruz, JR Quiñahan, and Beau Belga all rose to the occasion, containing June Mar Fajardo down the stretch (he fouled out early in OT) and making the big plays to halt Petron's unbeaten run.
The Worst: Petron built a 14-point bubble early in the game, but they couldn't sustain the momentum. They still led by double-digits at the break, but they allowed the Painters to rally in the second half and pull the rug from under them. Petron turned the ball over 18 times here, which resulted in 17 points-off-turnovers for the Painters. Perhaps more surprisng, however, was the fact Petron, despite having both Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo up front, was outrebounded, 66-61, and, consequently, gave up more 2nd-chance points, 22-12. It will be very interesting to see how the Boosters rebound from their first defeat, especially since their next two foes aren't exactly easy pickings -- Ginebra and Talk N Text.
More Extra Rice, Please!: One of the main things that made Rain or Shine so dangerous the past two seasons has been its undersized, yet undaunted, frontline. I'm talking about Cruz, Quiñahan, and Belga, of course. The average height of those three? How about 6'5? And, yes, I'm being generous because it's Christmas. Despite the deficiency in verticality, however, this troika of burly bruisers was able to outwork its more heralded foes in this match. Cruz reeled in a sublime double-double line -- 23 points and 12 rebounds on 9/14 FG shooting, while Quiñahan and Belga combined for 22 points, 17 boards, 5 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 triples. Now any PBA coach would want that kind of production from any of their frontliners, no matter the size! - Rappler.com