PBA Fastbreak: Fajardo reemerges, RoS rookies shine
The Best: It didn’t take too long for June Mar Fajardo to regain his bearings and reclaim his dominant position among the PBA’s young stars. The Kraken went toe-to-toe with his former mentor, Danny Ildefonso, in this game, and the youngster impressed a lot. Fajardo shot 6/9 from the field on his way to 19 points on top of FIFTEEN rebounds, and 2 assists. And get this, the Gilas back-up big man played just 27 minutes. If that ain’t efficient, I don’t know what is.
The Worst: On the other end, Ildefonso’s current project, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, was a veritable non-factor. The former Ateneo center started the game, but played just 7 minutes. He logged 0 points and only 2 rebounds. Al-Hussaini was expected to be a solid contributor for Meralco this conference, but the way he’s playing, he might as well be relegated to the doghouse. After a promising start to the season (he had four double-doubles by December 22), he has really dropped his production. He’s norming just 1 points and 4 rebounds per game in the Bolts’ last five contests.
This is what you’re missing: Chris Ross probably thought, “Yeah, Meralco, this is what you’re missing now,” when he dropped 18 points on his former team. Ross, who is normally more of a pass-first point guard, wasn’t gun-shy here. He shot 8/13 from the field as the Boosters cemented a top three finish to close the elims.
The Best: This is what’s so amazing about the system coach Yeng Guiao has in place with RoS — he preaches and practices balance. It’s a no-superstar system, and it showed like starlight in this game. Ten Elasto-Painters scored 7 or more points here, with rookies Raymond Almazan, Jeric Teng, and Alex Nuyles leading the way. RoS played splendidly, leading 11-0 to start the game and never really looking back as they iced the last twice-to-beat advantage in the next round of the conference.
The Worst: The Express enjoyed relatively healthy production from its starting five, but the bench left much to be desired. Out of eight guys fielded by coach Franz Pumaren off the pine, only two guys scored — BonBon Custodio and Mac Cardona. They paired up for all ten of Air21’s bench points. That means 84 out of Air 21’s 94-point total came from the starting unit, which might not have been much of a big deal had they won. But, as you already know, they didn’t.
Fab Freshies: With its rookie trio leading the way, RoS looked absolutely solid in this game. Coach Yeng Guiao quipped postgame that he wanted to give his greenhorns much needed experience in preparation for the tough battles in the knockout rounds, and, boy, did his rookies deliver. Almazan was 2 boards shy of a double-double (13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks), Nuyles was aggressive on both ends (13 points on 5/7 FG shooting, 4 boards, 1 steal, and 1 block), and Teng was on-target (13 points along with 7 rebounds and 2 triples). - Rappler.com