PBA Fastbreak: San Mig beats TNT, Petron blazes Barako Bull
The Best: Marcio Lassiter bucked jet lag and got down to work, hitting three triples on his way to 17 points. He shot two of those treys in a crucial fourth quarter stretch that helped the Boosters overhaul a 7-point deficit and put the competitive Barako Bull quintet out for good. Lassiter just returned from the States to attend his grandmother’s wake, but he hardly showed any rust, scoring 13 in that all-important payoff period. The Boosters are now a win away from clinching a semifinal berth.
The Worst: Barako Bull did well in this game in terms of being energetic and outworking the Boosters on the glass, 49-43, but their shooting percentages fell in the second half after Petron tightened up its D. Overall, the Energy Cola shot just 40% from the field, with JC Intal, Rico Maierhofer, and Mark Macapagal — all starters — combining for 5/24 FG shooting. If they’re still harboring any hopes of advancing, then they need to catch fire in Game 2.
Fab Frontline: There’s hardly any other frontline in the Philippines as innately talented as the one Petron Blaze has. I mean, coach Gee Abanilla has last season’s MVP, Arwind Santos, and the league’s best center, June Mar Fajardo, at his disposal. Both guys paired up for 32 points, 18 boards, and 3 blocks in this game, anchoring the interior for Petron and ultimately helping them get a huge 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
The Best: The Mixers continued to roll, utilizing suffocating defense to limit the Tropang Texters to just 36% FG shooting. They also outrebounded TNT, 55-45, and forced 15 errors from coach Norman Black’s crew. Not surprisingly, Gilas PF Marc Pingris led the fight for SMC, recording a sublime 10-point, 13 rebound, 2 block performance. The Mixers remained unbeaten since the new year and are arguably the most dangerous team at this point in the conference.
The Worst: Jayson Castro pumped in 24 markers to lead all scorers in this game, but TNT got little else from the starting unit. Ranidel De Ocampo was the only other starter to score in double-digits with 11, while Ali Peek, Larry Fonacier, and newcomer KG Cañaleta combined for just 13 points total. Cañaleta, despite his impressive resume, visibly struggled here. It was clear he was still getting used to the plays of TNT and the rhythm/flow of their game. He shot 3/10 from the field and turned the ball over 2 times.
Stepping Up: Outside of SMC’s big names — James Yap, Pingris, and Mark Barroca to name a few — several role players have really stepped up big time for coach Tim Cone. The tandem of Yancy De Ocampo and Rafi Reavis delivered in this one, combining for 15 rebounds and helping limit TNT’s bigs from being effective. The most impressive one, however, was PJ Simon, who continued his splendid shooting for the Mixers. SMC has won five straight as of now, and in all those games, Simon was the x-factor. He is averaging close to 19 points per game, while also shooting 55% from the floor, in the Mixers’ last five wins . - Rappler.com