PBA Fastbreak: Unsung heroes, missed opportunities in Game 3

The Best: #Whattafinish. Whether you’re a member of Bayan ng RoS or San Mig Coffee Planet, one thing’s for sure — you probably had a great time watching this cardiac ballgame. It was back and forth all the way, even when the Painters seemed to make a run early in the third quarter as James Yap got tagged with foul #4. After that, the Mixers came up with several big plays down the stretch that enabled them to squeak past their foes. Once again, Joe Devance came up big here, dropping 13 points on top of 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. He is norming 13.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the last two games. Happy birthday, JDV!!!

The Worst: That final minute had a lot of heart-stopping moments (Did Paul Lee’s shot graze the rim? That James Yap long tom went nowhere afterwards.), but the most tense sequence was definitely the last one. Fresh from the memory of Lee hitting the game-clincher in the first match of the series, the Mixers played the Painters tight in the last play. They knew that RoS’s fate would come down to just two people — Lee or Jeff Chan.  

Here’s how things went down in the last 10.6 seconds: Lee was shadowed well by Alex Mallari and then JDV did a good job switching on the screen to continue limiting the Leethal Weapon’s options. Chan popped out quickly with Marc Pingris a split-second too slow to react, but the Gilas sniper received the ball a good 5 feet beyond the arc (too far even for him). He got the ball with about 4.9 seconds to go, but the rest of his teammates just stood watching.

For a second or so, Rain or Shine was on wait-and-see mode, and that, ultimately, did them in. Maybe had Gabe Norwood moved to offer a screen, maybe if Chan had driven to the key and attracted the defense, or maybe had Lee turned the corner against Devance and kicked out to Chan with about 2-3 seconds to go, life would’ve been more difficult for the Mixers, but all those didn’t happen. Instead, Chan, after receiving the pass from Lee, jab-stepped to his left then popped the trey over the outstretched arms of Pingris, who is one of Asia’s best on-ball defenders. Chan’s shot clanged off the iron and ended up in the hands of Mark Barroca. Game. Set. Match.

Post-game, Chan actually felt they could’ve executed better in that final play, although he also admitted that perhaps their defense also gave guys like Devance too many chances to score. Whatever it was, look for the Painters to bounce back big time in Game 4.

Unsung Heroes: In such a close game at a critical juncture in the series, it’s easy to forget the guys who play under the radar and on the fringes of the spotlight, but to do that would be tantamount to sheer ignorance, so right now I want to commend guys like Ian Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, and Alex Mallari. Sangalang was a solid offensive option inside for SMC, drilling in all but one of his field goals to finish with 12 points and 5 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. Talk about efficiency! Reavis did well, too, cleaning the glass for a game-high 11 boards, helping his squad win the rebound battle, 49-39. Mallari’s contributions, on the other hand, might not be apparent from the sheet,  but he still made the most of his 22 minutes, providing great defense on RoS’s backcourt and even helping inside with 4 caroms. - Rappler.com