PIVOTAL GAME 3
It’s no secret that San Miguel utilizes its starters to the hilt and Magnolia plans to take advantage of that come Game 3 in the PBA Philippine Cup tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Point guard Mark Barroca, who is parat of the team that completed the 2014 Grand Slam, said the Beermen’s heavy minutes will prove advantageous to the Hotshots, who are seeking their first title in four years.
“San Miguel, when you look at it in the perspective of playing time, isn’t that deep,” said Barroca in Filipino after the team’s practice Maundy Thursday at Ronac Art Center. “You can see the minutes of the starting five and it seems that they are the only ones playing.”
“The other players will play for 10, nine, seven minutes unlike our team whose players have balanced minutes. Maybe we’ll take advantage of that scenario.”
Barroca’s words aren’t just based on observation as numbers prove it.
San Miguel has had four of its starters play at least 40 minutes in the two games so far in the series with 2013 MVP Arwind Santos logging the most with an average playing time of 42 minutes.
Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo is at close second, playing 41 minutes a game, while Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot log 40.5 and 40 minutes per game.
Magnolia, on the other end, has no player logging in at least 40 minutes with big man Ian Sangalang playing the most minutes per game at 36.
The Hotshots, though, have six players — apart from Sangalang — play at least 20 minutes a game.
And with playing time distributed amongst that many players, Barroca said their fresh legs would help them put the pressure on San Miguel on Game 3 and break the 1-1 series tie.
“What we’ll do next game is to really bring out that energy,” said Barroca, who is averaging 29 minutes per game while norming 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.
“We can rest for longer periods of time and coach [Chito Victolero] said that would be the key for us to pressure San Miguel.” /BONG LOZADA OF INQUIRER
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