SMB, Magnolia display analytics at work


“Two of six conversions from three point land is the same as three of six conversions from two”.

Two of the four PBA quarterfinals series showed this mathematics truth.

San Miguel Beer relied on their ever dependable gigantic front court to oust a shorter Talk N Text while Magnolia Hotshots showcased how an impressive backcourt can be used to offset a size disadvantage in upending the taller Ginebra San Miguel.

Intentional or not, the results was data analytics at one of its finest form.

SMB: negate outside threat to win battle in the paint

Key stat: Points in the paint per game: 46.7; Second chance points per game: 18.3; 3pt attempts per game 31.7; 3pt conversions per game: 6.7.

The Beermen continued their mantra of combining inside and outside presence in their sets and it worked beautifully for them.

Their outside shooting, although at an atrocious 20% conversion rate, was able to create enough conversions to neutralize whatever the Ka Tropas got from their own end. Talk and Text was slightly ahead in 3pt conversions per game at 8.7 resulting to some six point edge per game.

That allowed the Beeermen to milk their biggest strength, their paint dominance.

They scored a total of 140 points in the paint in the series, outscoring the Ka Tropas, who can only manage 106. That 34 point difference was just too much for Talk N Text to overhaul.

June Mar: Still One-of-a Kind Bigman

Key stat: 2pt attempts per game: 11; 2pt conversions per game: 8.7; 2pt field goal shooting percentage: 78.8%; offensive rebounds per game: 6; defensive rebounds per game: 8.3; Plus/minus for series: +19

June Mar Fajardo laid down how bigmen remain relevant in today’s game: to be dominant in the paint on both sides of the floor.

Nobody from the Talk N Text side could limit his grabbing of offensive rebounds nor slow down his unstoppable post moves.

On the other end, he anchors the grabbing of missed shots by the Ka Tropas and is mobile enough to rotate to the open man to stop him from taking an unmolested open shot.

San Miguel is leading by 19 while he is on the floor during the entire series. The combined winning margin of the Beermen in three games is only 7.

Magnolia: Neutralize inside threat to win battle from rainbow country

Key stat: 3pt attempts per game 31; 3pt conversions per game 9.7; opponent’s points in the paint per game: 42; opponent’s second chance points: 12

Magnolia, on the other hand, made sure they controlled Ginebra’s paint production and made enough of their own from the shaded lane to offset the Barangay’s output.

The Hotshots got 38 points in the paint per game to Ginebra’s 42. That limit the deficit to a manageable six points a game. Further, they averaged 16 second chance points to Ginebra’s 12 that helped soften the blow of their disadvantage of inside presence.

This allowed them to milk their biggest strength, three point shooting.

In the first game, the Hotshots were outscored in the paint by 26, 60-34, but lost only by 11. It was because they made seven three pointers to the Kings’ two.

Magnolia attempted a total of 93 times from rainbow country in the three games of the series and made 29 of them. Ginebra, not known for shooting afar since Tim Cone took over as coach, attempted only 79 times and made 16 of them.

What’s more glaring is this advantage for Magnolia didn’t came from efficiency alone, it was also due to Ginebra’s seemingly refusal to attempt those shots that carry extra points.

That 30 point disparity was just too much for Ginebra to overcome from their advantage in the paint.

Others joined the fray

Key stat: Aldrech Ramos: 5/18 3pt attempts in three games; Justin Melton: 3/11; Robert Herndon: 2/11; Rome Dela Rosa 3/8; Rodney Brondial 2/8; combined offensive rebounds in their two win: 16; combined steals in their two wins: 6.

The trio of Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon were expected to be the focal of the three point production of Magnolia. Ian Sangalang and Raffy Reavis are expected to power the team’s rebounding and boxout requirements.

Magnolia’s significant others became the “x” factors.

The 56 attempts made by these other five players made Ginebra’s perimeter defense honest as 15 of them went inside the hoop and drew the Gins’ big men outside of the paint where they were supposed to make their presence felt.

Not only that, the “other” result not directly seen generated by these attempts are the second chance points that Magnolia got due to long rebounds, the turnovers they produced and the pulling out of the Barangay’s bigmen from the paint.