PBA: In Ginebra’s second consecutive defeat, Christian Standhardinger was again an insignificant factor in the closing stages

May 24, 2024

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After winning three games in their best-of-seven semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra, Meralco secured a repeat victory, putting the defending champion San Miguel one game away from making it back to the PBA Philippine Cup finals.

With seven players scoring in double figures, the Beermen overcame a determined effort by Rain or Shine to defeat the Elasto Painters 117-107 and win the series.
Before Friday’s Game 4, they are now poised to win the best-of-seven series.

Following one more victory, the most successful team in the league would be back in the championship series and in a prime position to hold onto the league’s most valuable asset.

In their own race-to-four series, the Bolts, on the other hand, piled pressure on the Kings with an 87-80 victory to grab a 2-1 lead.

The crammed crowd was disappointed as Meralco, led by Allein Maliksi, never allowed Ginebra to establish any rhythm in the game.

These are the lessons we learned from the inaugural doubleheader held at the brand-new arena in Dasmarinas City, Cavite.

CSTAN was benched again

Christian Standhardinger was once again benched during the Kings’ second consecutive loss in the semifinals. With 8:04 left in the game, the Fil-German, who had just finished Game 2 with a career-high 41 points, was taken out and never came back. Ginebra was behind at that point, 78-63.

Standhardinger shot three out of ten from the field to end with ten points and ten rebounds. He was benched in the closing minutes for the second time in this conference after coach Tim Cone had done the same with Scottie Thompson in the Kings’ previous elimination game against the NLEX Road Warriors.

The Not-So-Deep Bench in Ginebra

Ginebra’s short bench has so far been exposed in the semifinal matchup versus Meralco. In a semifinal matchup against its contemporary rivals, the Kings were forced to turn to their bench in an attempt to get anything from seldom-used players like Sidney Onwubere, Von Pessumal, and Raymond Aguilar. Meralco was only using 10 to 11 players at most.

The seasoned point guard LA Tenorio was obliged to play a longer game (20 minutes) in Game 3 after averaging just three minutes per game in the first two games. In that game, he scored nine points, pulled down five rebounds, and dished out four assists.

Yeng-Romeo’s hot words give the SMB-RoS series more drama

The final-game verbal sparring between San Miguel shooter Terrence Romeo and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao brought much-needed flair to a series that the Beermen have unquestionably dominated.

Now, as the Beermen attempt a 4-0 sweep and the Elasto Painters attempt to survive, all eyes will be on Guiao and Romeo in Game 4.

NENAD changing things at Meralco

Nenad Vucinic, an active consultant, has been very effective for the Bolts during the playoffs.

The Bolts have been effectively moving the ball and getting nearly everyone on the offensive end involved. Naturally, Meralco has never had an issue with defense because it has always relied on its old strategies and routines from when former coach Norman Black was in charge.

In order to give the starters a much-needed break, Meralco is also devoting a lot of time to its bench. Rookies Brandon Bates and Jolo Mendoza, as well as veterans Norbert Torres, Kyle Pascual, and Anjo Caram, are all seeing significant playing time. This strategy could prove beneficial in the long run, particularly in a best-of-seven series.

Furthermore, historical data indicates that Ginebra-Meralco playoff series typically end in a tie.

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