The Bataan Risers knew they were in for a fight against the Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines. And it was a tough one. Where they had to come from behind to win, 76-74, and to keep pace the Manila Stars who opened the double header at the Bataan People’s Center with a 71-70 win over the hard luck Rizal Crusaders.
The win, the game, had its share of positives and negatives, in our opinion.
Let’s go through them.
BATAAN RISERS (16-2)
Big pick up in Ludovice
It was a great debut by Yvan Ludovice for Bataan. Ludovice tallied nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and one steal against one turnover. He hits big shots and stabilized Bataan with his entry and finish.
Big pick up. Surprised though that Arvie Bringas was not fielded more so since Richard Escoto did not play.
But back to Ludovice. With his output, along with Pamboy Raymundo, they somewhat offset the shooting of Zamboanga’s Robin Roño who finished with 18 points including two big triples in the fourth. It was Roño’s shooting that kept them in the game.
The tandem of Alfred Batino and Bernie Bregondo
The two have been solid in the last few weeks of play. The duo have provided an inside presence for the Risers.
Batino, ever the fighter, finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds to go with two blocks while Bregondo added eight points, nine boards, and a block.
Give the ball to Gab Daganon
I have watched this kid since his time at Perpetual Help and he was huge when attacking that basket. He has the hops and the finishing. Plus, the vision to make that pass. It was a luxury for the Altas when he partnered with Scottie Thompson. But it was hard to makes plays then as Thompson and Bright Akhuetie held the ball for about 90% of the time.
But Daganon is a slasher who can create. Maybe it’s time to give him that ball and make things happen. He finished with 12 points, three steals, and two rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
Tenacity off the boards and second chances
This game was won in the trenches. Bataan pounded Zamboanga, 44-26, inside the paint and scored 14 second chance points to the opponents’ eight. Vince Tolentino also gave quality minutes.
Here are our concerns.
Getting Gary David untracked
The veteran has struggled in the last few games. He usually starts well then tapers off. After David scored the first five points for Bataan, he missed his next four shots and committed two fouls. He returned with about six minutes left in the second period, took one shot that he missed then didn’t do much until he was subbed out with 1:55 left.
In the third, he committed another foul then hit a jumper to make it, 44-41, Zamboanga by three. That would be his last bucket as he finished with seven points on 3-15 shooting (although he added a rebound and an assist).
I know a gunslinger is supposed to keep shooting until he finds his range, but maybe it is time to attack that basket and get his confidence from there.
The shot selection was poor in the first half and the poor shooting and turnovers allowed Zamboanga to stay head above water for a time. I like that Ludovice took care of the ball and that he, Raymundo, and Byron Villarias are willing to share that ball.
The turnovers and leaving windows open for opponents to take the game
The rim at the People’s Center might be unforgiving, but that isn’t an excuse. After all, San Juan took a game there. And the Risers have struggled with their shooting too.
Sure, Roño hit big shots with someone draped all over him. But the missed free throws down the stretch by Raymundo made things a bit more interesting. Granted there was 0.5 seconds left and the best strategy was to miss the second free throw. But Bataan should put away these games.
ZAMBOANGA FAMILY’S BRAND SARDINES (7-11)
They too have a huge pick up in Robin Roño. But in my opinion, they go too much for the outside shot (along with Von Lanete). They need to pound that ball inside with Allan Santos and Ivan Villanueva. Thirty-eight three-point attempts is just way too much.
This is a re-tooled squad and they need to work on their chemistry. The final stats on assists do not tell the whole picture but they need to work on ball movement and team play.
Zamboanga has selfless players in Villanueva, Harold Arboleda, and Ryan Buenafe who will do a lot of the dirty work – playing defense, grabbing rebounds and fighting for loose balls, and playmaking. That is what made them effective with their respective college squads. Granted semi-pro or pro ball is different as is their places on the team. But I still think that they are not being utilized in the manner they can contribute.
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