The difference between Games 1 and 2 of the 2016-2017 PBA Philippine Cup Finals was like night and day. Unlike in Game 1, Ginebra did not start flat in Game 2. Tim Cone's wards were, by far, the more aggressive team early on, but for all their bravado and energy, the Gin Kings weren't able to convincingly get rid of the Beermen. Ginebra needed an extra period to stave off the defending champs.
So now that we have Game 3 looming, the big question is can San Miguel Beer bounce back and retake control, or will Ginebra capitalize on their momentum to notch a 2-1 series lead.
Shot Selection - San Miguel Beer attempted 46 threes in Game 2. That's nearly half of their total of 99 field goals. They did hit 17 of those triples, but they got away from what made them so dominant in Game 1 — inside scoring.
Rule the Rebounding - SMB is the bigger team. They have two MVPs in their frontline and yet they lost the battle of the boards, 58-52. That's without Greg Slaughter for Ginebra, too! Needless to say, the Beermen have to be much better at boxing out and cleaning the glass in Game 3.
Mind the Fouls - SMB had 33 fouls in Game 2 compared to only 25 for Ginebra. Marcio Lassiter was thrown out because of a silly "salt bae" move while both Chris Ross and June Mar Fajardo fouled out. Arwind Santos also very nearly "graduated" with 5 fouls of his own. Better foul management is needed from coach Leo Austria's crew to ensure they have all the personnel they need in crunch time.
Kraken needs to get cracking! - June Mar has struggled a bit against Ginebra this conference. They held him to 9 points in their elims meeting and now just 10 points in Game 2. Ginebra has done a pretty good job of denying JMF a lion's share of the SMB touches, and that's a puzzle the Beermen have to solve. Simply put, where the Kraken goes, they go.
Offensive Efficiency - Game 1 saw Ginebra shoot just 39% from the field and 3-of-13 from beyond the arc. Things were vastly different in Game 2, where the Gin Kings were efficient on offense, hitting 51% of their field goals including going 9-of-17 from long distance. Ginebra was also +3 in assists in Game 2 compared to being -9 in Game 1.
Free Throw Accuracy - Ginebra did a much better job getting to the line in Game 2, attempting 22 free throws compared to only 8 in Game 1. Still, coach Tim Cone's wards made just 15 of their 22 charities. Against a team like SMB, the Gin Kings need to make the most of every advantage, and that means they have to be nearly perfect from the stripe.
Super Scottie - Scottie Thompson was in crazy bad ass mode in Game 2, scoring 18 points and grabbing an eye-popping 18 rebounds while also recording 8 assists, 3 steals, and 2 treys. He was Abueva-ish in that match, and if he can even just approximate that again in Game 3, SMB will be in big trouble.
Bench Matters - In both games so far, Ginebra's bench has been more potent, outscoring their SMB counterparts by a total of 27 points. That's key for the Gin Kings, who will need all they can get from their reserves, which is not as deep as SMB's.