11 February 2014

Game 7 Is Becoming Questionably Frequent

Game 7 Again
Looking at the two best-of-seven semi-finals playoffs in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup between Rain or Shine against Petron Blaze Boosters on one spectrum and San Mig Coffee Mixers versus Barangay Ginebra on the other, one can’t help but wonder if a conspiracy to extend the game is happening.

Remember, three of the four teams that reached the semis are under the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) umbrella. These are Petron, San Mig and Barangay Ginebra. In the Rain or Shine – Petron series, the Elastopainters delivered the death blow in Game 5 to take a 4-1 lead and reach the Finals for the second time in two years.

In the best-of-seven affair between the two sister teams, San Mig versus Barangay Ginebra, the series just reached the seventh and final game. Is this really probable? Why did the lowly Rain or Shine team able to beat a powerhouse team like Petron in less than seven games, while both Barangay Ginebra and San Mig Coffee are still locked in six games of error-prone fourth quarter?

Let us take a look at the historical trend and see if there is a need to raise an eyebrow.
  • The best-of-seven series was adopted by the PBA in the 1982 Reinforced Conference, but there were still some Finals Series with a five-game format.
  • From 1982 until the 2006-2007 Philippine Cup, a total of 56 conferences with Game 7 format were played, but only 12 Final Series went to the penultimate game or a 21 percent rate.
To complicate matters by borrowing the statistics from Jay P. Mercado, the resident PBA historian of pinoyexchange.com, we look at the more recent trend:
  • Out of the 16 past PBA Finals, nine of them reached Game 7 or 56 percent.
  • Out of those nine, three involved SMC teams: 2003 Reinforced Conference between Coke and San Miguel Beermen, 2009 Fiesta Conference between Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beermen, 2013 Governor’s Cup pitting San Mig Coffee against the Petron Blaze Boosters.
In short, there was a big jump in the number of series that reached Game 7 from 21 percent to 56 percent, with a third of those series between two SMC teams.

This is not a slam dunk proof that conspiracy is happening, but it is worth noting when watching the current semi-finals between San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra. Who knows what drama the fans will witness in Game 7 this coming Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

One thing is certain though, scripted or not, media exposure pays for products endorsed by PBA teams.

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