11 December 2014

Team Statistics (2014 Phil. Cup Elimination Round)

Bolts Dunk
As the Meralco Bolts struggled to finish the elimination round of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup on a 6-5 record, much of the blame has been cast on Jared Dillinger’s passivity or John Wilson’s absence.

The Bolts barely secured a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals against the defending champions Purefoods Star Hotshots even though Cliff Hodge is in the midst of one of the best double-double stretches of his career. The athletic power-forward was also being forced to undertake greater scoring responsibilities.

How good has Hodge been so far? His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) approached 36, one of the highest so far in the league. In spite of Hodge, the energy wonder, the Bolts are one of the worse offensive teams in the conference and have significantly underachieved through the first 11 games of the season.

Maybe it's Gary David who is at fault. According to many all-encompassing metrics, David is playing worse than he has in years, at least so far. The numbers, however, show that the team as a whole is just playing below par compared to other teams. And their performance can be summed up in two words: poor shooting.

Team Statistics
Games Played11
3-Point FG27.3
2-Point FG39.7
FT %64.9
The Bolts may appear to average 85.5 points per game and are allowing their opponents to score 88.8 points against them, but the data are really skewed because of extreme values. Opponent’s output were pulled heavily by two lopsided losses to the Alaska Aces (64-105) and Rain or Shine Elastopainter (79-107), which may not be statistically significant.

What is worrying for the Bolts though is their dismal performance on the floor, especially in the three-point area. In all 11 games, the team made 242 attempts from the rainbow territory, but can only manage to make 66 shots or an average of 27.3 percent.

This number is unforgivable considering that the team is bannered by solid shooters and three-point artists in the person of David, Wilson and Mark Macapagal, all have career averages of 32.7 percent, 33.4 percent and 33.3 percent, respectively, from that area.

This is not to suggest that all three should stop from throwing threes. In fact, they should continue to do so because David, Wilson and Macapagal have a decent combined average of 34.3 percent. What the team should avoid is stop Dillinger (18.8 percent), Anjo Caram (9.1 percent), Simon Atkins (15.o percent) and Rey Gueverra (10.0 percent) from throwing those brick shots.

Shooting Blanks
It would have not mattered if only their 2-point field goal were not below 45.0 percent, but as it turns out, the whole team can’t seem to calibrate their line of sight as they average a woeful 39.7 percent from the field. Worse, their patented defense is not stopping their opponents from shooting a respectable 42.8 percent against them.

Hodge may be having a career breakout with his 10.5 rebounds per game to go along with his 13.4 points per outing, but aside from him, who can the Bolts rely to defend against second-chance points?

Opponent’s Statistics
Games Played11
3-Point FG31.3
2-Point FG42.8
FT %65.3
Surprisingly, newly acquired Sean Anthony comes into the picture with his 7.3 rebound average, while the resident veteran and undersized center, Reynel Hugnatan, average a disappointing 5.7 rebounds per game.

Hence, it is not surprising to see that in all of the 11 games, the Bolts were out-rebounded by their opponents. The only time the Bolts managed to match and equalize the output of their opponents was when they had a blowout loss against the Elastopainters. Both teams grabbed a total of 49 rebounds each during that game.

Clearly the team has some performance issues to solve before they meet the Hotshots. It's too early to be confident with specifics, but if there is blame to be dished out later, it starts on the offensive side of the court, and rebounding deserves further attention.

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