23 July 2016

The Surprising 3-Point Threat from the Bolts

Reynel Hugnatan
Many basketball observers noticed that the National Basketball Association (NBA) is increasingly becoming a three-point shooting league. Since the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is a mirror image of the American League, it won't be long that it too will become a home for long-range bombers.

At present, based in statistical reality — the PBA's collective style of play today is dramatically different than it was at the turn of the millennium, and the outside shot is slowly becoming the primary culprit.

But simply to ask "Does Meralco Bolts have enough shooters that can make those shots when needed?" is too boring a question. It’s more fun if it is taken one step further and ask, "Who is the most consistent three-point shooter in the Bolts last two games? In other words — who was integral today's three-point shooting games?

The first answer is as expected: Jimmy Alapag. However, the second best answer is unexpected: Reynel Hugnatan. The veteran forward has made a conscious effort to evolve his game in order to survive the modern warfare at the hard court and make himself more relevant.

The amiable 6-foot-4 player from Visayas sunk three of his four shots from the downtown area for a surprising 75.0 percent clip. Meanwhile, Alapag shoots five of his six shots for 83.3 percent, but that was already expected after the team captain suffered a short slump last conference.

Hugnatan was a revelation though. With no Gary David to help in the offensive end, the Bolts need somebody to be efficient because the 3-point shot has become such of a weapon for teams. With the dominance of import Allen Durham inside the paint, the Bolts want to space the floor (with shooters) and then that gives the inside players a better opportunity to get into the paint.

The game is changing. Even if a team has a dominant big – having good shooters around can makes the game so much easier for Meralco.

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