Now that the dust has settled after the historic 2016 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, SPIN.ph digs deeper into the numbers to show how the crown was won by the San Miguel Beermen after falling behind 0-3 in the series against the Alaska Aces.
The numbers aim to show what went well for the Aces and what didn’t work for the Beermen in the first three games, then highlight what changed in the next four. Specifically, SPIN.ph checks on the performances of key players from each squad — who stood out, who bombed, and who served as game changers in the middle of the series — starting with Alaska.
*Legend: PTS – Points; %FG – Field Goal Percentage; 3PTM – Three pointers made; %3PT – Three point shooting percentage; REB – Rebounds; OReb – Offensive Rebounds; AST – Assists; STL – Steals; BLK – Blocks; TO – Turnovers
Stud: Vic Manuel
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 18.3 PTS, 58.1% FG, 8.4 REB (2.6 OReb), 1.4 AST, 0.4 STL, 0.9 BLK, 1.4 TO in 27 minutes
In Alaska’s three wins: 19.7 PTS, 63.4% FG, 6.3 REB (1.7 OReb), 1.7 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO in 24.7 minutes
In Alaska’s four losses: 17.3 PTS, 53.8% FG, 10 REB (3.3 OReb), 1.3 AST, 0 STL, 0.8 BLK, 1.8 TO in 28.8 minutes
After Game 3, Manuel had the strongest case for the Finals MVP plum with stellar numbers and leading all players in scoring and efficiency while playing less than 25 minutes a game. Even up to Game 6, the 'Muscle Man' was the best player on the floor despite being on the losing end, and even increased his rebounding output regardless of SMB star June Mar Fajardo’s return. An ankle sprain, though, limited him in the most important game of the series, hobbling to just three points on 1-of-7 shooting in Game 7 with five rebounds in 22 minutes. But despite that bad game, Manuel is undeniably a stud — the brightest spot in the gloomy end for the Aces’ failed championship run.
Stud to Dud: Cyrus Baguio
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 8.9 PTS, 32.5% FG, 1.6 3PTM, 29.7% 3PT, 5.7 REB (2.6 OReb), 1.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.1 BLK, 1.6 TO in 27 minutes
In Alaska’s three wins: 12.3 PTS, 51.7% FG, 2.3 3PTM, 58.3% 3PT, 5 REB (2.7 OReb), 1.3 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 1.7 TO in 28 minutes
In Alaska’s four losses: 6.3 PTS, 20.8% FG, 1 3PTM, 16 3% 3PT, 6.3 REB (2.5 OReb), 2 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.3 BLK, 1.5 TO in 26 minutes
Look at that split again and the difference is obvious. In Alaska’s wins, Baguio provided the hot shooting that made space for Manuel and the Aces bigs to operate down low. Then from Games 4 to 7, his shot went ice cold (from 51.7% to 20.8%). And it didn’t help Alaska’s cause that Baguio kept chucking from deep, taking two more shots beyond the arc than his average attempts in the first three games (hitting just 1 of 6 triples per game in Games 4 to 7). Baguio fell head over heels with the outside shot that he only managed just one free throw attempt the entire series, and took more shots from deep than inside the paint in the final four games (21 threes, 20 drives).
Dud: Sonny Thoss
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 6.4 PTS, 34.5% FG, 5.7 REB (1.7 OReb), 1.4 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.9 BLK, 1.6 TO in 25 minutes
In Alaska’s three wins: 6.7 PTS, 42.9% FG, 3.7 REB (0.7 OReb), 1 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 1.7 TO in 22 minutes
In Alaska’s four losses: 6.3 PTS, 29.7% FG, 7.3 REB (2.5 OReb), 1.8 AST, 0.3 STL, 1 BLK, 1.5 TO in 26.5 minutes
This was a tough call between two of Alaska’s starters for the first 6 games, JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss. But to be fair to Casio, the point guard actually improved his performance in the last four games after starting out cold. Thoss, though, played atrocious in Alaska’s wins and shot even worse in their losses (from 42.9% to 29.7%). Granted, Fajardo’s return could have played a factor here but then again, when your starting center averages the same rebounds as the starting shooting guard, it’s safe to say the big man bombed.
For the Beermen, there really are no duds for a team that just made history. These men, though, played key roles in their momentous feat.
Dud to Stud: Arwind Santos
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 11.3 PTS, 29% FG, 1.4 3PTM, 21.7% 3PT, 10.9 REB (2.4 OReb), 1.9 AST, 1.4 STL, 1.9 BLK, 2.4 TO in 36 minutes
In SMB’s three losses: 7.7 PTS, 22% FG, 0.7 3PTM, 10.5% 3PT, 7.7 REB (1 OReb), 1.7 AST, 1 STL, 1.7 BLK, 2.7 TO in 32 minutes
In SMB’s four wins: 14 PTS, 33.9% FG, 2 3PTM, 29.6 3% 3PT, 13.3 REB (3.5 OReb), 2 AST, 1.8 STL, 2 BLK, 2.3 TO in 39 minutes
The most obvious beneficiary of Fajardo’s return was Arwind Santos, who improved every facet of his performance after Game 3. He exploded with his best stat line in Game 5, coincidentally Fajardo’s first game back after suffering a knee scare. Santos doubled up in scoring, rebounds, three point makes, and steals, while improving his blocks and shooting (his percentages aren’t that impressive but just look at how horrid his clip was in the first three games).
Surprise Stud: June Mar Fajardo
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 16.7 PTS, 50% FG, 8.7 REB (3 OReb), 0.7 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.7 BLK, 2.3 TO in 22 minutes (Games 5 to 7 only)
To call the back-to-back MVP a stud is not surprising. His quick comeback, though, in Game 5 is the second best surprise of the series. (We’ll get to the first in a bit.) The biggest impact of Fajardo’s return is on defense, where SMB limited Alaska to 35.8% FG in the last four games after starting out the first three with a shooting clip of 45.6%. Plus the Beermen also had a huge boost in rebounds, winning the rebounding battle of the final three games that Fajardo patrolled the paint.
Dud to Finals MVP Stud: Chris Ross
PBA Philippine Cup Finals average: 8.4 PTS, 37.3% FG, 0.6 3PTM, 23.5% 3PT, 4.6 REB (1.3 OReb), 4.4 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 3.1 TO in 29.4 minutes
In SMB’s three losses: 3.7 PTS, 37.5% FG, 0 3PTM, 0% 3PT, 2 REB (0 OReb), 2.3 AST, 0 STL, 0.3 BLK, 1.7 TO in 16.7 minutes
In SMB’s four wins: 12 PTS, 37.2% FG, 1 3PTM, 30.8 3% 3PT, 6.5 REB (2.3 OReb), 6 AST, 2.3 STL, 0.3 BLK, 4.3 TO in 39 minutes
The best surprise of the series is no less than the Finals MVP Chris Ross. SMB coach Leo Austria doesn’t like to mess with his rotations, but in a stunning twist, he switched Ross with Marcio Lassiter, trusting the journeyman with heavy minutes. And the gamble richly paid off for the Beermen, especially in the winner-take-all match. Ross missed his first 11 attempts from beyond the arc the entire series before hitting 4-of-6 from downtown in Game 7. The staggering jump in playing time gave Ross all the confidence he needed not just to improve his numbers but to take over and help the Beermen achieve history.