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    Let's count down fun facts from this TNT-SMB title showdown from 1 to 10

    Jun 21, 2017
    An intense battle looms between TNT and SMB for the Commissioner's Cup title but there are trivial facts that make the matchup more interesting. Jaime Campos

    SEVEN-GAME series, two powerhouse teams, one common goal.

    Those are just some of the numbers that matter when San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa collide in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals starting in Game One on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    Here are 10 more numbers that have significance in the battle between the flagship franchises of the SMC and MVP groups:

    10 – Assists Chris Ross dished out against the Texters in the eliminations. It’s a given that the SMB star playmaker is going to continue involving his teammates, but expect the back-to-back Philippine Cup Finals MVP to shift his own offense into higher gear in his favorite time of the season.

    9 – The margin of TNT’s win over SMB in the regular. The Texters’ 112-103 win last May 5, however, is hardly an indication of how the title series will go down as both squads fielded completely different rosters then. Gilas standouts June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and Troy Rosario were absent due to national duty, while Donte Greene was still the Texters import.

    8 – The number of conferences the Beermen have been under coach Leo Austria, who’s seeking to steer them to their fifth championship in that span. The Texters, on the other hand, have only been with Nash Racela for two conferences, highlighting the difference of their chemistry and experience together.

    7 – Jayson Castro is looking for his seventh PBA championship. While insisting he has been taking what the defense has been giving him – setting up teammates when seeing double-teams, the nine-year veteran must pick up from where he left off in the Final Four series-clinching win against Ginebra last Saturday when he dropped 38 points, 11 assists, seven boards, and two steals in 35 minutes.

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    6 –Conferences since TNT last made the finals. The Texters are eager to reclaim lost glory after a string of uncharacteristic early exits. But it’s been 16 years since the Beermen won their last championship in the midseason tournament, making them equally motivated to capture the crown that will keep their Grand Slam bid alive.

    [See Let's take a closer look at key stats as PBA Finals turn into offense vs defense]

    5 – Joshua Smith is TNT’s fifth import this conference. With the way the 6-foot-9, 330-pound big man has been anchoring the Texters, it won’t be a surprise if TNT is hoping the team won’t have to use its sixth reinforcement in Mike Myers. Smith, efficiently putting up numbers limited minutes due to either injury or foul trouble, is up against a more mobile Charles Rhodes.

    4 –Triples Anthony Semerad buried inside the last six minutes of Game Three of the semifinals against Ginebra. The Filipino-American defense-oriented wingman could provide another offensive punch if the Beermen will take him for granted.

    3 – Offensive categories which SMB topped in the eliminations – points (108.5), field-goal percent (47.3), and three-point conversions (10.2). The points won’t be hard to come by for the Beermen; it’s their defense they will have to focus on against a fellow offensive juggernaut in the Texters, who finished second behind SMB in scoring (105.3) and three-point makes (9.9), and third in field-goal percent at 44.8%.

    2 – Brother matchups in series. Anthony and David Semerad, and Ranidel and Yancy de Ocampo set their affinity aside first as they try to help their respective squads in their quest for supremacy.

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    1 – Don’t forget that Kelly Williams is a one-time league MVP, who’s having another resurgent campaign for the Texters. How well the Filipino-American slotman performs – providing an offensive boost and matching up defensively against June Mar Fajardo – could be a barometer for the Texters’ success.

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    An intense battle looms between TNT and SMB for the Commissioner's Cup title but there are trivial facts that make the matchup more interesting. Jaime Campos
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