SMB’s keys to unravel TNT

San Miguel goes back to the drawing board after their Game 1 loss. (Photo courtesy of PBA)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

STOPS, communication on defense, shot selection, ball movement, interior mismatches.

These were the things that did not go SMB’s way during their game 1 defeat against the TNT KaTropa in the finals of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The veteran SMB team seemed fazed by the confidence TNT brought into the game led by super import Terrence Jones.

As the game progressed, SMB had numerous lapses which led them to their game 1 loss, uncharacteristic for a veteran team like SMB.

First of all, San Miguel paid too much attention to Jones leading to open looks for TNT’s gunners Jayson Castro and Roger Pogoy.

Second, Coach Leo Austria’s tactic of placing Standhardinger as Jones’ primary defender backfired.

Standhardinger, a more mobile big man than Fajardo, started and was given more playing time in the first half.

This should be the perfect time for SMB’s frontcourt to assert dominance with the TNT squad still missing Kelly Williams and Harvey Carey for minor injuries.

What happened in game 1 was unusual for SMB. Usually the bullies on the block, the beermen seemed intimidated by Jones and even appeared passive against Troy Rosario.

Expect Fajardo to have a bounce back performance in the next game.

SMB should also apply better ball distribution and steer away from too much isolation plays.

Oftentimes, McCullough held the ball too long sizing up his defenders.

McCullough had the killer mentality but unfortunately only converted a few of his attempts, shooting a very low percentage.

With SMB being a veteran team and still favorites to win the title, adjustments are sure to be made in game 2 as both titans clash today, 7 p.m.