Saturday’s 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup games will feature a battle between the Bay Area Dragons and the NorthPort Batang Pier, followed by the match between the Phoenix Super LPG and Blackwater Bossing.
Let’s look at some of the interesting numbers heading into these games, starting with the Dragons’ offensive efficiency in their first official PBA game.
It was against a hapless Blackwater side, but Bay Area flexed their might in their first game. Spearheaded by Myles Powell’s 41 markers, the Dragons produced a tremendous 68.9% true shooting percentage as a team. They normed a 55% overall clip from the field, including 41% (16-of-39) from the three-point line and 88% (23-of-26) from the charity stripe.
Bay Area also took care of the ball well (only 9 turnovers), and pounced on their opponent’s mistakes. They forced Blackwater to 14 turnovers, from which they converted to 28 points. Next up for Bay Area is the NorthPort defense, which ranked second-worst in defensive rating during the 2022 Philippine Cup, and one that just lost its best defender (Jamie Malonzo).
During their close-call victory against Phoenix, NorthPort shot more three-pointers (14-of-44) than two-pointers (21-of-41). This isn’t surprising at all, since this team has always had a green light to launch from beyond the arc. NorthPort ranked 2nd in three-point attempts (35.1) last conference, from which they converted a fourth-best 32.1%.
There’s no doubt that the Batang Pier will keep shooting from long-range, as they don’t have much of an inside presence, particularly in the low post. Prince Ibeh gives them a lob threat and a capable rim protector on the other end of the floor, but he is not a score-first import, having averaged only 13.7 points in his first go-around with NorthPort in 2018.
Three-point shooting is the Batang Pier’s MO, which could be the reason why Arwind Santos averaged a career-high 9.0 three-point attempts last conference, and why newly-acquired sharpshooter Arvin Tolentino is a suitable fit for this team. It’s on defense that they struggle, and they’ll get tested when they go up against Powell and the Dragons on Saturday.