PBA Primer: Can a New Import Save Meralco’s Playoff Hopes?

Can the Meralco Bolts keep their playoff hopes alive?

Photo from PBA Images

PBA Saturday Games (October 29, 2022)

Venue: Ynares Center-Antipolo

First Game: Meralco Bolts versus San Miguel Beermen (4:30 PM)

Second Game: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters versus Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots (6:45 PM)

Struggling meralco brings In new import

Meralco BoltsSan Miguel Beermen
Offensive Rating103.5 (9th)110.2 (4th)
Defensive Rating109.3 (9th)110.0 (11th)
Pace74.9 (12th)80.2 (3rd)
Standing1-5 (12th)3-3 (T-7th)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/28/2022)

Previous Games: Meralco lost to Rain or Shine, 113-96; SMB won against NorthPort Batang Pier, 104-86

With their playoff hopes steadily dwindling, Meralco is bringing in a new import in Jessie Govan. We can’t answer if Govan is the solution to the Bolts’ problems, but the team’s offense could take a new form. Johnny O’Bryant, their former import, shot an average of 8.8 three-point attempts. He likes to trail plays to scour for catch-and-shoot opportunities, which means that a significant chunk of Meralco’s offense with O’Bryant started from the perimeter.

Govan doesn’t shoot outside as much as O’Bryant. In his most recent stints in the Korean Basketball League and the Puerto Rican Baloncesto Superior Nacional, Govan only averaged 1.5 attempts from beyond the arc. We may see the Bolts pound the ball inside with Govan and if they could take advantage of the mismatches they’ll create, their 9th-ranked offensive rating could see a much-needed improvement.

can lee keep the Fire going?

Rain or Shine Elasto PaintersMagnolia Hotshots
Offensive Rating103.9 (8th)110.7 (3rd)
Defensive Rating102.5 (4th)103.5 (5th)
Pace78.0 (9th)77.8 (10th)
Standing3-4 (T-9th)5-1 (2nd)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/28/2022)

Previous Games: Rain or Shine lost to Phoenix Super LPG, 92-83; Magnolia lost to Barangay Ginebra, 103-97

Magnolia chalked up their first loss in six games as they succumbed to a furious Ginebra rally last Sunday. They lost hold of the top spot in the standings, but there’s no question that Magnolia is one of the most complete teams in both offense and defense this conference.

There was also a silver lining in that Ginebra loss, as Paul Lee caught fire from deep, making six of his nine three-point attempts. The veteran shooting guard has been hot and cold in the Hotshots’ current campaign, turning in a good outing and then following it up with an abysmal shooting display the next game. But despite the inconsistencies in his overall scoring output, Lee is actually shooting well from three-point land, hitting 39% of his 6.3 attempts.

Lee is his team’s only real threat from beyond the arc. Mark Barroca, who averages the second-highest 3PT attempts (3.5) among Magnolia players, is only norming a 24% clip. Even though the Hotshots mostly operate from inside the arc (league-lowest 25.0 3PT attempts), they still need Lee’s consistent outside shooting to stretch the defense.

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