PBA Saturday: A Battle Between Two Great Defensive Teams

TNT and Rain or Shine figure in a defensive battle, while Meralco and Converge duel on PBA Saturday.

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Photo from PBA Images

PBA Saturday Games (October 15, 2022)

Venue: Smart Araneta Coliseum

First Game: Meralco Bolts versus Converge FiberXers (4:30 PM)

Second Game: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters versus TNT Tropang Giga (6:45 PM)

Can Converge’s Defense Hold Up?

Meralco BoltsConverge FiberXers
Offensive Rating103.5 (9th)111.9 (2nd)
Defensive Rating103.9 (7th)110.5 (12th)
Pace75.5 (12th)81.7 (1st)
Standing1-2 (T-12th)1-2 (T-12th)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/14/2022)

Previous Games: Meralco won against the Terrafirma Dyip, 105-92; Converge lost to the Bay Area Dragons, 106-100

Converge has been a particularly good team on offense, ranking 2nd in offensive rating in their first three games under new head coach Aldin Ayo. Even though they’re pushing the pace to the max (1st in pace), they don’t turn the ball over as much — their average of 14.0 turnovers per game is only the 9th-most in the league. Quincy Miller has been a superb presence on offense, averaging a league-best 38.0 points on an excellent 58.9% True Shooting while constantly involving his teammates (4.0 assists).

But the FiberXers’ defense is woeful so far, as they’re giving up 108.3 points to their opponents, the second-worst mark in the league behind Terrafirma Dyip. This may have something to do with the heightened pace they’re playing, but Converge has to at least be average on defense to rack up the wins. There are capable defenders on this roster, so they do have the potential to be good on that end. Next up for Converge’s defense is a Meralco offense struggling without top playmaker Chris Newsome.

Top defensive teams battle it out

Rain or Shine Elasto PaintersTNT Tropang Giga
Offensive Rating104.8 (7th)110.2 (4th)
Defensive Rating99.5 (2nd)98.6 (1st)
Pace78.3 (10th)79.0 (8th)
Standing2-2 (T-5th)1-1 (8th)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/142022)

Previous Games: Rain or Shine lost to the San Miguel Beermen, 113-105; TNT won against the NorthPort Batang Pier, 117-93

Defense will be the name of the game between the Elasto Painters and the Tropang Giga, and it might boil down to the proverbial “better offense over good defense.” TNT import Cameron Oliver and the red-hot RR Pogoy conspired for 52 points of the team’s 117-93 win over NorthPort, and Mikey Williams produced a quiet 19-point outing in his return. But with Jayson Castro reportedly missing more time, who would be the fourth spark for TNT? Calvin Oftana has the scoring prowess but he’s yet to produce a good-shooting game.

On the Rain or Shine side, it’s a relief that Rey Nambatac finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. After norming a paltry 7.7 points in his first three games, Nambatac recently produced 19 markers without turnovers, albeit in a losing effort against SMB. Steve Taylor Jr. is putting up steady numbers but he is not the most dynamic scoring import out there. Their tremendous defense will help them keep up with the elite teams, but the Elasto Painters need more players to step up their game on the offensive end.

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