PBA Wednesday Primer: Streaking TNT Goes Up Against Struggling NLEX

On PBA Wednesday, the streaking TNT squad will face the struggling NLEX, while Phoenix battle a Meralco team desperate for a win.

pba wednesday
Photo from PBA Images

PBA Wednesday Games (October 19, 2022)

Venue: PhilSports Arena

First Game: Meralco Bolts versus Phoenix Super LPG (3:00 PM)

Second Game: TNT Tropang Giga versus NLEX Road Warriors (5:45 PM)

Can Meralco’s Offense Catch Up?

Meralco BoltsPhoenix Super LPG
Offensive Rating104.3 (7th)99.6 (13th)
Defensive Rating106.4 (7th)100.3 (3rd)
Pace75.9 (11th)79.8 (5th)
Standing1-3 (12th)2-3 (T-9th)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/18/2022)

Previous Games: Meralco lost to Converge FiberXers, 106-99; Phoenix won against Barangay Ginebra, 101-93

After losing their first three games in the 2022 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Fuel Master have won their last two, putting them in contention for a spot in the playoffs. Tyler Tio and Javee Mocon have been consistently good, and it looks like import Kaleb Wesson is getting more comfortable as he plays more games. In Phoenix’s two wins, Wesson is averaging 18.5 points on 52% shooting from the field, along with 19.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. He isn’t getting boatloads of buckets like other high-scoring imports, but he’s putting himself in the right spots to make plays for his teammates.

On the other side, Meralco will have to find a way to be more efficient on offense, especially against a Phoenix team that ranks third in the league in defensive rating. Chris Newsome, who will reportedly sit out for two more weeks, left some big shoes to fill. On a more positive note, the Bolts are getting their shooters many clean looks from the three-point line, especially when Johnny O’Bryant trails a play or when they free up Allein Maliksi through multiple off-ball screens.

Tropang Giga Looking to Book 3rd straight win

TNT Tropang GigaNLEX Road Warriors
Offensive Rating110.5 (4th)103.6 (8th)
Defensive Rating96.3 (1st)108.6 (10th)
Pace80.2 (4th)79.4 (6th)
Standing2-1 (3rd)2-2 (T-6th)
*Stats per RealGM (as of 10/18/2022)

Previous Games: TNT won against Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 110-91; NLEX lost to Magnolia Hotshots, 111-97

Even with a couple of their defensive specialists (Glenn Khobuntin and Ryan Reyes) sitting out, the Tropang Giga has been tremendous on defense. They’re exerting great effort on rotating and closing out on shooters, as they hold opponents to a league-worst 27.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Since Mikey Williams entered the picture, the offense is never a big problem for TNT. It helps that RR Pogoy is hitting a scintillating 62% of his 8.7 three-point attempts per game, but let’s see if he could keep that percentage to at least 45% all conference long.

NLEX didn’t have much going on in their last game, especially with the Magnolia defense bottling up Earl Clark. They’ll be going up against a first-rate TNT defense, so things are not looking up for the Road Warriors. They are currently on a two-game losing streak, and they have TNT and San Miguel for their next assignments. NLEX just might end up in the bottom of the standings after this week’s games.

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