The San Miguel Beermen and Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters are probably really sick of each other already. For the third straight conference, SMB and ROS are meeting again in the semifinals, and, for the third straight time, Rain or Shine will try not to be on the business end of San Miguel’s boot.
The Beermen were responsible for eliminating the Painters in the 2015 Governors’ Cup semis, 3-1. SMB repeated that feat in the 2015-2016 Philippine Cup semis, 4-2. Now coach Yeng Guiao takes another swing at the team that has broken the Painters’ hearts more times than they care to admit, and they better win else they strike out, which means they’ll probably have to change their team in a big way moving forward (BTW, Tropang TNT needs to do that as well).
Aside from bad blood and payback, however, another interesting aspect of this series will be the showdown at shooting guard between two of the country’s best snipers: SMB’s Marcio Lassiter and ROS’s Jeff Chan.
Both are among the league’s deadliest three-point bombers, making a combined 5.6 triples per game, and both are on the Gilas 4.0 pool as the consensus top two choices to split the time at shooting guard for coach Tab Baldwin. Needless to say, how they fare against each other may serve as a barometer of how this series can go.
Let’s see how they stack up in terms of their Commish Cup numbers:
Marcio: 15.0ppg, 4.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.0spg, 3.4 triples per game, 43.1 3pt%, 40.9 FG%
Jeff: 13.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.7apg, 2.2 triples per game, 41.8 3pt%, 48.4 FG%
If we’ll base it purely on stats, it seems Marcio is clearly ahead of Jeff. The Fil-Am scores more, rebounds more, has more assists, hits more threes, and is flatly more efficient.
There’s a caveat, though, and it’s minutes per game. Marcio has averaged 37.2 minutes per game so far this conference, while Jeff only plays a little more than 22 minutes on the floor. Given that disparity, this is how their comparative stats would look like per 40 minutes of action:
Marcio: 16.1pts, 4.6rebs, 3.4asts, 3.7 triples per 40 minutes
Jeff: 24.1pts, 5.3rebs, 3.0asts, 3.9 triples per 40 minutes
Wow. See the difference?
In theory, if Marcio and Jeff played the same amount of minutes, Jeff should leave Marcio in the dust. In reality, however, is that what we’ve seen this season every time the Beermen face off against the Painters?
In terms of head-to-head match-ups this season (8 games so far), here are their stats:
Marcio: 15.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.0apg, 2.8 triples per game, 41.5 3pt%, 44.4 FG%
Jeff: 11.1ppg, 1.9rpg, 1.7apg, 1.4 triples per game, 32.4 3pt%, 43.5 FG%
What’s on paper and in theory isn’t always what happens in reality, and this is what we see here. Marcio is 4 years younger than Jeff, and the former can afford to play a lot more minutes. He can effectively contribute more for the Beermen, while Chan, despite being limited by his playing time, won’t necessarily put up big numbers just because he’ll get more minutes. When ranged against each other, Marcio has proven to have the edge probably because coach Yeng is forced to throw more than one defender at the former Cal St.-Fullerton player. Marcio can hurt teams in many ways, and ROS has to adjust to that. That means the Painters have to sacrifice Jeff’s offense so they put other wingmen in to try and put the clamps on Marcio — guys like Jericho Cruz, Chris Tiu, or Jireh Ibañes.
It’ll be interesting to see how things transpire when these two super shooting guards play against each other in this series. Marcio is the player who is more active on both ends of the floor, and he certainly possesses the more varied skill-set. Chan, though, can lean on his tons more experience to come up big when it counts the most. The FEU alum may not be as athletic or as versatile as Marcio, but the Negros native has made a living sinking all-important shots in crunch time.
If I had a gun to my head, I’d pick Marcio over Jeff, unless, of course, I could play Jeff for 40 minutes without having to mind the fact he’s already 33 years old. – By Enzo Flojo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @hoopnut