The Mahindra Floodbuster are welcoming the new year with a bang.
On Wednesday, Mahindra came out of the game like a team possessed, as they shot three-pointers left and right, en route to their 105-92 win over the sliding Meralco Bolts in the 2017 Oppo PBA Philippine Cup.
Philip Paniamogan led the way with an eye-popping performance of 25 points and get this: he shot 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. For one half, he was perfect from the floor. He shot his shot and found his mark early on.
It was certainly a breakout performance for Paniamogan who has turned out to be a revelation for the young Mahindra squad. But it wasn’t just Paniamogan. As a whole, the Floodbuster shot amazing from deep. They hit a franchise record 21 three-pointers out of 47 attempts. They kept shooting from rainbow country as Meralco’s defense was scrambling just to get a hand up.
“Coming into this game, we’ve really adapted to an up-tempo [style], looking for easy quick threes, early transition, and a level of confidence in shooting due to our excessive skills preparation,” said Mahindra coach Chris Gavina.
Prior to this game, Mahindra’s highest number of attempts from the three-point line was at 29 when they faced the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. In that game back in November, they only knocked down five triples for 17.2 percent.
In Wednesday’s game, we saw a different kind of Mahindra as they’ve grown to be a team that’s really looking to be more decisive in their shots from the perimeter.
“Our guys have been really buying into coming in early, staying in late. So our commitment for hard work, preparation, all came in today,” Gavina added.
Plus, it also helps that they have somebody like Alex Mallari who can be a smart ball handler and shot creator for his team. Mallari ended up with 11 assists as he attracted defenders and dished the ball to his teammates at the most opportune time. If Mallari continues to penetrate and be aggressive, he can be an all-around weapon that would create more scoring opportunities for Mahindra. Aside from his assists, Mallari also notched 13 points and six rebounds.
It’ll be interesting to see if Mahindra maintains their up-tempo, perimeter-heavy offense. They may have found their targets on Wednesday, but can they do it consistently? Paniamogan shot 7-for-9, but his other teammates didn’t really exactly do a phenomenal job shooting the basketball. Save for Mark Yee, Russel Escoto, and Nico Salva (who all had at least two threes), the other Mahindra players shot blanks from deep. Mallari was 1-for-6, Jason Deutchman at 3-for-8, Ryan Arana with 1-for-4 shooting, and Michael Digregorio shot 28 percent. As they say – live by the three and die by the three. As long as Mahindra shoots an efficient clip from downtown, they’ll be dangerous team.
For Meralco, they really have to pick it up if they want to stay competitive this conference. They’ve now lost five straight games and this particular loss was a rude awakening for them. They allowed Paniamogan to have a career game and let Mahindra shoot the lights out from deep. This isn’t to discredit Paniamogan, but a lot of his shots were wide open thanks to the penetration of Mahindra’s guards. The Bolts were incredibly slow in their rotations leaving wide open jumpers to not just Paniamogan, but to the entire Mahindra roster.
Reynel Hugnatan had 28 points while Chris Newsome put up 19 points and eight assists in the losing effort.
Meralco now slides to a 2-6 record while Mahindra, now winners of two straight ball games, are now 2-5 in the standings.
MAHINDRA 105 – Paniamogan 25, Mallari 13, Deutchman 13, Salva 13, Digregorio 11, Escoto 10, Yee 8, Elorde 4, Ballesteros 3, Arana 3, Revilla 2, Celda 0, Nimes 0, Eriobu 0, Teng 0.
MERALCO 92 – Hugnatan 28, Newsome 19, Amer 12, Faundo 9, Uyloan 8, Daquioag 6, Grey 3, Caram 2, Chua 2, Nabong 2, Hodge 1, Buenafe 0.
Quarterscores: 25-24, 52-42, 73-64, 105-92