While the TNT KaTropa evened out its series against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last night, the Hotshots are currently on the wrong end of a sweep. This, despite leading by 17 at one point in Game 1, where the Bolts lived up to their reputation as comeback kids.
It's easy to pin the blame on Star import Kris Acox, who had a total of 16 points in two meetings, but the numbers say there is more to those crushing losses than the uninspiring play of their reinforcement.
Chito Victolero's wards had better put up extra shots after practice, because they kept missing the mark in both games (31.5%). The Hotshots didn't do justice to their name, shooting nine (2/21) and 29 percent (7/24), respectively, from the three-point line. Safe to say, they sorely miss Alex Mallari (NLEX), James Yap (RoS), and Allein Maliksi (Blackwater).
Pass the rock
The poor conversion may be attributed to Star having trouble moving the ball and hitting the open man. In Games 1 and 2, the team registered a combined 20 dimes, which is less than half of Meralco's. Losing one of its best passers, Paul Lee, to injury didn't help. The Hotshots must play as one unit in hopes of breaking down the Bolts defense.
In times like these, when their squad is down 0-2, the Star veterans—Mark Pingris, Peter Jun Simon, and Rafi Reavis—will be greatly relied upon. The problem is, the trio only have 20 markers between them. An offensive explosion from the Scoring Apostle or a classic stat-stuffing from Pinoy Sakuragi can boost the morale of a group that is on the brink of elimination.
At the end of the day, though, Acox will be the barometer for the Hotshots if they can bounce back in this near-hopeless case. The pair of subpar outings (he did grab 28 rebounds) just can't cut it versus reigning Governors' Cup Best Import Allen Durham.