The teams traded blows all throughout the match and delighted fans with inspired play, ending in a crucial 87-83 win for Ginebra. Even if it wasn't the prettiest of games, both squads showed the grit and passion that seemed lacking in the first four blowouts.
The Barangay now holds a 3-2 series lead and hopes to clinch the championship tonight, while the Beermen look to force a decisive Game 7. The sister teams sure have learned a lot from the previous meetings and expect their respective coaching staffs to pull all the necessary stops to seal the deal for each side.
Ginebra and SMB might want to focus on the following aspects of their game plans to gain advantage from bitter rivals.
SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
Attack the basket
In Game 5, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Arwind Santos combined for just three made three-point shots on 23 attempts. Their frustration showed when they kept jacking up threes even when the basket seemed to have a lid on it. With their athleticism, the Beermen should drive to the hole more often and try to set up June Mar Fajardo for easy shots inside.
Avoid foul trouble
Even if they didn't get the benefit of the call in the last game, San Miguel had to adjust its defense when some of them racked up penalties in the early going. Ginebra then capitalized by being more aggressive, going 15 for 18 as a team on the free-throw line, and took advantage of the gimmes presented by a sometimes timid defense.
Use Christian Standhardinger
Standhardinger is a hardworking 6'8" power forward/center that does all the dirty work and and can play alongside either Renaldo Balkman and Fajardo, affording one of them a rest. So why only play the Fil-German nine minutes in a crucial game? It just doesn't make sense. Coach Leo Austria should utilize Standhardinger better to preserve his main bigs for the endgame.
BARANGAY GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL
Play at their pace
Any Tim Cone-led squad is a half-court set team because of the system that he has in place, which is what the Barangay did in Game 5—methodically probing the Beermen's defense. More of this is to be expected in the next outing, as Ginebra tries to force San Miguel to adjust to a slower pace and be bogged down in a defensive battle.
Spread the wealth
Again Ginebra did this in game 5. Four Gin Kings ended in double figures, with Joe Devance and Japeth Aguilar falling two points short each. Largely dependent on import Justin Brownlee, the locals did a good job alleviating some of the pressure on him with more than decent scoring performances. In fact, Scottie Thompson led Ginebra with 20 points.
Get Jeff Chan going
Chan is one of the most feared shooters in the PBA. The lefty from Bacolod should be providing an outside option for the Barangay, however, he's done nothing of note so far. Rediscovering his touch could be the final piece of the puzzle for Ginebra. Never count out a former Finals MVP who has the ability to become hot at any minute.