This is a visualization of word search over the internet on the two team protagonists in the past conference.

Analyze the words all you want on how the internet views the two teams. No right, no wrong opinions here.


Petron Blaze Boosters Word Search Cloud

Talk and Text Tropang Texters Word Search Cloud

Clouds courtesy of Tagxedo.

Mark Yee Leads in Stats

We all know basketball is a highly physical game but not shall we say, sexually.

After Mark Yee’s very defensive act against Anthony Grundy, Yee’s name is on top of the following departments:

  • Youtube hits per minute
  • Facebook comments per status
  • Tweet per Philippine sports personality and media

Numbers are still being finalized as Yee’s values are still trending.

Ginebra’s 6th Man: Tough Meat or Just a Myth?

There are two names to the title of the greatest free throw shooter, Ted St. Martin and Dr. Tom Amberry. Both claim they can shoot from the line with 100% precision up to 5,221 consecutive free throws as with the case of Mr. St. Martin. Dr. Amberry’s record of making consecutive 2,750 free throws within 12 hours is still something of amazing.

But in those events, the free throw shooter does not have the kind of pressure given to a ball player when he is up against the loyal home crowd or in the PBA scene, the kind of booing serviced by the wild Barangay Ginebra crowd.

Bo Perasol, as quoted by Rafe Bartolomew in Pacific Rims, defined going up against Ginebra as “versus the Philippines.” In this condition, the coach is counting the Barangay Ginebra crowd as an important factor in playing basketball opposite Ginebra. In the on-going PBA finals, a Philstar blogger considered the impact of the Ginebra fans as one of the elements of the series.

When Ginebra collected their multitudes of followers, the basketball public has believed the importance of the Barangay crowd. Apparently, if your team is scheduled to play with Ginebra, it seems you are a visitor in their home gym. But it does not mean, the home team always win in a home game. If that is the case, Ginebra would always be the champion in any given conference in any given season. For in any game, there is a defender to any offensive player who is playing for the home team. There is a tough match-up or a defensive plan to stop the scorers of the home team. So, the impact of the Ginebra crowd might not be measured with the on-going sequences of plays where the time is running.

Following the lead of Scorecasting, where the authors point to the trip to the 15th foot line as a measure of the impact of the crowd whether the shooter fails or succeeds in making those free shots. This analysis is practical, since at the line, between the shooter and the cup are the fans either rooting for the fouled player or fans trying to  distract the focus of the shooter.

The table below provides the average FT% numbers of games played against Ginebra. So far, I have only collected game statistics from the last season up to the present.

When it comes to playoff games, the average FT% of the opponents are much higher than Ginebra’s except for this conference. Keep in mind, during playoffs, the Barangay crowd are always in full force. For close games, decided by less than or equal five points margin, Ginebra’s FT% was higher than their rivals except for the 2nd conference of the last season. For all games played, the average FT% of Ginebra’s opposition are higher than the crowd favorite. In the present season, Ginebra tops their opponents in FT%.

The overall average FT% of 68.28% of Ginebra compared to their hardcourt challengers’ 66.85% are almost equal. The difference is just above 1%. This means when a Ginebra player is at the line, he does not feel the advantage of being cheered for by the crowd. It also means that when a player of the team against Ginebra is at the line, he does not feel the pressure of being distracted or being heckled by the noisy and loyal Ginebra followers.

There might be only five players a PBA team plays when it goes up against Ginebra in a game night. Ginebra’s 6th man is not a tough meat, it might be just another myth.

Tale of the Tape: BGK vs TNT

Just like boxing, I looked into the numbers of the last two teams standing for the conference championship. The table below provides the parameters.

Offensively, Talk and Text has the upper hand. One, they have a greater offensive efficiency. Second, counting all field goals, TnT’s eFG is much higher than BGK. Third, BGK lags with TnT in getting to the foul line and in making those needed free throws. Fourth, TnT uses less possessions per game but are more efficient in recording points per possession. Fifth, they dish out more assist per possession in each game. On the other side of the court, another key weapon for TnT is their capability to collar those defensive rebounds — this means TnT’s defense can make the opposing team missed their shots and get the defensive board.

BGK allows less points per game for the opponent. They also commit fewer turnovers every time they have the ball on their side. BGK has lesser WA (with award) fouls called in each game, having a lesser WA will not allow a higher FTR team, like TnT, go to the line as much. BGK has more offensive rebound percentage in their games, though this accounts they have missed a lot of first chance points/shots in the first place. With a higher OREB%, BGK is in a head to head collision when they play TnT who has a higher DREB%, so we have battle here — battle of the boards.

The numbers offer that this championship match up gives pressures to both teams. The team who will use their strengths to benefit from the other team’s weaknesses will win. This will be an exciting finals.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

PS — Talk and Text will win.

Pouring Down of SMB

The past days were my first week in my new work. So, let me share my experience.

I felt like Dondon — always on target. I was the Dynamite Danny who has his eyes on the goal. Dorian is my name as I can get into the middle, into the thick of things. My ID says “Artadi” as I can quickly get on the scramble of the work and project discussion.


I have been doing this kind of work for the past ten or more years (tanda ko na!). I am familiar with the systems, the software programs being used, and the various kind of studies done in the consulting services which this company hired me for. I am a seasoned veteran. I’m not a rookie.

I am not like a Rabeh who is the new guy down the office. Or a Baclao who is finding how to do this or how to do that. Nor a Rey G. who still wonders if this is the right move for him.

As discussed by “parang” college boys yet credible discussion in a tambayan, (the description is not mine!) the SMB management maybe at fault with the downfall of SMB in the current conference. I believe they hit the bullseye. This is the lowest winning percentage marked by SMB in the past seven years, as shown in the graph below.

From the figure, a steep downhill is observed at the end of the line. From placing 2nd in the last conference to locating themselves in a rank used to be reserved only for Barako Bulls, the basement. We don’t need deep sports science to analyze this one. SMB front office pulled a “Creative Destruction” economic theory with the blockbuster trade. They triggered a — in with the new and out with old tactic. Getting new players, rookies, in exchange of seasoned veterans who were foundations of the team. Rabeh can’t fill the shoes of Danny Seigle, for now. Baclao, who is all sticks, is not like Dorian who is all meat. Dondon is considered to play again for the Philippine national team and Rey Guevarra? He is not considered to play… Ato Agustin.

Who doesn’t like new? But be warned. The reliability bath tub curve gives you a higher failure rate with the new stuff and lower failure rate for the not so old stuff. As you employ new players (Rabeh and company) to the team, who are also new to the league, expect a higher unreliability. When you employ new players to the team, who are not new to the league, expect a higher reliability (Dondon et al). SMB fans will hope that time will come where the rookies will pass the infant mortality stage and play like warriors in their random failure phase. And this takes a lot of practice, familiarity and time.

The great John Wooden said, “We tend to forget that all good things take time.” SMB fans hope Rabeh, Baclao and Rey Guevarra are part of the good things. In the meantime, SMB is pouring down.

Star Player According to Roe

Rafe Bartolomew wrote in his famous book, “Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball“, about Roselle “Roe” Ellis’ frustration on Alaska players when he was playing with them as an import, which I am assuming was in 2007. Roe was madly concern as his local teammates were not really serious in getting the job done and win games. One statement of Roe that darted Willie Miller’s way was this:

“Willie thinks he’s a star, but if he’s so great why he has been traded two times?”

Roe’s evaluation of a PBA star player weighed on how a team valued a player and not trade him to other teams. A star player, in this case, may play for a team for the rest of his career or for a long time and have supporting role players built around him, at least in his prime.

In a new book, Scorecasting, the authors defined an NBA star player as someone who has been voted within the top ten of the MVP balloting in a given season. Wages of Wins, a blog about NBA players production metric evaluates a star player according to the player’s wins produced.

Let us focus on Roe’s measure. During that time, Miller has played with Red Bull and Talk and Text before coming into the Alaska’s roster. As of this writing, Miller is playing for Barangay Ginebra Kings, his fourth team in his 10th PBA season. On the other hand, Willie has garnered 12 PBA awards including winning the MVP twice, two Best Player of Conferences and various Mythical Team memberships.

Currently, there are many PBA players who have been traded with four different teams. As shown in the word cloud below, created from Wordle, Willie Miller is in the company of many, with Rich Alvarez and Mark Telan as top honors for having played for seven teams.

So who are the star players according to Roe? I offer the graph below of some notable PBA players. With this, we can see that a star player is a PBA player:

  • who has not been traded
  • who has been traded once
  • who has been playing/played for a PBA franchise for a long time even when traded at least two times

Jimmy Alapag and Harvey Carey has only played with Talk and Text in their eight years in the league. Likewise with Caguiao and Helterbrand, playing only for Ginebra, though they differ in number of years. Eric Menk has stayed put also with Ginebra for ten years now. Kerby, PJ Simon and James Yap have been playing together with the B-MEG/Purefoods team for a long time. Kerby and PJ have has been traded once while James and PJ have not been on the trading block. For thirteen years, Danny I has been with SMB and has not been traded since. Dondon Hontiveros, traded to SMB when Tanduay disbanded, and Danny Seigle were traded recently by SMB to Air21 yet their long tenures at SMB qualifies them as star players. Sonny Thoss has played with Alaska only for seven years.

An important observation with these “star” players is that the team they play or played for has been a contender in the past PBA seasons. The teams they play or they played for were always on the run for the crown. Looking at a star player to play for  good amount of years for a team may give stability and contention for PBA championships.

Roe’s definition of a star player in the PBA maybe justified. However, this may not be the only way to evaluate who can be considered a star player since Miller has garnered awards more than the players indicated in the graph above. There will be a lot of opinions on how to measure who is a PBA star player or not. It can be based on the number of championships won or based on the individual awards received or statistical production on the floor.

The discussion above was, who is the star player according to Roe. Join in the discussion, who is the star player according to You?

James Yap Is No Ewing

This is the Ewing Theory:

The theory was created in the mid-’90s by Dave Cirilli, a friend of mine who was convinced that Patrick Ewing’s teams (both at Georgetown and with New York) inexplicably played better when Ewing, the star player, was either injured or missing extended stretches because of foul trouble. — Bill Simmons

In the past week, the Dean, Quinito Henson wrote about James Yap’s absence as it impacts B-MEG chances in the current tourney. It caught my attention as curiously as if Ewing theory applies with B-MEG while James Yap, the star player, does not suit up for their games.

The table below gives the team performance with and without James Yap.

Table 1

With James, B-MEG charted a 2-3 win-loss. B-MEG have two wins against a single loss without James. Those two wins without James were at the expense of Smart Gilas and SMB. The win against Gilas was played without Marcus Douthit at the final quarter. SMB’s FG% against B-MEG in their game was 34.4% adding 18 turnovers throughout the game.

Going further, with James Yap, the offensive efficiency of B-MEG is higher than without their star player. But their defensive performance was better when playing without James Yap. Overall, B-MEG’s efficiency differential is higher when James Yap is playing for the team.

Not to take away the credit from James Yap’s teammates for their wins without him, as discussed above, I noted B-MEG players who may have stepped-up in place of James.

Table 2

As seen from Table 2, the effective field goal (eFG) shooting of the five six players have dipped without James. With James they might have shot with better looks on the basket since the defense may have focus on their star player or on their import. Without James, the opposing team’s defense changes their alignment since the main B-MEG gunner is not on the floor.

The same analysis is true when looking at the overall production of the noted B-MEG players using Win Score per 48 minutes. The numbers have decreased without James Yap.

It is interesting to observe what happens if B-MEG advances further the eliminations round if the trend will change or not, with or without James Yap. But for now, the numbers tell us, James Yap is no Ewing.