• Factory output breaks 12-month slump:
    Manufacturers increased production by an annual 6.5% that month, the first time since November 2008, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).

    The November manufacturing data was a steep 11.5-percentage point increment from October?s -5%.

    The gains were led by index heavyweights electrical machinery and petroleum products, which grew by 25.1% and 22.5% in November, rebounding from the previous month?s -5.9% and -22.3%, respectively.

    Makers of other machinery, as well as manufacturers of paper, furniture and fixtures also jacked up production by 9%, 6.8% and 1.9%, respectively, after slashing output by 7.6%, 13.6%, and 3.8% a month earlier.

    Manufactured goods? value was up by 2.1% in November, a 13-month high.

    Of the 561 establishments included in the NSO survey, 11.3% operated at full capacity in November, lower than October?s 11.9%. -- M.A.C. B. Cabarles

  • Setbacks:
    In truth, there is ample cause to argue for either case. Fans whose alarm bells have been ringing of late need only look at the habitual breakdown of the vaunted triangle system in the Lakers’ offensive sets. What’s more, the reliance on isolation plays becomes more evident in the crunch, indicating that the prevailing pressure compels the players, likely with the blessings of the coaching staff, to go one on one to the detriment of the collective. It’s why top gun Kobe Bryant has been doing much heavy lifting in the fourth quarters of matches, and why, for all the good he invariably does with the ball in his hands, the defending champions thereby become predictable and stale, much to the opposition’s liking.

    On the other hand, those with a glass-half-full mind-set can likewise contend with confidence that the Lakers haven’t exactly been doing anything out of the ordinary. The three-corner scheme is all well and good, but, hey, Bryant is Bryant, and no one on the roster is better equipped to make decisions in the crunch, and especially with the game on the line. Concomitantly, it bears noting that while a 5-5 slate in the last month is nothing to brag about, only one outing in the L column was a blowout; in other words, the pride of Tinseltown could just as easily have gone 9-1 in the same span.

    The bottom line is this: Not one Laker is panicking, all-star Pau Gasol’s recent observation about the lack of balance on offense notwithstanding. Perhaps it’s because the pace in the postseason is much slower, hence the enhanced value of basic screen-roll isos. Perhaps it’s because the titleholders have been there and done that. Or perhaps it’s because they simply believe in themselves. Whatever the reason, though, it’s clear that introspection is better served in the aftermath. Right or wrong, they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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