You probably know by now that the Brooklyn Nets gave Avery Johnson the pink slip.
The Nets started out scorching, going 11-4 to kick off the season. In fact, Avery won the Coach of the Month for October-November . And then, the bottom gave out, with 3 wins in December (you will probably remember one of those wins very much, thanks to Ian Eagle and Seinfeld).
Someone in my Twitter timeline went out there and used the context on Russian ownership and expectations.
We know about Mikhail Prokhorov’s 5-Year Plan (and the other 5-Year Plan concurrent to that one). Seems like the pressure is on
already. The comparison to Premiership side Chelsea and its Russian owner comes to mind. It was only a fortnight that Roberto Di Matteo was hoisting the Champions League trophy, beating a world class FC Barcelona side to boot. But his struggles along the way this season, both in the Barclays and in Europe, cost him the plum gig.
If you look at Chelsea’s managerial history since Roman Abramovich’s took control of the franchise in 2003, they have had a lot of turnover, especially if you look at it post-Mourinho.
Now what? P.J Carlesimo is now temporarily taking the reigns. And then an interesting offseason in the horizon, where it is expected that Phil Jackson and the inevitable Larry Brown (Billy King is in charge, right)
hiring rumors will fester on.
As per Santi Araneta, “McKinley Hill football field is complete! Home of the UFL!” I’m happy for UFL fans and football aficionados in general. Pitch looks lovely in the photo. Hoping that lots of seats are in place. I just hope too that it is “putik” proof.
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The Dubai Invitational Basketball Tournament is sort of a gauge on how the Smart-Gilas squad will work on their abilities. This will be the third year Team Pilipinas will use the tilt to get the Nationals their much needed international XP. The Dubai tourney may not be as prestigious as the FIBA Championship, FIBA Champions’ Cup, or the Jones Cup but it is still an important event in the Asian basketball calendar.
However, things are a bit different as it was before. Gone from the team are the original Smart-Gilas members led by Chris Tiu, Jayvee Casio, Chris Lutz, Japeth Aguilar, Mark Barroca, Mac Baracael, Jason Ballesteros, Dylan Ababou, Magi Sison, Aldrech Ramos, and Marcio Lassiter. Others who have represented the team are pros Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros as well as brief Smart-Gilas members Rabeh Al-Hussaini, RJ Jazul, and Rey Guevarra.
Even Rajko Toroman has ceded his duties to Chot Reyes, making naturalized import Marcus Douthit and Original Smart-Gilas Greg Slaughter as the only “veteran” members of the squad.
With Talk N Text, Alaska, and Rain or Shine still in PBA contention, Chot Reyes is robbed from have the luxury to use players like Larry Fonacier, Ranidel De Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Jared Dillinger, Jimmy Alapag, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, and Sonny Thoss. Adding to their woes are the begging off of LA Tenorio and Gary David – two players who are going to use their early exit to rest up their wounds. Tenorio has been nursing an injury he got from the Champions’ Cup while David has missed most of GlobalPort’s games because of a recurring flaw. Enrico Villanueva, a Smart-Gilas 2 mainstay, will be sidelined for at least nine months for tearing his ACL.
And then there’s Arwind Santos and Junmar Fajardo – two players who had been in Chot Reyes’ wish list for some time now but for some reason can’t get their release from the Petron Blaze Boosters. Chot has had enough of the fans encouraging him to enlist the Petron boys and the Petron management in general. In his Twitter account, Reyes basically said that for the nth time Petron has disallowed their players and so he urged the public to stop asking for them.
Aside from Douthit, Chot Reyes will rely on Jones Cup and Champions’ Cup veterans Jay-R Reyes, Matt Rosser (Ganuelas), and Garvo Lanete to lead the other additions in making their team formidable. Rosser is a high-flyer who needs to check his offense while Lanete is turning out to be a good playmaker. Aside from Reyes, the pros added to the list are Meralco Bolt Ronjay Buenafe and Air21 scorer KG Canaleta. Since this is a FIBA-sanctioned event, Sol Mercado’s citizenship could lead the team to jeopardy (like forfeiting the games he played on). Maybe the addition of Buenafe to the squad is the same reason why Chot readily sent Macmac Cardona to the Meralco Bolts the moment he got full grasp of Talk N Text. As for Canaleta, KG realized his potential when he got his minutes and surely his ability to play inside and outside could be something that Chot needs at the moment. Also joining the team are NLEX Road Warriors’ RR Garcia, Ronald Pascual, Kevin Alas, and Jake Pascual plus an intriguing Fil-Am prospect in Justin Melton.
With the tournament slated in mid-January, it’s safe to say that the team will not rule out late additions – especially if teams like Rain or Shine and Talk N Text get eliminated. When I was checking out the past two tourneys via GMA Pinoy TV, the rosters can go as high as fifteen in which you can use twelve of them in a game. There are talks that Reyes is reserving a place for Japeth as well as 6’9 Fil-Am Isaac Holstein. The addition of height is a good thing for Team Pilipinas because even if Smart-Gilas 2 pride itself with guts and glory, there is a need for us to match the size of the other teams.
Lebanon will parade three squads while veteran campaigners Al Ahli of host Dubai, Kazakhstan, and the UAE National Team will return to feast on the crown. Despite the youth and lack of international exposure, Team Pilipinas will threaten for the title here. For the past two years Smart-Gilas was just a couple of wins away from winning the tournament. With teams like Jordan and Iran out of the picture (or they have yet to register), the road for us to prevail is a bit easier.
There are no Korean squads!
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Four teams remain and the Playoff Rankings is underway.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Like I said from last week’s rankings, the stats will be just the same except that the eliminated teams as of the first round will be disqualified while the quarterfinal losers get a minus 10 from their collective output. The semifinalists will get an additional ten points.
The person likely to finish first in the rankings MAY win the highly coveted Best Player of the Conference plum.
Game starts now.
Outside the Top 10:
20 – Beau Belga / Rain or Shine
Last week’s rank: Not Rated
Overall Stats: 9.6ppg • 5.6rpg • 2.2apg • 0.7spg
Semis Stats: 11.0ppg • 7.5rpg • 3.0apg • 1.5spg
19 – Sonny Thoss / Alaska
Last week’s rank: Not Rated
Overall Stats: 8.9ppg • 6.4rpg • 1.9apg • 1.2bpg
Semis Stats: 13.5ppg • 9.5rpg • 2.0apg
18 – Yancy De Ocampo / San Mig Coffee
Last week’s rank: 18
Overall Stats: 9.0ppg • 7.5rpg • 2.4apg • 0.8bpg
Semis Stats: 10.0ppg • 4.0rpg • 2.0apg
17 – Joe Devance / San Mig Coffee
Last week’s rank: 19
Overall Stats: 10.3ppg • 5.2rpg • 3.1apg • 0.8bpg
Semis Stats: 14.5ppg • 5.5rpg • 3.0apg
16 – Ryan Reyes / Talk N Text
Last week’s rank: 15
Overall Stats: 9.2ppg • 5.4rpg • 2.8apg • 1.7spg
Semis Stats: 3.5ppg • 3.0rpg • 2.0apg • 1.0spg
15 – Peter June Simon / San Mig Coffee
Last week’s rank: 17
Overall Stats: 15.2ppg • 4.2rpg • 1.5apg
Semis Stats: 13.0ppg • 4.0rpg • 2.0apg
14 – Arwind Santos / Petron
Last week’s rank: 2
Overall Stats: 17.4ppg • 12.0rpg • 1.6apg • 1.0spg • 1.4bpg
Semis Stats: ELIMINATED IN THE QUARTERFINALS
13 – Kelly Williams / Talk N Text
Last week’s rank: 14
Overall Stats: 10.8ppg • 8.2rpg • 0.6spg
Semis Stats: 7.5ppg • 5.0rpg
12 – Ranidel De Ocampo / Talk N Text
Last week’s rank: 16
Overall Stats: 13.0ppg • 6.1rpg • 1.8apg
Semis Stats: 10.5ppg • 5.5rpg • 0.5spg
11 – Larry Fonacier / Talk N Text
Last week’s rank: 12
Overall Stats: 12.4ppg • 4.5rpg • 2.4apg • 1.1spg
Semis Stats: 9.0ppg • 3.0rpg • 2.0apg • 1.0spg
The Top 10:
10 – Paul Lee / Rain or Shine
Last week’s rank: 7
Overall Stats: 15.5ppg • 3.5rpg • 3.5apg
Semis Stats: 11.0ppg • 3.0rpg • 4.0apg
After rising to the challenge of besting Mark Caguioa and the Gins, Paul Lee is now slumping against Mark Barroca. If he can pull up MVP numbers against a MVP? Then why can’t he do the same against Barroca? The Lethal Weapon is poised to strike though and when he does, good things usually happens for ROS.
9 – Gabe Norwood / Rain or Shine
Last week’s rank: 9
Overall Stats: 8.1ppg • 5.7rpg • 3.6apg • 1.3spg • 1.1bpg
Semis Stats: 3.5ppg • 2.0rpg • 2.5apg • 1.0spg
Now here is one player who needs to break out from his slump. I have been kind of Norwood’s outputs because he wants to make his teammates look good but when they need him to provide the firepower, then he must deliver. His current semis stats will not provide ROS the finals advancement he craves.
8 – Jervy Cruz / Rain or Shine
Last week’s rank: 11
Overall Stats: 11.3ppg • 8.7rpg • 0.9apg • 0.7bpg
Semis Stats: 8.0ppg • 12.0rpg • 0.5bpg
With ROS’ cramped shooter and slasher positions, Jervy Cruz is making it a mission to provide the Elasto Painters with a lot of offensive chances. He is currently ranked second behind Calvin Abueva in rebounds in the semis. Alongside Beau Belga, look for Jervy to help in the offense if their backcourt struggle.
7 – Marc Pingris / San Mig Coffee
Last week’s rank: 13
Overall Stats: 9.1ppg • 8.4rpg • 2.3apg • 0.8bpg
Semis Stats: 11.5ppg • 8.0rpg • 3.5apg
San Mig Coffee must be sweltering with awesomeness at the moment with the amazing offensive support provided by Joe Devance and this guy. Pinoy Sakuragi usually finds his game in the playoffs and with PJ Simon and James Yap getting the bulk of the defensive pressure, having Ping score 11.5ppg is just swell.
6 – Jeff Chan / Rain or Shine
Last week’s rank: 10
Overall Stats: 15.6ppg • 3.7rpg • 2.6apg • 0.9spg
Semis Stats: 14.0ppg • 3.5rpg • 3.0apg • 1.0spg
The Negros Sniper is blowing hot and cold in the semis but thankfully it wasn’t that absurd just like what he had in the quarterfinals. But still though, Chan needs to cash in on his shooting gift in order for ROS to return to the finals. Whenever James Yap explodes, Chan needs to cancel out Thunder James’ outputs.
5 – Jayvee Casio / Alaska
Last week’s rank: 6
Overall Stats: 13.8ppg • 3.6rpg • 4.2apg • 0.9spg
Semis Stats: 14.0ppg • 2.5rpg • 1.5apg
He is the C-Section of Alaska’s vaulted ABC Connection (Abueva, Baguio, and Casio) and like Skyrus, the Aces are high when his numbers soar. In Game One he was just good for six points en route to a Tropang Texter win but when he netted 22 points in Game Two, it’s a different story.
4 – Jayson Castro / Talk N Text
Last week’s rank: 4
Overall Stats: 16.5ppg • 4.5rpg • 3.6apg
Semis Stats: 14.5ppg • 5.5rpg • 1.5apg
The contrast of outcomes can easily be seen with the way Maestro Castro rules the court. If The Blur booms for a double-double 17-point and 11-rebound output, his team likely delivers. But if he just good for 11 points and 1 assist as what happened in Game Two, then the Tropang Texters are in the rot. Be in the know though that Castro is the team’s most consistent performer and his teammates need to step up.
3 – Cyrus Baguio / Alaska
Last week’s rank: 3
Overall Stats: 16.1ppg • 4.2rpg • 2.5apg • 1.2spg • 1.0bpg
Semis Stats: 13.0ppg • 3.0rpg • 2.0apg
The pressure is on for Skyrus to deliver. Despite the promise of Abueva, he is still the veteran presence of the team. When he scores below double figures, it rubs his teammates the wrong way. When he scores above 15 points though, this is a different story. Baguio may be past his above the rim plays but his leadership will take the Aces to the next level.
2 – James Yap / San Mig Coffee
Last week’s rank: 5
Overall Stats: 17.9ppg • 5.4rpg • 1.8apg • 0.8spg
Semis Stats: 22.5ppg • 8.5rpg • 2.0apg
I think this is what separates James Yap from Paul Lee and Jeff Chan. Lee and Chan are upstarts who thrive when Yeng Guiao wants them to. Big Game James on the other hand is forced to deliver and has the green light to do whatever he wants. Yap is currently leading the Mixers in the semis in terms of points and rebounds and you have to hail his game especially with that 34-point and 11-rebound rampage in Game Two.
1 – Calvin Abueva / Alaska
Last week’s rank: 1
Overall Stats: 14.3ppg • 10.6rpg • 1.9apg • 1.2spg • 1.0bpg
Semis Stats: 15.0ppg • 15.5rpg • 1.5apg
Whether you think this is good or bad, Abueva delivering the Arwind Santos numbers is a good thing for The Beast. This is why you can still see The Spiderman on the list despite Petron being out of contention. In their series opener, Abueva looked like Alaska’s almost savior by coming up with 10 points and 17 boards. He will not be denied in the second game though as the former San Sebastian product claimed a high double-double output of 20 points and 14 rebounds.
With both series’ tied, there’s definitely a series closer happening in 2013. Who will play in the finals? I actually have no idea with how the four teams are playing. With that said though, the BPC is turning out to be a blurred picture. James Yap just made a statement performance but it’s not as if Abueva’s numbers are lacking. Arwind Santos will always be a threat to win even with Petron’s ouster but with that said, how can he ever convince the voters to vote for him?
It’s a tied race that hopefully will be determined when the finals’ cast has been finalized.
adidas today unveils a new colorway of the D Rose 3 signature shoe.
Dubbed “Nightmare” this limited edition colorway is inspired by an opponent’s mindset the night before facing D Rose on the court.
The purple, “vertigo” shimmer synthetic leather upper represents the bad dreams opponents have about guarding the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player. Other features include glow-in-the-dark outsole, black and white speckled midsole and wave patterned black and white laces. The inside of the tongue features 12-24-12 to represent the day this limited edition pair drops.
The D Rose 3 “Nightmare” drops this December 24 for PHP 7995, and is available at the following adidas stores – Rockwell, Greenbelt 3, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Trinoma, Abreeza Mall Davao and Gaisano CDO.
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I missed last week.
Curse my stuffy nose and my usage of the late nights to sleep and heal.
Now I’m making up for lost time.
The Playoff Rankings is insanely similar from the Power and Rookie Rankings. The only difference here is that I trashed the teams that did not reach the playoffs, deduct five points from the eliminated teams, and add points on the teams that are still standing. Then as the semifinals start, the wins will add up.
The rankings will end in time of the announcement of the Best Player of the Conference.
Yeah… I got this in the bag.
Now you need to check this out.
Game starts now.
20 – Jimmy Alapag / Talk N Text
11.2ppg • 2.6rpg • 4.8apg
Jimmy Alapag refuses to think that his time is up… and whoever disagrees with him has another thing coming for them. Despite limited minutes, The Mighty Mouse was still able to produce 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists.
19 – Joe Devance / San Mig Coffee
9.7ppg • 5.1rpg • 3.1apg • 0.8bpg
Last season, Joe Devance was almost non-existent. He barely mattered for B-Meg in their Commissioner’s Cup win and wasn’t able to play against Rain or Shine in their Governor’s Cup title hope. After scoring 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the Air21 clincher, look for him to impose his will.
18 – Yancy De Ocampo / San Mig Coffee
8.9ppg • 7.9rpg • 2.4apg • 0.8bpg
YDO’s performance has slowed down after starting like a house on fire in this conference. But you can’t discount how Tim Cone loves using this guy as his version of Sonny Thoss. Despite his size, Yancy is a great passer.
17 – Peter June Simon / San Mig Coffee
15.5ppg • 4.2rpg • 1.5apg
When James Yap is not scoring, The Scoring Apostle is there for the assist. But Simon is telling everyone that he wants to improve in his other stats – which could be a good way for him to become a better performer and to be considered in the Mythical spots.
16 – Ranidel De Ocampo / Talk N Text
13.3ppg • 6.1rpg • 1.9apg
Mr. Wonderful helped Talk N Text’s cause to advance to the semifinals by scoring 13 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals in 32 minutes of action. Facing Sonny Thoss and Gabby Espinas, be in the lookout for Ranidel to try to squeeze in his offense.
15 – Ryan Reyes / Talk N Text
10.0ppg • 5.8rpg • 2.9apg • 1.8spg
Usually a backcourt enforcer, Ryan Reyes turned up his offense and defense by drilling in 16 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, and 4 steals. He will not get these stats on a daily basis but imagine the power of Talk N Text if he becomes consistent throughout the playoffs.
14 – Kelly Williams / Talk N Text
11.2ppg • 8.7rpg • 0.7spg
Machine Gun Kelly Williams was only good for 4 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist in their series win against the Express. Williams has to have a better game to help the Tropang Texters’ bid to go back-to-back-to-back.
13 – Marc Pingris / San Mig Coffee
8.8ppg • 8.5rpg • 2.2apg • 0.8bpg
Pinoy Sakuragi maintained his playoff goodness by scoring 20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. That’s amazing especially since there’s a possibility of him going head-to-head with Jervy Cruz in terms of inside scoring.
12 – Larry Fonacier / Talk N Text
12.9ppg • 4.7rpg • 2.5apg • 1.1spg
Here comes Talk N Text’s resident utility man. The guy can shoot, slash, defend, and orchestrate when needed and this fact has been tried and tested. In the Air21 win, The Baby-Faced Assassin was able to put up 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
11 – Jervy Cruz / Rain or Shine
11.7ppg • 8.4rpg • 0.9apg • 0.7bpg
Jervy Cruz wants to win the Most Improved Player plum. With the way he’s playing though, he could do even more. If he can give Yeng Guiao this type of play and combine it with wins for the Elasto Painters, the former UST slotman could be in the running for a Mythical spot as well.
10 – Jeff Chan / Rain or Shine
15.8ppg • 3.8rpg • 2.5apg • 0.9spg
The Negros Sniper is in a slump right now and wouldn’t be ranked this high had not for his conference-long (until this time) brilliance. Yeng Guiao is asking Triggerchan to shake off his bad mojo by shooting at will. At hasn’t happened now but maybe if paired against James Yap he’ll get inspired.
9 – Gabe Norwood / Rain or Shine
8.7ppg • 6.2rpg • 3.8apg • 1.3spg • 1.2bpg
We all know Norwood is a pass-first point forward and we get frustrated at how he’s not a double digit scorer but there are times that Mr. President can erupt to piss a lot of people off. To seal the Ginebra win, Norwood fumed with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
8 – Solomon Mercado / Meralco
19.1ppg • 2.8rpg • 6.7apg • 1.0spg
He was one of the frontrunners in the Best Player of the Conference marathon but the conference’s leading scorer and passer will cede his lead to the candidates that are still in the running to win the Philippine Cup title.
7 – Paul Lee / Rain or Shine
17.8ppg • 3.8rpg • 3.3apg
Ever since The Lethal Weapon returned to Rain or Shine, Yeng Guiao’s offense just got sweeter. This fact is realized after his 25-point, 2-rebound, and 3-assist output in the ROS versus Ginebra clincher. Against San Mig Coffee, this will be Lee’s payback since he missed to finish ROS’ first title because of injury.
6 – Jayvee Casio / Alaska
13.8ppg • 3.7rpg • 4.6apg • 1.1spg
It feels like it but even if LA Tenorio was Alaska’s cornerstone, Jayvee Casio helped Alaska in their first semifinal series after the Tim Cone era. In their clincher against Meralco, Casio was good for 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, and 8 assists.
5 – James Yap / San Mig Coffee
17.2ppg • 4.9rpg • 1.8apg • 0.9spg
After sitting out their last game, King James exploded to 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals to oust the Petron Blaze Boosters. Yap has taken a backseat to Peter June Simon for a couple of games now but as the road becomes harder, the more is expected from the Man with a Million Moves.
4 – Jayson Castro / Talk N Text
16.8ppg • 4.4rpg • 3.9apg
Ever since Jayson Castro wore the TNT colors, it seems that the championship tradition he owns ever since his PCU and Harbour Centre days has translated into the pros. Now the Tropang Texters are infested with star players but Castro will find his way to make himself important.
3 – Cyrus Baguio / Alaska
16.5ppg • 4.4rpg • 2.6apg • 1.3spg • 1.1bpg
We all know Abueva is the exciting upstart in Alaska but if Luigi Trillo wants to edge out Talk N Text, they need the veteran presence of Cyrus. Skyrus needs to repeat the leadership he displayed when he was still in Red Bull – when the talent was dwindling and because of him, they are still soaring.
2 – Arwind Santos / Petron
17.4ppg • 12.0rpg • 1.6apg • 1.0spg • 1.4bpg
As always, Santos is a threat to win the big individual prize but no thanks to Petron’s abysmal conference, he needs to kiss this fact goodbye. He will still be a person of interest come award time because of his wickedly superb averages but don’t expect him to win.
1 – Calvin Abueva / Alaska
14.2ppg • 10.1rpg • 2.0apg • 1.4spg • 1.1bpg
What are the odds of The Beast becoming the first rookie to win the Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference since Eric Menk in 1999? Very likely. After struggling in Game 1, Abueva went insane and posted 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks to clinch the win for the Aces.
These guys will probably be the names you’ll see in the Bes Player of the Conference race.
Now let’s see who’ll play significantly.
Long acknowledged as the most famous venue for the best local and international concerts and the most heart-pumping sporting events, the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the country’s mecca of sports and entertainment, is deep into its Extreme Transformation.
Among the new features of the Big Dome include the Parking Garage South, located at the South Gate of the coliseum, the Grand Atrium (formerly the Green Gate), newly renovated restrooms, and new dressing areas and locker rooms for performers and athletes.
The latest in a series of extreme changes are the brand-new seats currently being installed in Upper Box B.
The seats are made from a combination of plastic mold with cushion and fabric upholstery, and mounted on customized framing. Approximately 3,900 out of more than 4,000 seats have already been installed. Installation at Upper Box B was done first for faster installation; Upper Box A and the rest of the coliseum seating will have new seats come 2013.
According to Michael Noah, Chief Operating Officer of United Promotions Inc., the new cushioned seats give comfort and class to the coliseum. “Fabric was chosen [for the seats] as an upgrade of the facility and patron comfort. Patron seating will be replaced beginning with the Elton John concert. These seats will be cushioned with a high quality vinyl covering, same as used in many NBA arenas throughout the United States.”
The new seats are only some of the big and exciting changes in the Smart Araneta Coliseum’s Extreme Transformation. When done, the Big Dome will surely reassert its status as the top venue of choice in the country.
At the end of the regular season, what will be record of the Los Angeles Lakers?
- 55 – 27 (39%)
- 60 – 22 (28%)
- 67 – 15 (16%)
- 82 – 0 (9%)
- 72 – 10 (8%)
Total Votes: 100
Hello? Mic check, 1-2. Is there someone here nice enough to welcome me back?
You know what they say, whatever happens, you’ll always find yourself back to where you started, in the words of Gary V. in the old worn out commercial in IBC 13 in the 90s everytime the PBA goes into commercial “Kay tagal mo nang nawala, babalik ka rin, babalik ka rin.”
All the cornballs aside, here I am. After about a year of hiatus, it’s sure nice to be back, isn’t it? Just in time for the PBA playoffs, I figured it would be the perfect time to return just to do what I do best, get in the ire of different fanbases with my “self-important” commentary and predictions, so let’s get the ball rolling shall we?
Fading in the background thanks to Pacquiao-Marquez 4 (My take on Philstar UB is right here) and the Azkals’ quest to reach the AFF Suzuki cup finals for the first time, I thought the PBA playoffs isn’t getting the attention that it deserves. After all, we’re treated to some of the best matchups we’ve seen in years and the action in the PBA this confence has been really underrated to say the least, anyway here are my thoughts on the matchups in the quarterfinals of the PBA.
1. Talk and Text vs 8. Air 21
Why it’s interesting: It’s the only matchup here in the quarterfinals with a genuine “underdog” feel to it. Here, you have the mighty Talk and Text Tropang Texters, armed with a twice to beat advantage going up against the 8th seed Air 21 Express who have lost four of their last five games heading into this match.
This becomes interesting when you take into account that the Texters actually had a hard time putting away the Express in their last meeting, a game that was close from the get-go and was just decided by six points. Add to it the fact that Mike Cortez has been playing really well under Franz Pumaren and Niño Canaleta may have a boost in confidence after dropping 41 points against Global port. All in all, this becomes a series to watch for people who would root for underdogs, no matter what.
Mike Cortez (13 PPG, 5 RPG, 5 APG, 2 SPG w/ Air 21) vs Jimmy Alapag (11 PPG, 5 APG, 39% 3PTS)
While they may not be as dominant when they faced each other in the Semifinals of the 2002 All Filipino Conference, this matchup would still turn heads as Alapag and Cortez are still the anchors of their respective teams. When Mike Cortez arrived in Air 21, they won three straight games with Cortez leading the attack. When Cortez struggled, so is the team as they dropped four straight. Jimmy Alapag on the other hand will always be Jimmy, as he can be relied on to take crucial baskets and orchestrate the fluid Talk and Text oftense.
Prediction: I’m an underdog guy but Talk and Text is a tough nut to crack. I think Air 21 will have their moments but eventually the Texters’ depth and talent would weigh in as I expect them to finish this off in a game.
2. San Mig Coffee vs Petron Blaze
Why it’s interesting: Could this be called the SMC Derby? Or is that reserved for a Ginebra-San Mig Coffee matchup in the semis? Anyway, I don’t think I should be really specific on why this matchup is interesting. It’s just a surprise for my part that this matchup came this early. Prior to the season, everyone was expecting Petron Blaze Boosters to be one of the top teams in the league given their depth, talent and right mix of veterans and youth. However, Petron did their best Los Angeles Lakers impersonation in the eliminations and started losing games that they could have and should have won. Hence, that’s why we have this match up early.
Anyway, the talent level in this matchup would be overflowing. You have James Yap, Pj Simon, Pingris and JDV for the Mixers and you have the entire team for Petron. That alone is something to watch out for. On paper, this is a quality dream match up. In reality though, comes the difference between the two. The basketball fan in me hopes that this match would be as good as it would have been on paper. And oh, imagine all the Petronovela tweets during the game! That alone makes it interesting!
Chris Lutz (14 PPG 5 RPG 5 APG) vs James Yap (16 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 APG)
Two of the best players in the wings today, this is a match up to watch. Chris Lutz, the youngster, will be locking horns against 2-time MVP, James Yap in what could be the deciding factor in this series.
Lutz, aside from being a dynamic scorer is also one of the best defenders in the league today. If he can somehow stop James Yap and still produce offensively, this could be a huge boost for the Blazers.
Prediction: I think Petron can actually win the first game, they’ll realize that they’re too talented to be out this early and start playing like how they ought to play but then in the second game, they’ll be back to their old ways and find ways to lose the second game just because they’re Petron and that’s what they do. San Mig Coffee in two games,
3. Rain or Shine vs 6. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel
Why it’s interesting: Hell hath no fury like Yeng Guiao scorned and that’s what we should be expecting in this match.
In the first two games, Ginebra scored two wins over Rain or Shine in two games that could go down as classics. In the first game, Ginebra stole that one with a late, questionable foul on Gabe Norwood and in the second, Ginebra stormed back from an 18 point deficit to steal the game away from the Painters. Somehow, I feel that Yeng Guiao is up for vengeance.
A furious Guiao vs the most popular team in the country? This will be nuts.
It’s also interesting to point out that this would be rematch of last year’s quarterfinals in the same conference. Rain or Shine ousted Ginebra 2-0 in that series.
Paul Lee (16 Pts, 4 rebs, 6 assts in his sole game) vs Mark Caguioa (18 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG)
Ginebra’s heart and soul vs “Ang Angas ng Tondo”. These two players play almost the same it’s scary. Scoring ability – Check. Killer crossovers – Check. Angst while playing – double check.
The reigning league MVP vs the reigning ROY. Paul Lee made a successful return in their game against Barako Bull, wherein he posted the usual Paul Lee numbers. Caguioa may have had bad games in their past few games, but he’s shown that he’s still in great form and is still bent on getting Ginebra to a championship, following an MVP stint.
Prediction: This is tough to predict mainly because this is the best series among all the matchups. I think Rain or Shine is deeper but Ginebra has one thing that Rain or Shine doesn’t. A legit point guard which could dominate in LA Tenorio. I think Ginebra takes this series in three tough and exciting games.
4. Meralco Bolts vs 5. Alaska Aces
Why it’s interesting: Like the Ginebra-RoS matchup, I believe this matchup is so evenly matched it could go either way. With Meralco you have some of the best wing players in the league today with scorching hot Sol Mercado leading the pack. Alaska on the other hand has the upper hand on the frontline with Sonny Thoss and Calvin Abueva up front and a slight advantage on the backcourt mainly because of JV Casio. Two teams are trying to break the final four drought. Need I say more?
Calvin Abueva (14 PPG, 10 RPG, 2 APG) vs Cliff Hodge (10PPG 7 RPG 1 BPG)
Two of the top rookies in the league and they play the same position. This will be one matchup to look forward to.
Who will be the PBA 2012-2013 Rookie of the Year?
- Calvin Abueva (46%)
- Chris Ellis (21%)
- June Mar Fajardo (10%)
- Cliff Hodge (10%)
- Chris Tiu (5%)
- Aldrech Ramos (4%)
- Jason Deutchmann (2%)
- Keith Jensen (1%)
- Vic Manuel (1%)
- Alex Mallari (0%)
Total Votes: 300