Kudos Smart Gilas Pilipinas! Despite the so-called “National Heartache” that you’ve given us according to one overzealous writer, it would never account to the sense of pride and happiness that you’ve delivered to Filipino basketball fans when they saw you competing and beating some of the best basketball teams in Asia.
But if there’s one thing that I would agree with Mr. Trinidad’s column, it’s that we really came up short. In the semi-finals, we were beaten in the end game by a clearly superior and hungrier Jordan team. In the last medal game, we lost a won game by again breaking down in the end game against Korea. While I look at our recent setback in a positive manner, it really wouldn’t take an ultimate nay-sayer to say that there are still a lot of things to improve on in order for us to reach the most elusive Olympic dream.
But unlike Mr. Recah Trinidad who keeps on blabbering about the failure of the system without actually giving better alternatives, the proper response to this setback is to stick with the program, retain coach Toroman and prepare for the 2013 championships because I truly believe that not every loss should result into a total revamp of the system.
What would happen to Manny Pacquiao if he sacked Freddie Roach after losing to Morales and settling for draw against Juan Manuel Marquez? Would a four-peat be even possible if Ateneo parted ways with Norman Black after their heartbreaking loss to UST in Season 69?
The thing is, what the nation needs to understand is that losses do happen and success stories doesn’t happen overnight. What Rajko Toroman did was to turn a slumping system, which finished 8th and 9th respectively in the last two qualifiers, into a winning system. Yes, they did break on two of the biggest games of the tournament, but that doesn’t mean that it warrants an automatic curbing of the whole program.
The most logical solution here would be to carry on with what Toroman started, retain him as coach, and well, retain most of the players which played in Wuhan this year. With the addition of some of the best collegiate players today and some pro-cagers, we could have a formidable lineup by 2013.
So with that being said, here’s my proposed 12 man team for FIBA ASIA 2013.
Marcus Douthit – Unless we can actually find a younger, more athletic player with Marcus’ size, I say stick with him. Marcus’ performance in the recent qualifiers is MVP caliber. He led the league in points and rebounding and played a major role in intimidating opponents underneath. He might not be a Filipino by blood, but he damn sure played like one.
Japeth Aguilar – Much like in 09, he saw limited minutes in the court for whatever reasons. But I’m not ready to give up on this kid yet. He’s explosive, he can shoot, he can defend and he has ceiling. If only he could add a few pounds to his frame.
Greg Slaughter – This 6’11 prospect was already training with the team before his stint in Ateneo. Still a raw and undeveloped talent now, the whole nation is hoping that he would somehow develop into a reliable bigman under the tutelage of Coach Norman Black and he will be further polished under Toroman by 2013. With Asi’s age, he could be the perfect replacement as Douthit’s backup.
Joe de Vance – Now hear me out here. A lot of people aren’t really high on JDV but I truly believe that this guy flourishes under the right system. He posted career highs in points, rebounds and assists under Tim Cone and that goes to show you how he responds with the proper system and with proper coaching. He’s the type of guy who could stretch the defense all the way to the three point line, can put the ball in the floor and finish on the break. Ideal 4 guy for Smart Gilas right here.
Marcio Lassiter – In most games in the last qualifier, Marcio Lassiter was the second best player of the team. He’s by far their best on ball defender for Team Philippines and he’s probably also the best finisher of the team. On half court sets, he can create off the dribble and take threes. Perfect fit.
Kelly Williams – While Kelly played the role of a scapegoat after missing two crucial foulshots against Korea, we should never forget what kind of impact Kelly made in the concluded qualifiers. Kelly should not be too old by 2013, and he’s just the type of swinger Gilas needs, a 6’7 guy which can play both forward spots.
Arwind Santos – Arwind is someone who truly deserves a spot in the national team roster. His versatility on both offense and defense could be utilized well under Toroman’s system. He’s quick enough to guard the likes of Rasheem Wright and Cho Seong Min and long enough to guard agile power forwards.
Ronald Pascual – This shouldn’t come off as a surprise if you’ve been following NCAA basketball. Ronald Pascual deserves a spot in the 2013 Gilas team. Probably the best shooter in college ball today, Pascual is having an MVP season with the yet to be defeated San Sebastian Stags, averaging 20 points a game, 5 boards and 3 assists. But let’s forget about his actual stats right now and look at his potential. This guy is 6’4, can jump out of the gym effortlessly and can nail down long bombs. Just exactly what this team needs.
Chris Tiu – He’s no flashy scorer but I think his decision not to join the PBA speaks a lot about his dedication to this team. As cliche as this may sound, Chris is the heart of this team. He’s the leader of the previous delegation to Wuhan and should be the leader of the team in 2013. With his defense, timely shots and leadership, Chris Tiu should be a vital cog come 2013.
JV Casio – With injuries slowing down JV Casio in the recent qualifiers, I say this guy deserves one more shot at the team. JV of course is a deadshot from beyond the arc which could improve more after his stint in the pro league.
Keifer Ravena – Now, it’s time to give some young blood the exposure that they need. Keifer should be the youngest member of the team in 2013 but with the rate that he’s going now, he should be ready by that time. A smart player with a knack of taking over during big games, Keifer could definitely be the future of Philippine Basketball.
Bobby Ray Parks – The reigning UAAP MVP will play for our national team, one way or another. So why not put him in by 2013? Bobby Ray Parks is just what the national team needs. A scorer who could put the ball on the floor, pull up in the perimeter, take set threes, attack the basket and penetrate and kick-0ut. He’s the type of player who could take over when the offense is going nowhere. He’s the type of player that the previous team was missing.
Now that’s my 12 man team. I know a lot of previous players who played well in the previous qualifiers got booted out but that’s the way it goes. Injuries and basketball-politics aside, I see this team making it big in 2013 with the proper system and the proper support hat it deserves from Philippine Basketball Tycoons and Philippine Basketball fans alike.
Let’s go Team Pilipinas! Never stop dreaming, we’re almost there.
A new decade sees the San Miguel Beermen asserting its full might and the Alaska Aces losing a bit of steam.Â Here is how the rest of the teams stack up as the eliminations nears its end:
They are talentsâ€¦
â€¦ Talents that are being put to the test this season.
Their entry kind of reminds me of Don Alladoâ€™s entry. The DLSU Archer vowed to help his school in winning a UAAP crown, sacrificing a Rookie of the Year citation for the greater glory of the DLSU faithful. Back then, the PBA season starts at January.
Don Allado eventually played his rookie season late that year. He might have been a sub for a then still-dominating Bong Hawkinsâ€¦ but he jobbed for the Alaska Milkmen with a UAAP ring.
Nowadays, it is easier to jump from the collegiate ranks to the big league since the PBA starts exactly AFTER UAAP and NCAA. The first major name to use this new ruling was Leo Najorda. Najorda, a senior for the San Sebastian Stags, was a NCAA MVP. Though he barely gained any PBL experience, he was selected ninth by Red Bull in the 2005 Draft. Used sparingly in his early years, the former Stag eventually became a fixture in Yeng Guiaoâ€™s rotation. While he was playing, a player from the same batch languished in the bench.
Cyrus Baguio would eventually gain mileage and become one of the big guns of the league.
There were players that thought they needed seasoning before they jump to the pro circuit. JC Intal, TY Tang, LA Tenorio, Joseph Yeo, Gabby Espinas, and possibly Chris Tiu and JV Casio were among the players who opted to gain PBL EXP before jumping to the PBA. The reason is basically to gain further enhancements to not look like an idiot when they jump to the big league. And when they reach the PBA, you can see how their futures unfolded. Tenorio after years of playing behind Olsen Racelaâ€™s shadow is now the “Johnny A in training” for the Alaska Aces. Yeo after a weak rookie season is now a key cog off the bench for the Sta. Lucia Realtors. Espinas, a former NCAA Rookie MVP, had to endure years at the reserved list before breaking out for Red Bull. TY Tang is having a good rookie year despite limited minutes for Rain or Shineâ€¦ while JC Intal struggles to breakout from a slump that started in his rookie year.
Say what you want about the PBL being a lackluster league with little following and dismal broadcast setups but they are true in making the best collegiate finds to become legendary stars.
So why the long introduction? This season, we saw three players moving up. A fourth could have been Leimar Navarro, a player in the mold of Najorda. The PCU Dolphin unfortunately was not picked up in the draft and is not even racking up stats in the PBL.
Beau Belga is the youngest player to be drafted this season. Mikee Romero and the Harbour Centre franchise hoped the burly PCU powerhouse would wait for at least a next year to improve his skills. But with PCU opting to rest in next yearâ€™s NCAA tourney and perhaps for financial reasons, he made the jump and was picked seventh by the Purefoods TJ Giants. In fairness to Belga, he has made ample contributions for the Giants. He has recorded two games where he scored in double figures. With Kerby Raymundo in hiatus, he launched a career high 16 points in a losing effort. That game proved to be his breakout as he relieved Jondan Salvador of his minutes and became the chief big man off the bench for the Giants.
However, this canâ€™t be said for Pong Escobal and Kelvin dela Pena.
Dela Pena, a former NCAA MVP from Mapua, was picked fifth in the second round by the Alaska Aces. Unable to join the Aces early because the Cardinals were still playing in the Final Four would be one of two factors why he continues to play in garbage time for the Aces. Alaska is a hellhole for rookies. Two years ago, Aaron Aban (Letran) and Christian Luanzon (UST) were picked by the Aces. Luanzon was released after playing limited time (and games) for the Aces while Aban had to wait a couple more years before breaking outâ€¦ in Purefoods. Last year, Alaska drafted behemoths Ken Bono and JR Quinahan in the first round while selecting Ardy Larong in the second. Larong didnâ€™t even suit up for the Aces (he would play for a year with Purefoods in his rookie season before getting his walking papers this season) while Bono and Quinahan got a chance to play for SMB and Air21, respectively. This season alongside former UE star Mark Borboran, Dela Pena is riding the bench for the Aces. He gets minutes when the games are decided and he gets cheered by the fans to scoreâ€¦ certainly these are reasons for having a bad opening year. While Dela Pena suited up for Pharex in the PBL, he was not known for having breakout games. He was merely another good player from a non-UAAP team. He could have used a lot more PBL exposure before jumping to the pros.
The same could be said to Pong Escobal. If Dela Penaâ€™s exposure in the PBL was limited, Pong Escobal barely played in the PBL. Worse, he played in the PBL via the leagueâ€™s collegiate alliance system. When San Beda wants to take all their players out, he had no choice but to join them, just like what the Lions did for the Magnolia Spinners a few years back. If the PBL is an OJT of sorts for the PBA, then colleges shouldnâ€™t partner with commercial teams so that their players would experience growth. The ex-Lion was picked eleventh in the 2008 Draft but players like Jeff Chan, Jonathan Fernandez, and even Chito Jaime is getting more minutes than the former collegiate star.
Imagine if Cyrus Baguio feuded with Nino Gelig or LA Tenorio matched up with Magnum Membrere in the PBL? These players were adjoined every time in the PBL and look what happened? Surely you know the guys that got the better end of these â€œpartnershipsâ€.
Just like San Beda teammate Yousif Aljamal, Escobal is playing in TNTâ€™s knee-deep rotation. Aljamal was another player that has yet to grow (or evolve) in TNT where he was taken in because of TNTâ€™s association with San Beda. Frankie Lim, TNTâ€™s team manager, also serves as mentor for the Pals. Aljamal seen as the leagueâ€™s Vic Pablo, is barely coming out as the leagueâ€™s second coming of Benny Cheng. Aljamal gets considerable time but he still needs to get more minutes in the court. Escobal is worse. With the release of Donbel Belano and the retirement of Patrick Fran, the former top guard of the Lions should be becoming the teamâ€™s future. Unfortunately Jimmy Alapagâ€™s heir apparent is probably living up to be Jason Castro. Castro is a more seasoned player than Escobal but worse, they both come from the same batch. Without PBL experience Escobal seems like a college guy playing ball with a mere mission to not screw things up. In the PBA, a point guard needs to never be overwhelmed at the talent that he organizes or the talent that guards him. That is why the PBL is an important place to hone oneâ€™s skills. Escobal could have played with different scorers with varied expertise like Rico Maierhofer, RJ Jazul, Jervy Cruz, and even Chris Tiu and Rabeh Al-Hussaini. In college, it is okay to shoot in awkward places and turn over the ball in relative succession.
Not here though.
Worse, your confidence could be sapped after hibernating in reserve status. Remember the once-blossoming career of Boyet Bautista? Or how about Sam Eman? These are one of the hundreds whose careers got wasted because they ended up playing in teams where the only growth they could get is another career.
By the wayâ€¦
THE POWER RANKINGS PART 8
GAME STARTS NOW!
25 HARVEY CAREY â€“ TNT (LW # 23)
24 BONBON CUSTODIO â€“ SMB (NEW ENTRY)
23 LARRY RODRIGUEZ â€“ RED BULL (RETURNING)
22 DORIAN PENA â€“ SMB (LW # 24)
21 WYNNE ARBOLEDA â€“ AIR21 (LW # 17)
20 CYRUS BAGUIO â€“ RED BULL (LW # 21)
19 JOE DEVANCE â€“ ALASKA (LW # 22)
18 SOLOMON MERCADO â€“ ROS (LW # 19)
17 ALEX CABAGNOT â€“ COCA-COLA (LW # 18)
16 ENRICO VILLANUEVA â€“ PUREFOODS (LW # 16)
15 JAMES YAP â€“ PUREFOODS (LW # 11)
14 GABBY ESPINAS â€“ RED BULL (LW # 12)
13 GABE NORWOOD â€“ ROS (LW # 15)
12 GARY DAVID â€“ AIR21 (LW # 13)
11 NIC BELASCO â€“ COCA-COLA (LW # 9)
10 JAY-R REYES â€“ ROS (LW # 14)
9 JAY WASHINGTON â€“ SMB (LW # 10)
8 KELLY WILLIAMS â€“ STA. LUCIA (LW # 6)
7 RANIDEL DE OCAMPO â€“ AIR21 (LW # 8)
6 JAYJAY HELTERBRAND â€“ GINEBRA (LW # 7)
5 KERBY RAYMUNDO â€“ PUREFOODS (LW # 5)
4 ARWIND SANTOS â€“ AIR21 (LW # 3)
3 WILLIE MILLER â€“ ALASKA (LW # 4)
2 ASI TAULAVA â€“ COCA-COLA (LW # 2)
1 MACMAC CARDONA â€“ TNT (LW # 1)
LETâ€™S END THIS NOW!
What will happen when two schools of thought combine? One is said to be SYDMAN (aka Drixlazar), The Idea Diarrhea because of his reeking, continuous, overflowing, brownish basketball ideas while the other is the Chrisangelo, the Walking Pornographic Bastard who like many of you, browses the net for everyday girl-on-doberman porn action!
From the depths of society, two bitchinâ€™ talents merging with a promise to promote the truth to the wide scale audience! Forming the biggest idea that will forever shape the stellar internet-basketball-blog-writing-world into another orbit?
We donâ€™t really hope to achieve anythingâ€¦ but educate you about the basketball world! And weâ€™re going to do that by giving you guys an un-expert-like opinion to frequently asked questions by basketball fans.
Believe us. Weâ€™re serious.
Remember this post? Well.. I’m sure you do and I’m glad to say that that post came all the way to the US and a guy named Josh Vanlandingham actually had the time to read it.
After reading my breaking the pros entry, he asked me for some guidelines on how to actually break into Philippine basketball and after a few conversations and some kick ass videos, I think he could be one hell of a player here in the Philippines.
Hi guys, welcome to another edition of Chris Speaks and today we’ll talk about Breaking the Pros. What exactly is this entry all about? You’ll soon find out.
For many years now, we’ve seen great prospects from the UAAP and the NCAA, dominating the collegiate ranks and turning the whole Philippine basketball world crazy with a variety of moves that gives them a nod in the pro world. People would then go on and make crazy statements like.. this one is the future of Philippine Basketball and this guy will soon overtake this guy in terms of popularity and court dominance. But I’m surprised with how much most of the guys who were “supposed to dominate” the pro league would most likely end up on the team’s bench, a journeyman or to amateur leagues like the PBL, NBL/NBC and now an alternative pro league in Liga Pilipinas. Read more
Left out in this yearâ€™s basketball calendar is the PBL Finals.
Well, they are roughly light years ahead from the Fr. Martinâ€™s Cup but letâ€™s be realistic here: the NBA Finals is nearing and the PBA is playing. Thanks to the crappy decision-making skills known to many as Sky Cable, we will never see these games unfold.
Once again the Harbour Centre Port Masters are lording and perennial bridesmaids, the Hapee Complete Protectors are out to stop them. On paper, these teams look very similar. Both play run and gun with a good set of collegiate, ex-pros, and wannabe professionals. Both teams also enjoy a credible Fil-Foreigner.
First of all, what the hell happened to the PBL website? The league is viewed exclusively to perhaps 33 percent of the population in Manila and it is a known fact that most of these Destiny or other cable providers donâ€™t care for the PBL. The website is the only thing that could make their league credible. Frankly, the PBL website is a tad better than the PBA site since it provides reports, stats, and even the leagueâ€™s history — things partly seen in the pro web address. With the way the league is losing its fanbase and with the start of the Liga Filipina, I think Chino Trinidad should access this problem since the lack of exposure is one of the reasons why people hear of the PBL by just reading broadsheets.
Anyway, without Jervy Cruz, the odds are in favor for the Port Masters. Led by the Singapore-bound Jason Castro and Fil-Am Solomon Mercado, the Batang Pier boast a very deep lineup. Gabe Norwood will pick up the slack, just like Mark Borboran, Reed Juntilla and the rest of the Protectors will do to adjust to the absence of their behemoth. Cruz, the current UAAP MVP, was sidelined during their semis battle against the Burger King Whoppers. Read more
DOOMED FROM THE START
Last year Boyet Bautista was at the peek of his career. He had already scored a NCAA title with the Letran Knights and is the chief quarterback of the Toyota-Otis team in the PBL. In his final year in Letran, the 5â€™5″ quarterback was heralded Most Improved Player by the NCAA. After all the accolades, one question sprints in every oneâ€™s mindâ€¦ Is Boyet Bautista PBA ready?
In 2006, his fifth and final year with the Knights, Bautista averaged 15.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 30.6 minutes â€“ a far cry from his dismal stint in Purefoods.
We all know the dead end that is the PBA. Some will become superstars while others will turn into role players. Some will not get drafted and would either push through their dreams or find a career elsewhere.
Next to LA Tenorio, Bautista was the next best guard in that 2006 draft pool. Projected in the early second round, Purefoods nabbed the prep star as their ninth pick overall. While some loved this pick, others thought this was pointless. Purefoods had a ton of point guards in their lineup. Roger Yap is their starting point with Paul Artadi and Egay Billones serving as relief (Billones was later released and is now with the TNT Phone Pals). Peter June Simon and Noy Castillo are tweeners that can both play the point and shooting guard spots.
So why pick Bautista? Read more
The highly-anticipated Philippine Basketball League (PBL draft) is next week. And as it appears so far, there is no shortage of Filipino talents showing up to enhance the level of play in Philippine basketball.
Here’s one of them.
Allan Aguilar, a 24 year-old point guard from San Diego, California, announces that he is declaring his intention to enter the draft this Friday, September 28, 2007. He has already turned in his application to the PBL office and has been cleared to participate in the PBL Rookie Camp on September 26.
When asked about this opportunity, Allan said that he has been preparing to focus make a career out of basketball all his life, and is anxious for the chance to play against the best amateur players in the Philippines. A graphic arts student who is finishing his degree this year, Allan has decided to put his education on hold so that he can follow his dream. Read more