Basketball Potpourri: PBA News & Opinions

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The 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup – A Preview

After nearly a month of respite, PBA fans will once more see the greatest show in town. That’s the right, the second conference of the 2012-13 season, called the Commissioner’s Cup, will unfold starting tomorrow at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Tomorrow’s twinbill will feature a reinvigorated Petron Blaze Boosters going up against the souped-up Global Portmasters in the first game at 5:15PM while the second game will see two teams who figured prominently in player movement during the break – the Barako Bull Energy against the defending champions, San Mig Coffee Mixers at 7:30PM.

The Mixers are coming off a 4-2 loss in the hands of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the recent Philippine Cup. Tim Cone’s wards would do everything to defend the title they won last season against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in a gritty Finals that went to the limit.

Only two teams didn’t make any personnel changes during the break – the Painters and the Air 21 Express. The rest have had a busy off-conference, highlighted by the trading of Meralco’s marquee player, Sol Mercado as well as the likes of Japeth Aguilar, Rabeh Al-Husseini, JC Intal, Jonas Villanueva, among others.

PEX takes a look at the ten teams and their respective imports and find out how far they’ll go this conference.

AIR 21 EXPRESS

Import: Michael Dunigan
Roster Changes: None
AFC Finish: 8th place

Franz Pumaren can’t help but feel good about his chances. The Express secured its best spot since he coached the team in the recent Philippine Cup, he has a rejuvenated Nino Canaleta to handle the scoring chores, has one of the best point guards in the business in Mike Cortez, and is looking forward to having import Michael Dunigan make a resounding impression.

The Express though, would still need a lot of help in the offensive front. They’re weak at #2, which was why there was speculation that they wanted Ronjay Buenafe from Meralco. Dunigan will probably need to score at least 40 points per game to make them competitive but they’ll struggle a bit against the more elite squads.

Projected Placing: 8th

ALASKA ACES

Import: Robert Dozier
Roster Changes: In – Aldrech Ramos; Out – Mac Baracael
AFC Finish – 4th place

The Alaska Aces were the surprise package of the Philippine Cup. Not given much of a chance with a relatively new roster and a young coach in Luigi Trillo, the Aces overachieved, anchored on the energy brought in by their rookie, Calvin Abueva. Can they sustain this in the Commissioner’s Cup?

Only time will tell how Trillo would intend to use Ramos. Baracael was reported wanting to be traded because of lack of playing time. Alaska will miss his clutch outside shooting and his physical toughness. Ramos is still an unproven commodity in the pros but has a lot of upside, and that he’s more than 6’7 tall should help his cause.

Can Dozier prove his worth and bring this team to an even better finish this time around? Will Abueva be as effective now that there are reinforcement giants in the middle? Alaska has the aces to go all the way – but can they do it?

Projected Placing: 6th

BARAKO BULL ENERGY COFFEEMASTERS

Import: Evan Brock
Roster Changes: In – JC Intal, Jonas Villanueva, Allein Maliksi, Jojo Duncil; Out – Ronald Tubid, Lester Alvarez, Leo Najorda
AFC Finish: 9th

There’s every reason to be optimistic about Barako Bull’s chances. They floundered in the PHL Cup, but there seems to be a form of resurgence in spirit within the team with the entry of Rajko Toroman as Active Team Consultant. An exponent of conditioning, don’t expect the team to fall asleep anytime during the game.

The lineup change is glaring but it also brought in youth and speed. With high flyers like Intal and Maliksi in, plus a stable backup PG in Villanueva, this team will be quite exciting to watch. How soon Toroman can institute changes in this team is key, especially since he still has several veterans in his fold. One thing’s for sure, Barako will not look at another 9th place finish this time around.

Projected Placing: 7th

GINEBRA SAN MIGUEL

Import: Herbert Hill
Roster Changes: In – Mac Baracael; Out – Allein Maliksi
AFC Finish: 6th place

Under new coach Alfrancis Chua expect the Gin Kings to bring excitement every game as they go back to their old running way – something akin to the Robert Jaworski period of the 80’s and 90’s. Chua’s forte has always been to run and gun, and with a lot of players willing to do that in the team, Ginebra will definitely bring the crowd to a frenzy once more.

One important element that Chua is bringing with him is how the players have embraced this system. Superstars Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand and LA Tenorio all prefer to use their speed as their main weapon. Defense will be suspect though as Chua has never been known to specialize in this area. There are rumors that Herbert Hill’s tenure with the team may not last unless he makes an impressive impression. Regardless, Ginebra will always be a dangerous team and is the least preferred by opposing teams to go up against in a series.

Projected Placing: 5th

GLOBAL PORTMASTERS

Import: Justin Williams
Roster Changes: In – Sol Mercado, Japeth Aguilar, Kelly Nabong, Yousif Aljamal, JP Belencion; Out – Vic Manuel, Josh Vanlandingham, Rey Guevarra, Rabeh Al-Hussaini
AFC Finish: 10th place

The first order of the day for Mikee Romero was to get his past coach, Junel Baculi to run the team. Then, making bold changes in his roster, the lineup was practically revamped with the entry of Mercado and Nabong from Meralco and Aguilar from TNT. This team indeed looks good in paper, especially with Willie Miller and Gary David still around.

But can Baculi mesh these guys well? Potentially, they may possess the biggest offensive quartet in the league but sharing the ball would be a challenge. Chemistry is also suspect as Baculi would need more time get these guys to work together. It’s also reported that Justin Williams has yet to make an impression. Will we expect an import change?

Can Global get out of the cellar? They probably will, but don’t expect much.

Projected Placing: 9th

MERALCO BOLTS

Import: Eric Dawson
Roster Changes: In – Vic Manuel, Josh Vanlandingham, Rey Guevarra; Out – Sol Mercado, Kelly Nabong, JP Belencion, Yousif Aljamal
AFC Finish: 5th place

Coach Ryan Gregorio summarized the recent trade that saw his top scorer and passer Sol Mercado being released to Global Port as part of their rebuilding for the future. Yet, fans are still at a loss as to how Meralco will do with no marquee guy in their present lineup. While they were able to get the first round pick of Global Port for 2015, that may be too long a time to wait for the fruits of this trade to bear.

Without Mercado, the offense would most likely come from Mac Cardona and Ronjay Buenafe. They would probably benefit from the inspired play of import Eric Dawson, penciled to be one of the best reinforcements so far. But with a very thin local lineup, Gregorio would have nightmares trying to look for suitable combinations to help Dawson in the offensive end. And for Gregorio’s sake, let’s hope his import can carry this team far. History though would say otherwise. Unlike before, no matter how dominating an import can be, he can only take a team so far.

Projected Placing: 10th

PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS

Import: Renaldo Balkman
Roster Changes: In – Ronald Tubid; Out – Alex Mallari, Jojo Duncil’
AFC Finish: 7th place

A first place finish in a Cebu tournament last week augurs well for the Boosters. Reportedly, Balkman is the best import in the group despite the fact that he’s also the smallest at 6’6. But this shouldn’t be a problem for Petron as they have the 6’10 Fajardo manning the slot and Arwind Santos helping out in the boards.

The entry of Ronald Tubid is by far their best accomplishment so far this season. They didn’t lose much in Mallari and Duncil, two players who were relegated at the far end of the bench last conference. In return, they got Tubid, a two-way player who brings so much hustle and energy in a team that’s notorious for lacking these qualities. True enough, as a sign of things to come, Tubid got plenty of playing time in Cebu while doing the dirty spade work.

Will Petron finally reap the dividends of its manpower building for the past couple of years? With a potentially great import in Balkman, everything seems to augur well for them.

Projected Placing: 2nd

RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS

Import: Bruno Sundov
Roster Changes: None
AFC Finish: 2nd place

When Yeng Guiao drafted Chris Tiu last year and traded Ronjay Buenafe to Meralco, the fiery coach said that he was extremely satisfied with his local roster already. If there would be any change, it would be getting Sonny Thoss from Alaska for their first round picks. Otherwise, he was perfectly fine.

He proved this by leading ROS to its first PHL Cup Finals appearance, falling short to TNT. Their one weak spot has always been their interior, which was why Thoss was being considered. True enough, to shore up that weak spot, ROS hired the services of the tallest import and player ever to suit up in the PBA – the 7’2 ¾ Bruno Sundov. Guiao hopes Sundov can ROS’ perennial inside problems.

A team with Guiao coaching will always be competitive. This is no exception. But will they be able to replicate their Governors’ Cup championship last season? It would be hard, especially since the other teams have secured the services of talented imports themselves. Another finals appearance would already be a tremendous accomplishment for this young team.

Projected Placing: 4th

SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS

Import: Matt Rogers
Roster Changes: In – Alex Mallari, Leo Najorda, Lester Alvarez; Out – Aldrech Ramos, JC Intal, Jonas Villanueva
AFC Finish: 3rd place

The San Mig Coffee Mixers are a team that has a lot of pride. Tim Cone’s presence adds further credence to that. For them, winning the Commissioner’s Cup is passing through them first, being the defending champs. And they won’t give up the fight easy.

Their off-conference player rigodon proves such. They lost three reserve players but Cone made sure that his nucleus will not be affected. Instead, he made his PG rotation taller with the 6’4 Mallari coming in. Najorda provides the physicality sorely missing from the Mixers especially when against ROS.

The question is their import Rogers. The good news is if he pans out, Denzel Bowles is flying back to take over. And we all know what this fan favorite can do.

Projected Placing: 3rd

TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS

Import: Keith Benson
Roster Changes: In – Rabeh Al-Hussaini; Out – Japeth Aguilar
AFC Finish: 1st place

Anyone ‘who’ll claim that Talk ‘N Text won’t be the favorites to win the Commissioner’s Cup may have been gone for a long time. TNT remains to be the only elite team in the PBA for more than 3 seasons now. Under Norman Black, they’re expected to cement that legacy even further.

When everyone thought that TNT couldn’t get any better, guess again. They traded recalcitrant forward Japeth Aguilar, someone they hardly missed in their recent AFC conquest, to Global Port for former ROY Rabeh Al-Hussaini. Under his former collegiate coach, Al-Hussaini is expected to blossom and realize his true worth in the PBA. He may not contribute much this conference with the presence of their 6’11 import Keith Benson, but he’ll be there to provide quality minutes, especially with Ali Peek in the injury list.

TNT will also be riding on the crest of their AFC championship momentum. The grandslam dream is still within reach, especially since the 3rd Conference has been moved after the FIBA-Asia tournament. But first, they need to nail the Commissioner’s Cup which they failed to do last season courtesy of Bowles and the Coffee Mixers.

Projected Placing: 1st
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Comments

  • nice job power rankings.


    but for me the power rankings should be,

    1st - talk n text
    2nd -Alaska - has beaten talkntext and showed they are the only team that can match up with talkntext
    3rd - rain or shine
    4th - san mig coffee
    5th - petron - new players unproven fajardo softee. and so on and so forth
  • ysabelmilbyysabelmilby Member PExer
    I think that global port will be just like the Brooklyn Nets if they just play as equals. But if they make David their main man or star player, they can be a New York Knicks-like team in the PBA.

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  • James Ty IIIJames Ty III Member ✭✭✭
    Japeth Aguilar signed just a one-year contract with Globalport so the jury is still out on whether he can make this team a contender.
  • I love the PBA, t'was my favorite past time. it was the best show to offset the koreanovels and pinoy novelas on primetime tv. Until Magoo Marjon came on board as one of the commentators. Nothing personal about the guy, but i find his style of covering the games as OA. Sometimes his reactions and comments are unnecessary for the play. Sometimes the play doesnt look that exciting to get such a OA reactions. Ive watched NBA games, and I thing he's trying to copy NBA commentators. He's doing play by play for Pinoy audience not for American viewers. I just thinks he's OA.
    I miss the days of Joe Cantada, Ed Picson, Sev Sarmenta and the other guys of Vintage. I'm glad Mr Quinito Henson is still there. Kudos also to the cool coverage of Jolas, Jason Webb, Ronnie Magsanoc etc.
  • James Ty IIIJames Ty III Member ✭✭✭
    I hope Andy Jao returns to the PBA panel. His contract as Rain or Shine consultant was not renewed.
  • trapkmeg16trapkmeg16 Member PExer
    I think Magoo is doing okay.
  • si jasson webb ang dapat tapon. halatang pwetron fan e
  • elBartoloelBartolo Member ✭✭✭
    I love the PBA, t'was my favorite past time. it was the best show to offset the koreanovels and pinoy novelas on primetime tv. Until Magoo Marjon came on board as one of the commentators. Nothing personal about the guy, but i find his style of covering the games as OA. Sometimes his reactions and comments are unnecessary for the play. Sometimes the play doesnt look that exciting to get such a OA reactions. Ive watched NBA games, and I thing he's trying to copy NBA commentators. He's doing play by play for Pinoy audience not for American viewers. I just thinks he's OA.
    I miss the days of Joe Cantada, Ed Picson, Sev Sarmenta and the other guys of Vintage. I'm glad Mr Quinito Henson is still there. Kudos also to the cool coverage of Jolas, Jason Webb, Ronnie Magsanoc etc.

    naman at si Quinito pa ang nagustuhan at sinama pa talaga si Jolas.. :D
  • hethlerhethler Moderator PExer
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  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    What’s Ailing Petron?

    After struggling to a 7th place finish in the 2012-13 PBA Philippine Cup, the Petron Blaze Boosters made an inconspicuous debut in the Commissioner’s Cup, losing to the Global Portmasters, 94-92.

    Hopes were high for the Blaze Boosters at the start of the conference. They were parading a legitimate NBA player in Renaldo Balkman, perhaps the best credentialed import in the batch. Petron likewise showed its potential in an invitational tournament held in Cebu where it defeated the likes of Alaska and Ginebra, eventually winning the pocket tournament in impressive fashion.

    The Boosters were also able to acquire the services of veteran Ronald Tubid, perhaps one of the best two-way players in the league today. Tubid shored up their vulnerable 2 spot brought about by several injuries from their key players. But more than this, Tubid’s willingness to play within the Petron system and become a role player may be his greatest asset. Before he was traded, Tubid was the go-to-guy for the Barako Energy Cola squad, leading the team in scoring. At Petron, he’s not expected to score as much and will assume a less stellar role.

    After coming out from the ashes of its 7th place finish in the previous conference, fans were more optimistic with Petron’s chances. With more time in the pre-conference to adjust to Coach Olsen Racela’s system, hopes were high that Petron would finally rise to the occasion. PEX itself has penciled Petron at #2 in the power rankings.

    After their debut game loss against Global Port, Petron fans didn’t hide their collective frustration. Despite their Cebu success, they continue to struggle, often times turning the ball over betraying lack of chemistry. When their offensive plays bog down, the players resort to their individualistic tendencies, relying on their skills to bail them out. At times, these work. More often than not, they don’t.

    So what ails the Blaze Boosters? This team has gone through so many player changes the past two seasons. They’ve also hired (and later released) consultant Rajko Toroman to avoid rocking the boat too much. Yet, they’ve struggled.

    Primary reason of course, is the assortment of injuries that befell their players. Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Danny Ildefonso and Junmar Fajardo were all injured on separate occasions and the team hasn’t played with a full slate yet for the season, except perhaps in their last few games of the Philippine Cup.

    But what’s more evident in Petron’s difficulties so far is their lack of chemistry. Jelling has yet to be achieved brought about by constant player movement. They still haven’t figured out how to maximize the presence of superstars Arwind Santos and Jay Washington, two of the best players in their respective positions. They have a fantastic cast that can start for any team in the league – the likes of Lutz, Lassiter, Joseph Yeo, Denok Miranda, Alex Cabagnot, Fajardo, Tubid, Dorian Pena, and Ildefonso. On paper, they don’t have a weak spot for all positions that if Racela opts to do a platoon substitution, there won’t be a drop in performance.

    But even if one has a roster that may already be treated like the national team, they have underachieved. Racela is having difficulty essaying their respective roles in the team and making them work as a team. In the Global game for example, Alex Cabagnot was able to slash the paint but was swarmed by at least two Global defenders. He had the option of passing the ball to at least 2 open teammates but decided to take it strong. The ball clanked the ring. In the next play, Santos took an ill-advised three point shot that rimmed off, thereby dousing whatever hopes for a Petron victory. What made the loss more painful was Global having to play all Filipino in the last 20 minutes of the game as import Justin Williams was assessed a flagrant foul 2 against Junmar Fajardo in the 3rd quarter. Yet, Global was still able to pull off a huge win.

    It takes more than great players to build a great team. Petron may be trying to replicate Talk ‘N Text’s recipe for success by trying to corner the best talents available in the market. TNT’s formula was completed when the Texters landed Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes from the disbanded Sta. Lucia Realtors. Petron did the same, getting Lassiter from Powerade, working out a trade with Air 21 to get Santos, drafting Lutz and Fajardo from the draft, and acquiring Tubid and Pena from Barako. Somehow, they have not succeeded in replicating TNT’s success.

    TNT, of course, had the luxury of having national team mentor Chot Reyes as their head coach when they acquired Williams and Reyes. A seasoned coach for nearly two decades, Reyes knew exactly what roles these two would play for TNT, even to the point of making them adjust their games compared to their klieg light attention they had from the Realtors. At TNT, they were given roles to play, and they did these well.

    Racela is a neophyte coach. He barely warmed the assistant coaching job seat for Ato Agustin when he was asked to handle this superstar-laden team. Racela is regarded by many of the veterans in this team as their peer, and this may work both ways. When Racela got the head coach job, he had to share responsibilities with Toroman, then their consultant. After the confusion was settled by removing Toroman from the bench, Racela was finally given the free hand to run the team. For a novice coach like Racela, despite his highly-decorated playing career as the team’s point guard, this may be asking too much from him.

    But then, it’s still early. Petron will bounce back and may probably figure deep into the playoffs by May. Still, Petron fans are getting restless. It may be unfair to Racela but for a team regarded as the boldest when it comes to tinkering its roster, the bar has been set so high. And for a franchise that has a proud tradition of winning, one can’t help but magnify their setbacks.
  • MajorPainMajorPain Member PExer
    I love the PBA, t'was my favorite past time. it was the best show to offset the koreanovels and pinoy novelas on primetime tv. Until Magoo Marjon came on board as one of the commentators. Nothing personal about the guy, but i find his style of covering the games as OA. Sometimes his reactions and comments are unnecessary for the play. Sometimes the play doesnt look that exciting to get such a OA reactions. Ive watched NBA games, and I thing he's trying to copy NBA commentators. He's doing play by play for Pinoy audience not for American viewers. I just thinks he's OA.
    I miss the days of Joe Cantada, Ed Picson, Sev Sarmenta and the other guys of Vintage. I'm glad Mr Quinito Henson is still there. Kudos also to the cool coverage of Jolas, Jason Webb, Ronnie Magsanoc etc.
    Nakokornihan din ako sa taong ito...

    Napanood ko yung laban ng Ginebra VS Air21. Tinawag ba naman yung import ng Ginebra na Herbert "Notting" Hill. :rolleyes:
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    RANKING THE IMPORTS:

    The 2012-13 PBA Commissioner’s Cup has been running for more than a week now. The tournament’s format is for all teams to have one import of unlimited height reinforcing them with the hope of winning the title. San Mig Coffee is the defending champion with last year’s hero, Denzel Bowles, coming back and expected to play this Friday against Rain or Shine.

    After at least two games, there are at least 2 imports that are being fired to give way to another. As mentioned, Bowles is coming back to replace the ineffective Matt Rogers. On the other hand, after 3 straight losses, Ginebra will be sending in Vernon Macklin to replace Herbert Hill. Curiously, San Mig Coffee and Ginebra remain the only winless teams in the tournament today.

    PEX will rank the 2012-13 Commissioner’s Cup imports after the February 17, 2013 games.

    1. AIR 21 – MICHAEL DUNIGAN

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    Pre-season games ranked this highly-touted import of the Express as one of the most athletically-gifted players in this batch. And with good reason. Dunigan provides Air 21 the offensive sock and defensive presence they badly need to get to the next level. Similarly, Franz Pumaren has found a potential go-to guy in the crunch. If Dunigan continues to play well and work himself within Pumaren’s system, Air 21 may be serious contenders for a semis seat.

    Grade: A-

    2. ALASKA – ROBERT DOZIER

    8484348343_98e2f06f1e_z.jpg

    The Aces have won 3 straight games so far, against ROS, Meralco and previously unbeaten Barako. While all their games have been close, it also shows this team’s ability to play at the stretch. Dozier has contributed well, but more impressively, he has worked within Luigi Trillo’s system that has allowed the locals to continuously flourish. Dozier doesn’t need to score much but what he does well is to make the locals more confident with his ability to crash the boards and feed off nifty passes to build their respective confidence.

    Grade: A

    3. BARAKO – EVAN BROCK

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    Brock fits perfectly for Barako – his name alone is “barakong-barako.” A veteran of the Asian Basketball League, Brock has played just enough to allow the Energy Colas to win 2 of their first 3 games, including an import-less San Mig Mixers. His performance is still subject for review, although Brock is extremely hardworking. Barako has performed well so far because of the resurgence of their local lineup, led by Danny Seigle. A few more wins here and there may allow Brock to keep his job. Another loss though may see Barako shipping him out, pronto!

    Grade: C+

    4. GINEBRA – HERBERT HILL

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    Playing for Ginebra can be the best job in the world for an import with the kind of crowd support he’s bound to generate. It could also be the most thankless job around. Hill has been castigated by Ginebra fans for not being able to deliver, and as such, the team’s performance has floundered, losing all three of their games so far. Hill isn’t exactly a bad import – but he’s not a good one either. His movement is also an eyesore – creating further anxiety among the fans. Hill’s on his way out to give way to Vernon Macklin. Will Macklin turn the Kings’ performance around? We’ll see in the coming days.

    Grade: D

    5. GLOBAL PORT – JUSTIN WILLIAMS

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    A legitimate NBA veteran and a monster shot-blocker, Williams appears to be a perfect fit for Junel Baculi. Williams has collaborated with newly-acquired Japeth Aguilar to form what may be the most feared interior defense in the PBA today. And with Sol Mercado and Gary David leading the offense, Global has surprised a lot of pundits, winning two of their three games. Williams’ game still stands for improvement,, but his defensive presence alone has been enough to carry the new franchise to heights unknown to them.

    Grade: B+

    6. MERALCO – ERIC DAWSON

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    Another notable interior defender with decent offensive skills, Dawson should be ranked up there except that local support has been severely weak. The Bolts were fortunate to play against a listless Talk ‘N Text team struggling to find its form after a championship hangover. But two consecutive losses to Alaska and Rain or Shine brought them back to earth. Dawson disappeared in the late stretches of these two games, making people suspect of poor conditioning. Dawson may be retained though, but Ryan Gregorio has to find ways to look for wins without depending entirely on his import.

    Grade: B

    7. PETRON BLAZE – RENALDO BALKMAN

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    Petron has won 2 games out of 3 so far, both against sister teams. In their only loss to Global Port on Balkman’s debut game, the Petron import struggled against Aguilar’s defense. He recovered and redeemed himself in the next two games, including an impressive one against Ginebra where he displayed uncanny leadership skills. This may be what Coach Olsen Racela is looking for: an import who not only can do everything but more importantly, lead a rudder-less yet talented Petron team that has struggled in the past looking for the right chemistry. Balkman’s solid NBA credentials and experience served as his meal ticket to this new role.

    Grade: A

    8. RAIN OR SHINE – BRUNO SUNDOV

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    Sundov is already in the PBA record books as the tallest player ever to suit up a PBA jersey. At 7’2 ¾, the Croatian import was deemed as a perfect fit for Yeng Guiao’s plays as he not only can he help ROS where it’s weakest at – the paint – but moreso, he can also shoot from beyond the arc – a noted staple in Guiao’s offensive scheme. ROS could have been 2-0 now except for a bum non-call by the referee on Calvin Abueva against Sundov in the closing seconds of their game. What Sundov appear lacking though is toughness and intimidation – the same ones that Williams of Global and Dawson of Meralco bring. While it appears that ROS will stick with Sundov to the end, the jury is still out if he can carry the Painters to the Finals for a third consecutive time.

    Grade: B

    9. SAN MIG COFFEE – MATT ROGERS

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    Rogers was Tim Cone’s original pick in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup but wasn’t available. Denzel Bowles took his place and the rest is history. This season, Rogers got the first crack, but is already going home, to be replaced by Bowles once more. He didn’t play against Barako in the first game, but his flawed game got exposed in the second game as they got clobbered by the Blaze Boosters. Fan favorite Bowles is coming back, and hope for a Mixers’ resurgence is high. As for Rogers, he’s probably effective as a complementary import, but not the one who can lead the team in all fronts.

    Grade: D

    10. TALK ‘N TEXT – KEITH BENSON

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    Benson struggled in their first game against Meralco, but then, the entire team did. The next game against Air 21, they were dominating the Express until that late 4th Quarter resurgence by the Express led by Nino Canaleta’s six three point baskets nearly took a toll on the Texters. Benson showed that he can play decent defense. At TNT, he doesn’t need to do much owing to the superb lineup that the team has. But Benson would need to take charge once in a while, be intimidating inside, and score points when needed. It may be too early to ship him out, but if TNT loses one or two more games, Benson’s job is on the line.

    GRADE: C+
  • SNAGASNAGA Member PExer
    I believe this is Petron and Brgy Ginebra's conference. Hope they live up to expectation and not rely on imports to do the job. Ang daming locals na magaling, sablay lang ata motivation and sometimes coaching na rin.
  • James Ty IIIJames Ty III Member ✭✭✭
    Brock was never known as an explosive player, even when he was in the ABL.
  • NoctizsNoctizs ThE StaLkeR PExer
    ang ayaw ko kay Magoo, minsan salita siya ng salita tapos hindi naman pala sigurado sa mga sinasabi nya, nakikinig sa kanya mga tao sa tV tapos walang kasiguraduhan :lol: kaya siya palaging nababara ng mga kapartner nya eh :lol: masyadong indecisive when it comes to commentating, minsan nagmumukha pa siyang audience nanakikinood lang at di alam kung ano ang nangyayare, that guy needs to be on point, medyo bulol pa :lol: nothing against him pero wala na bang mahatak na iba ang AKTV?!? minsan pinapalagare pa nila yung tao hangang 2nd game nakaka-uta minsan pakinggan, ayos sana kung may variations yung pagcommentate nya kaso parang paulit ulit, J.Webb is ok for me kasi kahit papaano marunong siya magcriticize ng mga plays at kung ano ang nangyayare sa court pati nga Refs eh pag wrong calls talaga he will blurt it out, just like "The Truth" Jolas, :lol: dun mo makikita kung fair ba talaga, Mico Halili is one guy i'll never get tired of, he's not the great pero he sometimes pull unheard english words and pull out some jokes every now and then w/c makes him very unpredictable magaling pa mag-adlib, Rado di malibot naman matatawa ka kung magegets mo minsan yung jokes nya may pagka-slapstick and super old na talaga ang pinaghuhugutan :lol:
  • jammer22jammer22 YumYum! PExer
    Noctizs wrote: »
    ang ayaw ko kay Magoo, minsan salita siya ng salita tapos hindi naman pala sigurado sa mga sinasabi nya, nakikinig sa kanya mga tao sa tV tapos walang kasiguraduhan :lol: kaya siya palaging nababara ng mga kapartner nya eh :lol: masyadong indecisive when it comes to commentating, minsan nagmumukha pa siyang audience nanakikinood lang at di alam kung ano ang nangyayare, that guy needs to be on point, medyo bulol pa :lol: nothing against him pero wala na bang mahatak na iba ang AKTV?!? minsan pinapalagare pa nila yung tao hangang 2nd game nakaka-uta minsan pakinggan, ayos sana kung may variations yung pagcommentate nya kaso parang paulit ulit, J.Webb is ok for me kasi kahit papaano marunong siya magcriticize ng mga plays at kung ano ang nangyayare sa court pati nga Refs eh pag wrong calls talaga he will blurt it out, just like "The Truth" Jolas, :lol: dun mo makikita kung fair ba talaga, Mico Halili is one guy i'll never get tired of, he's not the great pero he sometimes pull unheard english words and pull out some jokes every now and then w/c makes him very unpredictable magaling pa mag-adlib, Rado di malibot naman matatawa ka kung magegets mo minsan yung jokes nya may pagka-slapstick and super old na talaga ang pinaghuhugutan :lol:

    sya yung kumakanyon diba?
  • James Ty IIIJames Ty III Member ✭✭✭
    jammer22 wrote: »
    sya yung kumakanyon diba?

    Siya yon. Magoo has a very exciting style of covering the games kasi. It can be a little irritating at times.
  • NoctizsNoctizs ThE StaLkeR PExer
    Since maaadjust ang GovsCup ng after Fiba, means maadjust dinang draft by Nov., with this, mapapayagan na kaya magpadraft ang mga maglalaro sa UAAP ng last year nila since magigng November pa naman ang PBA draft?!? hmmm... Sana may makasagot nito.. Sir Than?!? :hmm:
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    Solid start for Alaska; Struggles woe Ginebra

    PEX came up with a pre-tournament power rankings that rated the 10 teams as to how they'll perform in the Commissioner's Cup. After nearly 3 weeks, major surprises have sprung that can only make for an exciting conference.

    In the February 07 power rankings, teams were rated as such:

    1. TNT
    2. PBB
    3. SMC
    4. ROS
    5. GSM
    6. ALA
    7. BBE
    8. AE
    9. GP
    10. MB

    The present team standings so far and their difference from the power rankings:

    1. ALA (+5)
    2-3. PBB (-)
    2-3. ROS (+2)
    4. BBE (+3)
    5. TNT (-4)
    6-7. MB (+4)
    6-7. GP (+3)
    8-9. SMC (-5)
    8-9. AE (-)
    10. GSM (-5)

    PEX was able to call it right (so far) with regard to Petron and Air 21. The biggest surprises were Alaska remaining unbeaten so far in 4 games and perennial favorites San Mig Coffee and Barangay Ginebra making up the cellar.

    Alaska's performance has been stunning so far. They may not have the tallest nor the most athletic nor the most prolific reinforcement today but Robert Dozier gets the job done. A mid-season trade that saw the Aces losing Mac Baracael for seldom-used Aldrech Ramos came as a surprise but it seems the Aces were hardly affected by the loss of the former national team player.

    But the Aces have been resurgent, owing to the energy brought by their rookie sensation and MVP contender Calvin Abueva as well as the return of Cyrus Baguio's explosive game. Baguio's contributions have been quite stellar, and he has become the Aces' top offensive option.

    Coach Luigi Trillo should be commended for giving Baguio the room to use his creativity. Trillo has proven a lot of critics (including this writer) wrong as his more flexible approach to the triangle (compared to Tim Cone) has provided enough latitude for Baguio and Abueva to perform. Dozier likewise has been outstanding - leading the team in scoring and rebounding and doing more than enough as its defensive catalyst. The chemistry that this team has is evident as the players seem to enjoy playing with each other. How far they'll go is the question but after a surprise semifinals appearance in the Philippine Cup, don't be surprised if they do so again this conference. Or even more...

    Inversely, two teams have struggled of late. Sister teams San Mig Coffee and Ginebra were beset by import dilemmas that forced the hand of management to replace their reinforcements (the only teams to do this, so far). The Mixers have rehired fan favorite Denzel Bowles, the hero of their championship run last season, for a return bout. Bowles struggled in his first game against Rain or Shine, huffing and puffing the whole game as he tried hard to get back in basketball shape. He improved dramatically two days after against powerhouse TNT, leading the team in beating the Texters 90-82, despite a so-so performance from two-time MVP James Yap. With Bowles back and the Mixers' confidence soaring, they should be able to justify PEX's 3rd place rank for them. Or even surpass this by defending their title come May.

    The conference soap opera though is empathizing with the legion of Ginebra fans who have shown disgust and disappointment with their favorite team. Recently-appointed head coach Alfrancis Chua has been the target of the mudslinging from Ginebra fans. Hard not to agree with the fans though. Their passion for their team is unparalleled, and only they would feel the pain of losing.

    Chua's system (or the lack of one) has been initially penciled as probably an effective way of reviving the old Ginebra spirit. Sonny Jaworski's past Ginebra teams were never known for being methodical - instead, they earned the adulation of the fans because they were exciting and ran at every opportunity possible. Chua's style was seen as replicating the old Jaworski teams in an effort to revive fan interest.

    Yet, things haven't worked - until last night. Ginebra racked up 4 consecutive losses, including 15-point defeats against Petron and Alaska. They replaced ineffective import Herbert Hill with NBA veteran Vernon Macklin, who has so far been 1-1. Last night's win though was particularly impressive, demolishing surprise team Barako by a rout as they dominated the entire game anchored on Macklin's inside game and Mark Caguioa's offense. Chua lambasted Hill for failing to inspire the locals that led to three losses for the franchise. He has praised Macklin for showing his guts on the court, making the others follow suit.

    How far Ginebra can go though is the question. The last time Ginebra struggled like this, it was in the 2008-09 Fiesta Conference when they started with a 0-5 card. They found a gem of a reinforcement in seven-footer Chris Alexander who led them to the title, beating the Air 21 Express in seven games. But that was still under the mentorship of Coach Jong Uichico, one of the best coaches in the Philippines. While Ginebra fans weren't less disappointed with how the Kings performed back then, the difference was the sense of optimism to turn things around was much higher then compared to now.

    Chua is primarily the reason. Fans haven't warmed up to the former UST player yet. His coaching accomplishments in the PBL were stellar, steering Tanduay to a couple of titles with Eric Menk around. But his PBA career hasn't been as impressive. While staunch GSM fans clamored for the replacement of erstwhile head coach Siot Tanquincen last conference, it wasn't Chua who they had in mind. They were hoping for Rajko Toroman to take over after he was sacked as team consultant for Petron. Others also were wishing for the return of Jaworski. Anybody but Chua.

    Well, Chua has finally unfurled his ponytail last night - a symbolic gesture that meant a victory for the coach. How many times he'll be able to do this in the Commissioner's Cup, we don't know. But he can't blame his import anymore for whatever debacle that comes his way. He has gone out of his way to praise Macklin as a sign of confidence to his reinforcement. But what worries Ginebra fans is the lack of system that the team has. While many fans complained before that Uichico and Tanquincen were removing the Ginebra style of play with their deliberate, set it up type of offense, they also learned to appreciate how this has helped the team win a couple of titles after the Jaworski era. Now, they can only dream of having one again as Chua's style of play is completely different from the past Ginebra teams since 2004 when Tanquincen first took over.

    Meantime, some teams have silently gone on with their business. Rain or Shine has quietly won 3 in a row after losing their debut game against Alaska. They could be 4-0 now, except for a dubious non-call made by the refs on Alaska against ROS import Bruno Sundov. But they have done well so far - winning impressively against SMC and Meralco while upending the Express despite having Sundov in foul trouble most parts of the game.

    Another surprise team has been Barako. They've done well, despite Evan Brock's lack of domination. Time will tell if Brock is to be replaced, but since they still have a winning record, the team has stuck with him so far. Last night's game against Ginebra saw its fortunes being turned around as they couldn't get their game going from the getgo. In the first quarter alone, they had 10 turnovers, manifesting the roller-coaster performance of this team. PG Josh Urbiztondo's game pretty much speaks overall of how Barako plays - if lucky, Urbiztondo (and Barako) are hard to beat. If they don't play well, they're easy crumbs. How well and fast consultant Rajko Toroman to whip this team to consistency will spell the fate of the Energy Cola this conference.

    Global Port is another revelation. Under a new head coach in Junel Baculi and made up of new players Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar, Global seems to be making early strides. Can they go far? We don't know yet, but with veterans Mercado and Gary David as go-to players, they have a shot for one of the 4 semifinals seats.

    But they need to take it slowly. Global has improved from the last conference but they're still fairly predictable as a team. Justin Williams, while a defensive workhorse, would still need to raise the ante on his offensive game to keep his job. When the offense bogs down and the locals can't deliver, it's nice to have the import take over and dominate. Williams hasn't done this yet, which is one of the reasons why Global hasn't closed out well.

    What the Mikee Romero-owned franchise has done well so far though is shutting down their opponents' interior scoring. With Williams manning the paint and Japeth Aguilar providing weak side help, opposing players think twice of penetrating, afraid of their shots being swatted away by these two behemoths. Sol Mercado has also continued with his consistency - leading the league in dimes while still being able to contribute. Mercado has become the complete PG - capable of scoring, orchestrating and giving off feeds to everyone. He has been so impressive that Baculi has found no need to give Willie Miller (the team's topscorer in the PHL Cup) enough playing time.

    So will PEX's power rankings hold sway? Next week, we'll review the power rankings as well and come up with an updated list from thereon.
  • James Ty IIIJames Ty III Member ✭✭✭
    Noctizs wrote: »
    Since maaadjust ang GovsCup ng after Fiba, means maadjust dinang draft by Nov., with this, mapapayagan na kaya magpadraft ang mga maglalaro sa UAAP ng last year nila since magigng November pa naman ang PBA draft?!? hmmm... Sana may makasagot nito.. Sir Than?!? :hmm:

    We're not sure. The UAAP board has not yet met about this.
«13456771

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