ICYMI: Kia finally Snapped its 16-Game Losing Streak

Ricky Dandan
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

One factor enabled the Picanto to clinch their first win in 8 months

Everybody hates losing and that’s something we cannot deny not just in sports but in life in general. However, it has been said that whenever you lose in anything whether it’s a basketball game or you’ve miserably failed your examinations in school, you will learn something from the mistakes which led to that specific setback and will help you improve the next time around. But, as they say, if you keep on committing the same set of mistakes, then something is wrong with you.
That has been the case for the Kia Picanto. For 8 months, they have endured nothing but defeat. They came closest to a win against the NLEX Road Warriors to open the Philippine Cup but faltered late in the 4th quarter. Then, Chris Gavina reigned as coach, paving way for Ricky Dandan to be promoted as top tactician. However, that move didn’t have any effect as Kia dropped its two games since Dandan took over. Then, came the game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, a game had the Picanto lost, would have made them own the second-longest losing streak in the history of the PBA.
Fortunately, losing’s over for the Kia Picanto, for now, as they scored 32 points in the pivotal 3rd quarter en route to a 98-94 win over the inconsistent Elasto Painters. Given how close the final score was, Ricky Dandan could only release a sigh of relief. After all, it was a game that was filled with tension and ejections plus the fact that two Kia players were ejected in the second quarter. Still, Kia has other players on its roster who produced notable good numbers to get over the hump, finally.
But if you will ask Ricky Dandan, there was one factor that pushed Kia to their first win of the season: they had no choice but to keep going, dig deep and look for positive things that kept them going. The coach also added that he was overall happy with the fact that his team was able to keep their composure and played for 48 minutes- the first time this season that they actually did that.

Conclusion

With their first win already in the bag, Ricky Dandan is hoping that the Kia Picanto can build up their confidence from beating a team like Rain or Shine and start gaining more W. However, with a game against the Meralco Bolts coming up this Wednesday, Kia needs all of its players aboard because Meralco has been to the Governors’ Cup Finals, twice. And despite its struggles, Meralco is still better-coached. But who knows? Kia has already one game so why stop there, right?  

Ginebra is Over the Stunning Loss to Blackwater- Tim Cone Hopes so

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

9 days should be enough for the Gin Kings to get over the trauma

Whenever the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings lose a game in the PBA whether it’s in the Finals or in the elimination rounds, almost the whole of the venue is quiet. Why? Ginebra is the crowd darlings that’s why it’s extremely painful and maddening for their fans to see their beloved Gin Kings go down. But perhaps, one guy on the Ginebra bench is absorbing all of the pain and disappointment every time his team loses a game and that guy is none other than Coach Tim Cone, winner of 20 PBA championships.
Against the Blackwater Elites who handed Ginebra their first defeat in three games, Tim Cone has all the reasons to be disappointed with the performance of his players. They were limited to 77 points including 14 points 16 points in the 2nd and 4th quarters respectively. They shot 36% from the field and 15% from the three-point territory. They had 21 turnovers and their bench got outscored by Blackwater’s bench, 34-13.
9 days after their horrible game, Tim Cone is hoping that the Gin Kings have already put the Blackwater game behind them as they are up against the Alaska Aces who are coming into this game, riding on their 2-game winning streak. They destroyed the Kia Picanto in their last game when they limited Kia to only 65 points including only 5 points in the third quarter.
While Alaska is leaning on the confidence of Jeron Teng plus the presence of Calvin Abueva, the Aces are still up for an uphill battle against the Gin Kings because we all know that Ginebra could only get meaner and tougher to play against coming off a defeat.

Conclusion

Despite their shakiness which can be associated with the fact that they were still intoxicated by their championship run during the Governors’ Cup, the Gin Kings are still among this conference’s title contenders.

Prediction: Ginebra will win. 

Leethal Weapon is still Lethal: Earns PBA Player of the Week Recognition

Paul Lee of Magnolia
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Paul Lee adds another recognition after leading Magnolia to back-to-back wins

Paul Lee, despite the tons of injuries that hampered his performance in the last several seasons and even made him miss most of the Star Hotshots’, now known as the Magnolia Hotshots, semifinal series against the Meralco Bolts during the previous Governors’ Cup.
Now healthy and free of injury, Paul Lee is ready to lead his Hotshots as they attempt to end their semifinals upsets over the past season. And he is already making noise early on the 43rd season as he was named as the Player of the Week after leading his team to two consecutive wins after dropping their season opener against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. 

Just how good was Paul Lee?

Paul Lee, AKA The Angas ng Tondo, averaged 17 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and, 1.5 blocks in their first two games of the new year. His brilliance started off against the winless, Kia Picanto when he scored all of his 13 points in the pivotal 3rd quarter alone which enabled the Hotshots to run away for good. Then, he took the super rookie, Kiefer Ravena to school as Lee scored 21 points to help Magnolia beat Ravena’s NLEX Road Warriors. 
By taking the recognition, Paul Lee just beat some of the big shots in the league such as 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo, Stanley Pringle, Vic Manuel, JP Eram, among others. If he can keep on playing this good, we shouldn’t be surprised if he is to become one of the leading candidates for the Best Player of the Conference award for the All-Filipino conference. 

Conclusion

The Magnolia Hotshots are currently tied with the Gin Kings as both squads have a 3-1 record which is good for second place just behind the unbeaten San Miguel Beermen and one of the reasons why the Hotshots are hot is because of the brilliance of Paul Lee. And like it or not, Paul Lee is more than just about “angas”. 

Kia Still Winless in 4 Games, Loses by 37 to Alaska

Alaska Aces
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Kia absorbs 16th straight defeat- the third-longest losing streak in the PBA

Ugly. That’s probably the best adjective you can describe the early goings of the 43rd season of the PBA for the Kia Picanto. For starters, they threw away their future by trading the top pick who happened to be Christian Standhardinger. Then, just two defeats into the new season, Chris Gavina resigned which promoted Ricky Dandan as the new head coach. Unfortunately, that move didn’t do the Picanto any good as Kia dropped their first game under a new coach.
Things weren’t about to get better any time soon for the Kia Picanto as they sustained one of their worst losses in franchise history as they got blown out anew, this time by the Alaska Aces, 102-65. This, folks, is Kia’s 4th straight defeat and 16th consecutive since last season’s Commissioner’s Cup.  This is also Kia’s third consecutive blown-out loss and they were defeated by a margin of 35 points per game.
What were the things that doomed Kia anew? Below are those nasty things:

5 Points in the Third Quarter

To begin with, Kia was actually in the game after the first quarter as they held a 21-20 to end the quarter. They also managed to keep the score as close as possible despite being down, 49-34 at the halftime break. But when the third quarter came along, that’s when things went further south for Kia as they would have gone scoreless if not to Eric Camson, Rashawn McCarthy and Reden Celda who combined for all of Kia’s 5 points in the 3rd quarter. And that’s the reason why Alaska won the game.

Alaska’s Pressing Defense Worked to Perfection

Alaska has been feared despite their 2-2 record for their suffocating pressing defense and it worked to the max against the Picanto. The Aces only allowed Kia to make 32% of their attempts, 34% from the two-point area and 30% from the three-point territory. They also forced 29 turnovers from Kia which the Aces converted to 32 points on the other end.

Conclusion

Will Kia’s streak break Ginebra’s losing streak which reached 17 back in the 1995 Commissioner’s Cup? They will. Probably. Especially if they continue to play the way they have been playing in their last 3 games.

Magnolia was Indeed Careful against Kia- Hotshots Rout Picanto by 47

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

A big 2nd half enabled the Hotshots to get win #2 in Philippine Cup

Heading into yesterday’s game, Chito Victolero has said that he was aiming to be careful against the Kia Picanto, even saying that the Picanto has a new coach in Ricky Dandan and has a new system which, according to Victolero himself, what makes the Picanto a dangerous team and if they weren’t careful, the Magnolia Hotshots would have gained the horrors of becoming the first team to lose to Kia this conference.
Fortunately, the Hotshots got their coach’s message, loud and clear as Magnolia made sure that Kia was nowhere near upsetting them by cruising to a 124-77 victory- the biggest winning margin so far this season.
And here’s how the Hotshots did it:

Big 2nd Half

To give credit to Ricky Dandan and his players, the Kia Picanto actually tied the score at 22 apiece at the end of the first quarter and even outscored Magnolia, 27-25 in the second quarter.
Then, things went south for the Picanto come the third quarter as Magnolia erupted for 34 points while limiting Kia to only 11 of their own. Things didn’t get better in the fourth quarter as the Hotshots continued to pound on the points, totaling 43 points while limiting the Picanto to 17 points. When you’re that careful against a winless team, you don’t stop scoring until the final buzzer and that’s what Magnolia did. 

91 Points from Magnolia’s Bench. Alone

The bench players of Chito Victolero actually outscored the ENTIRE Kia Picanto team, 91-77. In a game where Paul Lee only had 13 points while Mark Barroca had 4 points, Justin Melton led the way with 23 points while making 5 of his 6 attempts from the three-point line. Ian Sangalang added 21 points and 9 rebounds. Rookie Robert Herndon had 14 points to go along with 7 rebounds while Jio Jalalon, who made his season debut, had 11 points. 

A Good Game Overall for Magnolia

If anything, Magnolia’s dominating victory against a still winless team can be enough proof that the Hotshots are a better team now than they were during the previous teams. They shot better from the field, making 47% of their shots including a 40% outing from the three-point line. Defensively, the Hotshots stole the ball, 10 times, forced Kia to commit 25 turnovers while converting those turnovers into 37 points. They also outscored the Picanto, 30-5 in points off fast break opportunities. 

Conclusion

Although it’s only one game and it was against a winless team, teams will definitely look at Magnolia’s performance in this particular game for scouting purposes. Why? Winning by that BIG margin can only be done by a team who can score and defend well. This serves as a warning to the other teams. They shouldn’t take Magnolia for granted even though their stars are struggling. 

Magnolia Aiming to be Extra Careful with Winless Kia

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Statistically, the Magnolia Hotshots are the better team heading into their first game of the year against the team which has yet to win a single game this conference, the Kia Picanto. 
Even though they are heavily favored to handle the Picanto their 3rd straight defeat this afternoon, the Hotshots, specifically Coach Chito Victolero has said it that they are aiming to be extra careful against the still winless Picanto who have a new coach and a new system to follow. 
After all, Ricky Dandan, who took over following the resignation of Chris Gavina, aims to follow Joe Lipa’s ways of the playing conventional style of basketball. And if you’re fortunate enough to witness Joe Lipa coach during his heydays, then you know Magnolia is up against a much different team.
After bowing down to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings on Christmas Day, the Magnolia Hotshots are gunning for their second win in 3 games as the 16-day hiatus in between games hopefully enabled injured stars to heal from their injuries, specifically Jio Jalalon who has just been cleared to play. In addition to this, Victolero also hopes that PJ Simon and Marc Pingris to come out better after struggling against Ginebra. If the stars of Magnolia can pound early on, chances are Kia is already in a big trouble.
On the other hand, Ricky Dandan only had 7 practices with the Picanto after taking over at the helm. Installing a new system is among his priorities early on but according to the former head coach of the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP, his number 1 focus, for now, is to make sure that the Picanto becomes a solidified team before they can start moving forward.

Conclusion

It’s good that Chito Victolero and his boys aren’t taking the Picanto for granted as it will be a big embarrassment if they are to lose to Kia today. After all, who would want to be defeated by the worst team in the league right now?
On the other hand, a 0-2 record doesn’t really translate to the amount of talent that Kia. After all, they almost beat the NLEX Road Warriors back in their first game of the new a season. ALMOST. Having said this, Chito Victolero is definitely correct in saying that Kia is indeed, a very dangerous team. 

Chris Gavina Resigns as Kia’s Head Coach

Chris Gavina Resigns as Kia's Head Coach

Ricky Dandan takes over coaching duties

Gavina’s resignation came after Kia’ 23-point loss to Phoenix.
The Kia Picanto entered the 43rd season of the PBA fresh from a winless campaign during the 2016 Governors’ Cup. Don’t forget that they also traded their right to pick the top pick in the draft which eventually happened to be the Filipino-German and Gilas big man, Christian Standhardinger. Despite trading their potential future star, the Picanto managed to pose a threat against the NLEX Road Warriors in their season-opener before losing, 119-115. However, their next game,e against the Phoenix Fuel Masters was something that hit them the most as it was a 23-point blowout loss, their 14th straight loss.

Just when things couldn’t get any better for the Picanto, Chris Gavina will start 2018 without a team to coach as he submitted his resignation yesterday- a move that was confirmed by Joe Lipa, the team’s general manager. Ironically, Gavina’s resignation came just two days after Kia announced that he was the team’s head coach. Was.

Gavina started as Manny Pacquiao’s deputy coach- all while the playing coach wasn’t on the court. Despite the stockpile of losses, we can’t argue with the fact that Chris Gavina did his job, leading Kia to its only playoff appearance so far back in 2016 before losing to the Meralco Bolts.

Ricky Dandan is set to take over at the helm in the next games of Kia. Will he be the permanent coach or only in an interim capacity will be something that we’ll have to wait and see.

Conclusion

Will Chris Gavina’s resignation bring good things to the still winless Kia Picanto? It depends on the adjustments that will be made come the games. After all, Kia still has a bunch of quality players who can score at will and lead the team to wins. They just need to rediscover how they started 4-0 like they did back in the 2016 Governors’ Cup under Chris Gavina.

Take a look at our last conversation with Chris Gavina

A Rocky 2017: Stories that Rocked the PBA in 2017


A Rocky 2017: Stories that Rocked the PBA in 2017
Ginebra’s championship run during the Governors’ Cup is just one of the many stories that happened this year (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

What a year it has been for the PBA.

In case you haven’t been updated as to what happened in the PBA during the past 12 months, well, you’ve missed a lot. From an aborted Grand Slam to a controversial trade, 2017 has been indeed a busy year for the PBA and it has been a controversial year, too.
To help you have a recap of what happened in the league, below are the stories which this pundit on wheels thinks that rocked the entire league the most:

The Standhardinger Saga

Let’s start with one of the biggest stories in local basketball scene this year. Christian Standhardinger’s name has been very much familiar with the Filipino fans owing to his stint with the Gilas Pilipinas. When he announced his intention to join the draft, it had been expected by many that he would be picked ahead of the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng.
Surprise!
First, he missed the Draft Combine. Then, the Kia Picanto traded away the rights to pick first in the draft to the San Miguel Beermen for a bunch of bench players. Many questions were shocked by Kia’s decision with some even questioning if they intend to become a competitive team in the future. Despite questions from almost every direction, Commissioner Chito Narvasa still approved the said deal. Despite the questions, there was nothing illegal in the deal, to begin with. It was a lopsided trade, yes but it’s within the rules and regulations of the league. 

The Chito Narvasa Stand-off

The deal that sent Standhardinger to the Beermen created a rippling effect to the league and among those affected was none other than the good commissioner, Chito Narvasa. Why? He approved the trade despite calls for him to veto him. That started a war between two factions: the one led by the MVP Group who wanted Narvasa out of the picture, and the one that was led by the SMC Group who stood behind Narvasa. The MVP Group managed to get 7 votes to terminate Narvasa’s contract which a vote short of the 8 votes required to remove or retain a commissioner. This war canceled the annual planning session of the PBA in the United States, creating speculations of a possible lockout. 
Then came along the opening day of the 43rd season. The board members gathered around during a press conference just a few hours prior to the opening ceremony- announcing that Chito Narvasa has tendered his resignation. Then, the board came up with a resolution, retaining Narvasa until the end of the year to allow Narvasa to help in the selection of his replacement. 
Who will replace him? We’ll have to wait until next week to know. 

Ginebra’s Back-to-Back Governors’ Cup Championships

Ginebra’s road to another Governors’ Cup championship wasn’t easy as many people initially thought. First, they had to face a Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen that was bannered anew by 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo in the quarterfinals. Then, the Gin Kings battled the TNT KaTropa in a controversial semifinal series. 
Then came to the Finals where they faced the Meralco Bolts- the same team they beat for the championship in 6 games last year.
After winning the first two games of the series, many people began coming up with predictions that Ginebra would sweep Meralco this time around. The Bolts fought back and forced a Game 7 at the Philippine Arena. However, LA Tenorio showed us that yes, despite playing through pain, he still has what it takes to lead his team to a championship and that’s what he did. He drained jumper after jumper in front of a 50,000+ crowd who trooped to the Philippine to witness Ginebra being crowned a champion anew. LA Tenorio finished the 42nd season of the PBA with a Finals MVP. 

Conclusion

As it is, 2017 will be remembered as both a controversial and an exciting year not just for the PBA but for the basketball scene in general. While we are still waiting for the replacement of Chito Narvasa as the PBA Commissioner, this pundit on wheels believes that 2018 will be a better year for the PBA. If anything, this year’s draft class is already loaded with talent enough to shock the league next year. 

The Phenom Bags First Player of the Week Award

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)


His numbers speak for himself.

Kiefer Ravena’s greatness has been witnessed by everyone since he was playing for the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets. Then he elevated into the collegiate ranks where he spread his wings furthermore. While playing under Norman Black for a team who was in a middle of a 5-peat run, the Phenom made sure that he left his marks as he won multiple awards including MVPs and Mythical Tem selections.
While his last two seasons with the Blue Eagles went nuts as the Eagles faltered in the Final 4, twice, Ravena managed to show that he’s more than ready to enter the PBA but chose to explore playing opportunities in the United States, even joining the tryouts in the NBA D-League. While nothing happened in that scenario, the Phenom returned home and answered the calls of our national team. Soon, he already has 4 SEA Games gold medals under his belt. Then, he entered the PBA Draft and landed under the guidance of one of the league’s fiercest coaches, Yeng Guiao.
Kiefer Ravena wasted no time in making the most of his time as he dished out his PBA assist just a few seconds right after tip-off against Kia Picanto. By the end of the game, the Phenom has totaled 18 points and 12 assists plus 7 rebounds while leading the NLEX Road Warriors to a 119-115 opening day victory. But that was only the beginning, folks.
On Christmas Day, he led NLEX anew to another victory as he scored 20 points and added 5 assists plus 4 steals in another all-around performance against the GlobalPort Batang Pier who had to play without their star, Terrence Romeo.
As a result of his phenomenal start to his career, Kiefer Ravena was hailed as the Player of the Week in the league’s first week. In his first two games, Ravena averaged 19 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds while beating big names for the award such as June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, JR Quinahan and others.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, Kiefer Ravena is just getting started and we shouldn’t be surprised either if he goes on winning more than just the Player of the Week award. After all, he’s the next-best rookie in his draft class with Christian Standhardinger still busy with his ABL stint. Who knows? Ravena might already be the front-runner for the Rookie of the Year award.  

Phoenix Explodes for 125 Points against Kia

Justin Chua Phoenix PBA
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Justin Chua leads a balanced attack by the Fuel Masters.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters entered the league’s 43rd season with lots of confidence owing to the fact that they have one of the talented young rosters in the PBA today. They have sharpshooter Matthew Wright who is also one of the vital pieces in the national team. They also have JC Intal who can provide the leadership because of his experience and longevity in the league. But most importantly, they have Jason Perkins, a super rookie who can bang his body with some of the elite big men in the league. And, they have a new coach in Louie Alas.
After faltering in their first assignment to open the Philippine Cup, Phoenix bounced back, big time. They overwhelmed the still winless, Kia Picanto, 125-102. And nobody from the Fuel Masters has scored above 15 points. So just imagine the damage if Perkins and company exploded for more. Scary, isn’t it?
What happened in the game? Below are the numbers:

125 Points and a Balanced Attack

Sure, scoring 125 points is big for a team such as Phoenix but the beauty of it is that nobody has to force himself to score more because of the fact that they had 8 guys who scored in double figures:
  • Justin Chua- 15 points
  • Matthew Wright- 15 points
  • JC Intal- 15 points
  • RJ Jazul- 13 points
  • Gelo Alonino- 13 points
  • Jason Perkins- 12 points
  • Doug Kramer- 12 points
  • Joseph Eriobu- 11 points

Firing on All Cylinders

Phoenix shot 55% from the field including a 56% shooting from the three-point line. They had help from everyone as evident by the 72 points that the bench players of Louie Alas have accumulated. While doing that, the Fuel Masters also limited the Picanto to only 44% field goal shooting which included a horrible 34% from rainbow distance. The only area that Kia was able to outperform Phoenix was at the free throw line where Kia shot 95% compared to Phoenix who only made 55% of their free throws.

Rebounds and Second-Chance Points

Rebounds and second-chance points were two departments where the Fuel Masters had dominated all throughout the game. They had a 53-39 edge on the boards, including a 17-9 advantage on the offensive rebounds. That dominance on the offensive rebounds allowed Phoenix to subsequently get 19 second-chance points while Kia could only manage 6 points off their missed opportunities. 

Conclusion

Now that Phoenix has rebounded from their opening day defeat, this will help in terms of allowing the team to  build a sense of confidence that yes, despite being a young team with a new coach, they can play against the elite teams in the league and yes, they can beat teams at any given day. 
For Kia, they have fallen to 0-2. However, the conference is still in its early stage and they can definitely get better. They just need to act quickly. 

The Phenom Takes off, Leads NLEX to Win

NLEX was able to hang on for a wire-to-wire win

The Phenom Takes off, Leads NLEX to Win
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Heading into the new season, the Kia Picanto has been one of the hottest topics of pundits owing to the fact that they traded away their chance of drafting Christian Standhardinger to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for bench players. Most people are laughing at this decision precisely because Standhardinger could have been the new face of the franchise and he will be, one day, for the Beermen instead. Despite the trade, Chris Gavina said that his team is out to prove their doubters wrong that the Kia Picanto will be competitive with the team that they have.
On the other hand, the NLEX Road Warriors are heading into this game, filled with confidence and hope. Why? The Road Warriors will be bannered by the dynamic backcourt duo of Kevin Alas and this year’s number 2 pick, Kiefer Ravena.
True enough, the Kia Picanto was able to surprise the NLEX Road Warriors until the Road Warriors found their groove late which enabled them to open the Philippine Cup with a 119-115 victory over Kia as they opened the Kiefer Ravena era in the PBA.

Kia’s Impressive Start

Just seconds after making his first start, Kiefer Ravena immediately made sure that his presence was felt as he assisted on the Road Warriors’ first basket and added 2 three-pointers during the first few minutes of the first quarter as NLEX went up, at 12-5 before Eric Camson nailed two freebies for the Picanto. From that moment, the Picanto went on a scoring run to tie the score for the first time, at 12 apiece until Kia took the lead on a Paniamogan trey, at 15-13. The Picanto was able to stretch their lead to 7 points as they were hitting their threes early on. 
The Kia Picanto was able to end the first quarter with the lead, at 40-36. This success can be associated with their 60% shooting from rainbow distance and of course, Eric Camson’s 15 points in the first quarter alone.

Kia Kept on Surprising

While many expected Yeng Guiao’s boys to start playing well at the start of the second quarter, Kia just kept on scoring especially from outside as their lead extended to 8 points, at 48-40 with 10 minutes to play in the first half. A Jackson Corpuz lay-up gave Kia their first double-digit lead, at 54-44. 
Throughout the second quarter, the Picanto was able to get significant contributions from almost everyone- including Ronald Tubid who was one of the players they received from the Standhardinger deal. Even though NLEX was able to inch closer, their offensive inconsistency was what kept them from inching much closer to the latter parts of the quarter. But, thanks to the efforts of Kiefer Ravena who already had 13 points and 7 assists at the half, the Road Warriors were able to trim down the lead to 4 points at the break, at 68-64.

Up and Down Battle in the Second Half

Opening the third quarter with a slim margin, the Picanto relied on their inside game as they slowly established a double-digit anew during the early goings of the 2nd half. However, the Road Warriors went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 76 all with under 7 minutes to play in the quarter. Kia was able to regain the lead and even extend it back to 9 after Dylan Ababou drained a difficult shot. 
However, just like in the 2nd quarter, Kiefer Ravena led NLEX’s comeback as he scored on a fast break lay-up to tie things up at 85 apiece as Juami Tingson drained a three-pointer to give the Road Warriors their first taste of the lead since the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Picanto was able to end the third quarter with the lead, at 92-90. 
Thre first few minutes of the 4th quarter looked like a see-saw, literally and figuratively as both squads were able to score on each other as the score stayed close unlike in the first half. NLEX actually had multiple chances to take and build a big lead but was only hampered by missed open shots and turnovers. 
Taking advantage of the defensive lapses of NLEX, JR Gallanza scored  5 points on two possessions to make it 106-103 with under 6 minutes to spare. After that, NLEX went on a mini-scoring run to regain the lead, 107-106 only to watch Kia regain the lead on another Camson basket. 
With the score tied at 108 apiece, both teams struggled to score on open opportunities with Kevin Alas getting his fast-break lay-up blocked. Then, with the Picanto down two, Jay-R Reyes attacked his defender, got fouled and calmly drained both charities to tie things up at 111 all with under two minutes to play but Alex Mallari was able to get NLEX back on top with an inside basket. 
After Jay-R Reyes tied the game at 113 all, Larry Fornacier drained a trey while getting fouled and made the ensuing free throw to give NLEX a little cushion with 66 seconds left. Reyes scored on the other end to bring Kia within two as they were able to get the rebound on NLEX’s next possession which led to a fumble. The ball possession remained with the Kia Picanto though although they only had 15 seconds on the game clock. Kia was able to shoot the ball but missed multiple opportunities to tie the score and even turned the ball over with 4.3 seconds left. JR Quinahan iced the game with 2 free throws.

The Numbers

Kiefer Ravena had a phenomenal debut, finishing the game with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists. Kevin Alas and Michael Miranda added 14 points each for NLEX who shot 51% from the field. 
On the other hand, Kia Picanto had Eric Camson leading them with  24 points while Rashawn McCarthy added 14 points. However, Kia cooled down offensively and only shot 36% from the three-point line.

The scores:

NLEX 119 – Ravena 18, Miranda 14, Alas 14, Mallari 13, Fonacier 12, Al-Hussaini 12, Quinahan 12, Tiongson 11, Baguio 5, Soyud 4, Ighalo 4, Taulava 0.

KIA 115 – Camson 24, McCarthy 14, Corpuz 13, reyes 12, Galanza 12, Celda 9, Ababou 9, Khobuntin 8, Paniamogan 7, Tubid 4, Yee 3, Caperal 0.

Quarter scores:

36-40, 64-68, 90-92, 119-115.

Chito Narvasa to Step Down as Commissioner

PBA Board appoints Willie Marcial as OIC

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

For almost two months since the Christian Standhardinger trade was approved, the entire PBA was put in a complete gridlock. Literally and figuratively. Why?
Here’s why:
Despite hearing worries and warnings from some of the team governors and owners- as well as from the fans themselves, Chito Narvasa still approved the trade that sent top pick Christian Standhardinger from the Kia Picanto to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for bench players. While the said trade deal was practically legal, some people said that this deal just destroyed the very essence why the PBA Draft is being held.
And that was only the beginning.
The MVP Group led 6 other teams which held an emergency board meeting in which, Narvasa was also present. That was the board meeting where the MVP-led group filed a resolution- stating that they won’t be extending Chito Narvasa’s term as PBA commissioner because Narvasa was no longer enjoying the trust and confidence of the  7 teams who wanted him out of the picture. 
By the PBA rules, a commissioner can either be removed or extended in office by 8 teams. So technically speaking, Narvasa is still the commissioner despite the fact that the supposedly annual planning session of the PBA in the United States was turned into a vacation because of the absence of the 5 teams who were standing behind Narvasa.
While the 43rd season of the PBA was stated to open yesterday, December 17, 2017, there was no assurance until the all 12 team governors alongside Narvasa showed up for the official launching event of the new season. Although rumors have started to pop up which regards to Narvasa’s impending resignation, nothing was made official until yesterday’s press conference led by PBA Chairman, Ricky Vargas, prior to the opening ceremony, announcing that Chito Narvasa has already submitted his resignation which was supposed to take effect immediately. However, the PBA Board filed a resolution, asking Narvasa to stay put until December 31, 2017, so that he could help during the transition period. In effect, the board also appointed Willie Marcial as the officer-in-charge until such time when a new commissioner is appointed.

Conclusion

Now that Chito Narvasa is set to leave office, the PBA can now set its focus on finding a new commissioner who can lead the PBA with full trust and confidence of all 12 teams also, to win back tons of fans who expressed displeasure in some of Narvasa’s ways of running the league. This should be a Christmas gift for the Filipino fans because it will serve as a new start for better things not just for the PBA but for the Philippine basketball in general. 

Kia Picanto Defeats SMB in Preseason, The Start of Winning Ways for Kia?

Kia Win is a Positive Start for the Struggling Team

Claret School in Quezon City was the venue where Kia experienced it’s first victory after a long drought. A win against the top team SMB is one that you would consider an accomplishement although both teams were not complete as SMB missed the service of their center and MVP JunMar Fajardo.
Jack Corpuz led Kia with 12 points and former SMB player McCarthy scored 8 points. SMB on the other hand relied with Lassiter who scored 16 points and Cabagnot with 15 points. The game ended with a score of 78-75.
An SMB loss to Kia is unexpected but since it us just the preseason there is no reason to be alarmed but Kia on the other hand have everything to be happy about as the win especially against SMB could be a big boost for a team that has not tasted a vicotry for a long time.

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Kia who claimed to be strategizing differently for the upcoming season may finally already be seeing the fruits of their labor.
Side note: Ronald Tubid did not play.

Kia Making a Shift: Ronald Tubid is Captain, Dylan Ababou is Back, Rookies Unsigned

Money Ball: Kia is making a shift and making moves

Kia Picanto Ronald Tubid

Have you ever watched Money Ball? 

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a general manager of the Oakland A’s, reinvented his team with a tight budget by outsmarting richer ball clubs. Is this kind of what, Kia is doing?
Starting from the controversial trade that swapped Christian Standhardinger to Kia’s eventual Captain Ronald Tubid, the team has certainly made the headline and turned heads.  Kia’s management suddenly got some unconventional reasonings and who knows exactly what their strategies are?
What we do know however is that Kia is a different team inside and out. With legendary and former coach Joe Lipa on board as a new part of the management team, the team has claimed that they have a different style and approach this year.
Kia has no real superstars on the roster, their last captain LA Revilla was booted out due to a controversial tweet. They let go of Nico Elorde. Chris de Chavez, Arvie Bringas, and Christian Geronimo who are all rookies were never offered anything.
On the other hand, they have signed  Dylan Ababou a former longtime Ginebra player who had played with 6 teams in his career. They have re-signed two other unknown players Jan Jamon and Bong Galanza. They also retained some good pieces in Glenn Khobuntin, Mark Yee, and Jason Deutchman.
But most of these moves aren’t exactly worth the headline and from the outside, it does not seem like Kia has done anything big to make that big leap that they badly needed especially with a forgetful season last year.
With Chris Gavina leading the helm of the new team, it would certainly be another challenging season as they battle it out against the obvious strong teams but do not be surprised if Kia suddenly becomes a good team. It may be hard to imagine Kia defeating SMB or Ginebra but it won’t be difficult to see them compete in the playoffs.
A good team is good because of the combination of players. It is not always a guarantee that a team full of superstars will be a great team. On the other hand, a team that doesn’t have one have all the upsides and the element of surprise. Kia has changed its roster and the chemistry of the new team is unknown right now but what if they are able to compliment each other and surprise everyone?
Kia has nowhere to go but up and while everyone is counting them out, I am definitely on the lookout!
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What do you think of Kia Picanto

They will be a great team

They will surprise everyone

They will have little improvement

Nothing will change

They will stay at the bottom

Survey Maker

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One Bad Tweet: KIA’s Primary Point Guard and Gilas Member LA Revilla Traded to Phoenix

LA Revilla will now play for the Phoenix Fuel Masters

Averaging close to 10 points per game in his career, the former LaSalle Green Archer and native of Bacolod was the only original member of the KIA squad left until that dreaded tweet which he posted about his mother team’s decision to trade their first pick (Christian Standhardinger) with three SMB benchwarmers.
Obviously, Kia was a bit sensitive to the issue and as soon as they found out about it, LA Revilla was immediately asked not to go to team practice and was placed on a trading block.
Fast forward today, Kia was successful in trading away LA Revilla and they received rookie Jayson Grimaldo. Not exactly a good trade for Kia but this time will let this go because a trade for a disgruntled player is always a win anyway. Who wouldn’t a player that doesn’t want to play with a team?
LA Revilla at 27 will be playing with his 3rd franchise, first was with Global Port, then Kia and now with Phoenix.
Revilla and the Kia Management has talked since the tweet and while everyone seems to be okay now, there is just no getting the damage back and parting ways just might be the best solution for the two camps.

At Risk: Christian Standhardinger will not be able Play in the PBA Until May?

SMB’s number 1 will not be available until May or June of 2018

Christian Standhardinger was the celebrated number 1 pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft and SMB is willing to gamble with the risk and wait until Standhardinger is able to play for the PBA.
While Christian Standhardinger is drafted in the PBA, he will not be able to play until he fulfills his contract with the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions where he will play as one of the ASEAN Heritage import. 
His obligation with ASEAN Basketball League team was also the reason why he was not able to attend the Rookie Draft Combine but none of these situations matter as SMB is willing to take the risk and wait for the big man.

Kia may have made the right move or did they really? 

SMB is one of those teams who can wait for Standhardinger as they really doesn’ need a lot of reinforcement, especially in the upcoming All-Filipino Conference which they have dominated in recent years. Chrisitan Standhardinger, the 29-year-old Filipino-German is expected to make an immediate impact as he makes SMB an, even more, stronger team in the coming years.
The 2017–18 ABL season will be the seventh season of competition of the ASEAN Basketball League. 

The regular season will start on 17 November 2017 and will end on 28 March 2018. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Was It Right for TNT to Call Chito Narvasa "Biased" for Standhardinger Saga?

Here’s why it’s right and not

Chito Narvasa 2017 PBA Rookie Draft
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa was called “biased” by the KaTropa management in a statement. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)


Even though he has yet to play a single second in the PBA and won’t play until he completes his stint in the Asian Basketball League, Christian Standhardinger, the top pick in last night’s 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, has become the hottest topic over the last few weeks. 
To begin with, he was one of the last applicants to submit his application for the draft. He then missed the Draft Combine where he could have showcased why he is indeed, the most sought-after rookie which almost caused him to be disqualified from joining the draft. 
But perhaps, nothing could have made Standhardinger as the most talked-about rookie than the trade involving the Kia Picanto sending the rights to pick Standhardinger to the San Miguel Beermen for bench warmers, future draft picks and cash. Due to the lopsidedness of the said deal, many were puzzled land were asking the same question: “What is wrong with Kia?”

Despite concerns from other PBA teams, the good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa approved the trade anyway and Christian Standhardinger walked out of Robinson’s Place Manila with a Beermen jacket. 
Just when everyone thought that the Stanhardinger Saga could be finally buried, nope. 
Apparently, the Beermen wasn’t the only team who was trying to trade for the number one pick. 
As it turned out, the Beermen just beat the Talk N Text KaTropa to the rights of picking Stanhardinger and incidentally, the KaTropa through an official statement released to the public, questioned the statement made by Commissioner Narvasa just a few hours prior to the Game 7 of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, saying that it was TNT’s team official, Magnum Membrere who initially submitted Standhardinger’s application to join the draft.

Apparently, the statement made by the good commissioner, according to TNT’s statement, proved that Commissioner Narvasa was biased. Talk N Text also mentioned that Narvasa mentioning the name of their team official was meant to help him explain, justify his decision to eventually approved the widely-questionable deal between SMB and Kia.
Was it even fair to call the good Commissioner Chito Narvasa “biased” for his statement? Let’s take a look at the points:

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TNT has a point

Simply put it this way, folks:
  • Standhardinger submitted his application through a proxy.
  • He was allowed to miss the Draft Combine regardless of the validity of the excuse. 
With all due respect to the good commissioner of the PBA, what he just allowed to happen, was a show of disrespect not just to TNT or the other teams but, to the rest of the PBA. It can send the wrong message to future draft aspirants that they can do such things in the PBA and they can walk away from them. 
It’s simply unacceptable. It’s also questioning the priorities of Standhardinger who has an upcoming stint in the ABL which is the main reason why the Beermeen can’t utilize him for the big chunk of next season. 

No. It’s Totally Disrespectful

To call Commissioner Chito Narvasa “biased” is to question the integrity of the entire institution that Mr. Narvasa is representing. 
With all due respect to the officials, players and fans of the KaTropa, there was no need for such a statement. Sure, Chito Narvasa was in Lebanon to support the Smart Gilas Pilipinas during the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and invited Standhardinger to join the draft. Would it be nice for Narvasa to offer a little flexibility with regards to the rules to a player who contributed a big amount of effort during that tournament and the ensuing 2017 South East Asian Games where Gilas dominated, anew? 
Sure, Standhardinger’s not applying on his own and missing the Draft Combine, sends the wrong message but Chito Narvasa is only doing what he could to help Stndhardinger get into the big league. After all, once Stanhardinger suits up and teams up with 4-time MVP award winner, June Mar Fajardo, we can expect bigger crowd during the games of the Beermen. 

Conclusion

The Standhardinger Saga is not yet done and is far from over. One thing is certain, we can expect a statement from the good PBA commissioner and TNT should watch out because Chito Narvasa loves to hand down hefty fines to teams, players and coaches who say disrespectful things towards the PBA, in general. 

GAB Reminds PBA of Controversial Trade Between SMB and Kia

GAB REMINDS PBA OF IMPARTIALITY AND BALANCE FOR DRAFT

Lopsided trades could turn off fans

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Mitra today called out the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to remind the basketball body that the GAB is looking intently on how the coming draft will be done. 

“There are complaints about the KIA-SMB deal and we are intently observing. How the PBA will handle it will determine if the next season will excite or turn off fans,” says Mitra.

“We would like to have a balance between all teams which would help competitiveness and boost sales. We want more teams to grow their fan base. Fans troop to games with star players. The danger of declining ticket sales becomes real when stars are concentrated in only a few teams, ” added Mitra. 

The trade is reportedly taking place this coming weekend but the PBA has not hinted if the KIA-SMB  will be approved or not.

“KIA, Blackwater, Global port and Phoenix seem to need more stars in their team to be able to compete with the others. As in the past, lopsided matches affect public interest, gate receipts and revenues to the government. The yearly draft is normally an opportunity for weaker teams to get better players to hopefully even up the games.”

The GAB is the government agency that regulates all professional sports in the country like basketball, boxing, football, golf, cycling, motocross, billiards, and e-sports. It is also the collecting agency of 3% of gate receipts and income from tv coverage contacts.

“We hope the coming draft will give teams with lower winning records the fair chance  to equalize themselves with the others,” he added.

Christian Standhardinger has Spoken About his PBA Rookie Draft Status

I am officially under contract in Hong Kong – Christian Standhardinger

But I’ll see you all on draft day

Photo from Christian Standhardinger official Facebook Page. 
Christian Standhardinger has been making waves in the Philippines even if he is not literally in the country. The top prospect was not at the PBA Rookie Draft Combine yesterday and today. It got PBA teams and fans concerned.  A lot of questions around his intentions and eligibility especially after news about his disqualification surfaced.

Christian Standhardinger, the 28-year-old Filipino German is the consensus number 1 pick in this year PBA draft and even got SMB scrambling to make trade proposals in order to grab the service of the big man.
Finally, Christian has spoken and has cleared the clouds about his real intention.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Christian speaking in his absence from the recent PBA Draft Combine at the Gatorade Center in Mandaluyong.  He is the only rookie absent.
Christian also made it clear that they have advised the PBA and will certainly be present during the PBA draft day ceremony.

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SMB and Kia Trade Revision Still Unfair? What are the Potential Reasons Behind the Trade?

Kia and SMB are Cooking a Big and Controversial Trade

Will it work for both teams? Will it be fair this time?

KIA and SMB Trade
The top and the bottom teams are working together and while many questions the move, there are definitely a few good reasons why Kia is letting go of their potential number one pick over a number of SMB role players. 
Kia has been the outlier of the PBA since they started, except maybe for one conference that no one actually remembers. While they certainly had some quality players who have come and go, they mostly either fail to get a hold of them or to make it work. Canaleta, Rosario, DiGregorio, Ramos, Mallari, Guinto and the list goes on. These are just some of the players who either played for Kia or could have played for the team. 
This season, they probably not only have the worst season but also the worst roster in the league.

Reason for Trading Number Pick: Maybe

Kia bolstering up their roster, one-time big time. Having four veterans and PBA tested players from SMB may help Kia cause in beefing up the roster right away without spending too much. While Standhardinger is a good player, he is not PBA tested yet and might not be fully committed to playing for the PBA especially since he still got a contract with an ABL team.  It’s a risk to take Standhardinger but the reward may be great and Kia may not be ready to make that big leap as they play safe, but wait there is Kiefer Ravena if they want a sure player.

Why They Want the Stand Man?

What if Standhardinger got disqualified for not attending the PBA Draft Combine? Will SMB still push through with the trade?
The simple reason why SMB wants Standhardinger so much is that a true big man playing beside JunMar Fajardo would give the team a chance against other teams that also have bigs in their line up, like sister team Ginebra. SMB has been one of the best teams, in fact maybe still the best team in the PBA this season after winning two of the three conference championships and they are looking to upgrade their already great line up by adding Christian Standhardinger.
The trade for the number one pick will only work if Christian will be picked, if it’s Kiefer Ravena or Jeron Teng then it may be a different story. And if those players are their target then they could have traded either Cabagnot, Ross or Lassiter because it will be such a waste of talent if Kiefer will be playing from the bench.

SMB and Kia Trade Revision Still Unfair, Here’s why.

Age
Reyes 34
Mcarthy 28
Tubid 36
First round pick 
After, trying to pull a quick one, SMB is still trying to get the number 1 pick in a trade that may not change their team or may not present a true risk for SMB. RaShawn McCarthy, Keith Agovida, and Jr Reyes these are the names that could have been wearing the Kia jersey but PBA board was quick to veto as it was simply one-sided. Now with new names on the revision, SMB still tries to use a quick slight of hands as they dispose some old reliable names in the trade, and when we say old, we mean players that is on the downhill if not already there, except of course for Rosser who was also a disappointment after his highly advertised rookie season. 
Except for Espinas, SMB rarely uses its bench players and a movement of their bench players would not really affect their plays and chemistry on the court as they will be able to keep their mythical core in JunMar Fajardo the 4x MVB, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter. The only thing that would change with SMB is the bench seating arrangements. 

Kia where are you going? 

Sometimes you question why a seemingly obvious move to keep the number one pick seems not the right one for the others. While other teams are willing to give away cash and multiple players for a rookie, it seems like Kia could not take a hint of the real value of the number one pick. Kia wherever you are going this season, I hope it’s the right way because many think otherwise.

What do you think? Is this fair in your opinion?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: San Miguel’s "Tama" Has Gotten Stronger with Standhardinger Trade

Update: SMB vs KIA trade vetoed by the Commissioner and now being revised

Christian Standhardinger San Miguel Beermen
Imagine this guy playing alongside June Mar Fajardo

A few weeks ago, this basketball pundit on wheels said in one article that Filipino-German prospect, Christian Standhardinger, the Gilas Pilipinas standout who is predicted by many as the top pick in next Sunday’s PBA Draft, will be traded. Away. 
And it happened. Yesterday, a blockbuster trade blew PBA fans around the archipelago. Kia Picanto, like it did a few years, is trading their potential top pick to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for 3 players, plus future draft picks, plus money considerations.

3 players? All third-stingers for the Beermen:

  • JayR Reyes
  • Rashawn McCarthy
  • Keith Agovida
Don’t worry, PBA fans. This basketball pundit on wheels is asking the same question everybody has been asking since the news first broke out: What is wrong with Kia? They had the chance to draft Troy Rosario but threw away that chance and gave it to the Talk N Text KaTropa. Now, they are about to repeat that huge mistake. If you’re going to trade a potential big star, you will ask for players who can produce notable big numbers and not just a trio of bench warmers who only averaged a combined 8 points per game during the Governors’ Cup. 
Now, assuming that PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa will not do a David Stern who vetoed a trade that would have Chris Paul team-up with Kobe Bryant right before the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 NBA season, then the San Miguel Beermen have gained more than what they have to lose. Why?
Here’s why: 
  • Chris Ross
  • Alex Cabagnot
  • Arwind Santos
  • June Mar Fajardo
If you watched last Friday’s PBA Leo Annual Awards Night, then you know what team did the four players above belong. They made up 4 of the 5 members of this season’s Mythical First Team with Japeth Aguilar of the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings being the 5th member.

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If anything, having 4 of Leo Austria’s starters on the Mythical First Team serves as a testament to one thing: take away the imports and nobody in the PBA can match the firepower of an-Filipino San Miguel starting unit. Now, put another big man in Christian Standhardinger’s caliber and SMB will now have the potential star power to match the Twin Towers of the Gin Kings. 
Having a Standhardinger alongside the Kraken, now a 4-time PBA MVP, will mean that San Miguel will have a SUPER Starting 5. If Commissioner Chito Narvasa approves this deal come tomorrow, below is the potential starting unit for the Beermen come the season opener, PBA Philippine Cup:
  • Fajardo
  • Standhardinger
  • Santos
  • Ross
  • Cabagnot
No wonder why other PBA team executives are not so happy with this. No wonder why they will raise this concern on Thursday during the meeting of the PBA Board of Governors. And this basketball pundit will not be surprised either if Chito Narvasa will do a David Stern. Well, if there will be a miracle and should the good PBA commissioner approves this deal, the rest of the PBA will be having a more difficult time dealing with this upcoming SMB hangover. 

Motives and Money: Kia Trades Potential Top Pick Christian Standhardinger to SMB?

Kia to Trade Top Pick to SMB for Players and Cash, and it must be a lot of cash!

When Money is more important than winning

Kia is set to trade their top pick once again, this time to San Miguel Beermen.

Related: We predicted this might happen but kinda hoping that it didn’t

San Miguel is set to acquire Kia’s top overall pick for this year PBA draft that can potentially be either Christian Standhardinger, Jeron Teng or Kiefer Ravena for R. Reyes, Rashawn McCarthy, Keith Agovida, a future first rounder, and cash considerations. That’s four players in exchange for one rookie.

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They must really like this player.

This is not the first time Kia did the same stunt. They traded their top pick back in 2015. Troy Rosario was supposed to be playing for Kia and could have helped the longtime bottom team in the PBA to win some games but they chose to trade him for reasons that only they can understand. Rosario has since gotten 5 gold medal for the Philippines, two all-star appearances, and an All-star MVP.
Kia who had been struggling since they joined the PBA in 2014 has long been missing its identity and has struggled to get a franchise player and now that they have another chance, they are looking to give it away once again for a number of unknown players. That’s questionable.
PBA Board Vice Chairman Dickie Bachmann has already voiced his concern regarding the intention of the move. Fans alike have scratched their heads and have challenged the PBA to decline the said trade.
If the trade pushes through, SMB could acquire Christian Standhardinger and will get to keep its core players like JunMar Fajardo a 4x MVP, Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and Arwin Santos. All part of the mythical team.

Related: Our conversation with former Kia Head Coach Chris Gavina

Kia should think twice about this trade.
Do you agree with this trade? Comment below.

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Kia Picanto will Draft Standhardinger but will Not Stay with the Team For Long, Here’s Why

Christian Standhardinger Could be Traded. Soon.

 

Christian Standhardinger will be one of the most sought-after big men once he enters the PBA. 
Christian Standhardinger, the Filipino-German who replaced Andray Blatche as the naturalized player for the Smart Gilas Pilipinas national team is about to enter the PBA upon announcing that he is applying to join the upcoming PBA Draft this month.

See Also: Other Fil-Foreign Players who applied for the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft

This announcement came in a few weeks before the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng made their respective intentions to join the draft.  The 3 of them will make up the top 3 picks in the draft.
If the initial order is to be believed, Kia Picanto holds the top pick followed by the NLEX Road Warriors and the Blackwater Elite who will select 2nd and 3rd respectively, then it’s a no-brainer that Kia will go on to select Standhardinger as the top pick bearing any last minutes swaps. Kiefer Ravena will have to listen and endure to the yells of Yeng Guiao assuming that NLEX will select him while Jeron Teng will team-up with Allen Maliksi and Mac Belo should the Elite picks him.
Now, let’s focus on the possibilities of trades for Christian Standhardinger. While there’s no doubt that he will start for Kia assuming he is still around come the opening night, make no mistake, PBA fans. Don’t get surprised of Standhardinger will start for another team and this is something that we should all expect. 
Why? 
He was the leader in efficiency during the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup where he also averaged 15 points per game. In addition to this, he was also a vital piece to Gilas’ gold medal finish in the SEA Games where they ran unbeaten. If you want to win right here, right now, keeping Standhardinger would be a must for Kia and getting Standhardinger will be a must for the other teams.
Now, speaking of trade possibilities, one strong contender who will definitely try to trade for Standhardinger is none other than the Talk N Text KaTropa especially considering the ugly way they ended their Governors’ Cup campaign after they bowed down to the defending champs, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings during their semifinal series. One of the reasons why the KaTropa lost that particular series was because the big men of Ginebra outmuscled and outperformed the big men of TNT in every possible way. 
While Troy Rosario and Kelly Williams were producing good numbers and Jayson Castro is still making people remember that he used to be the best point guard in Asia, just imagine a TNT starting 5 with Christian Standhardinger at the center position. June Mar Fajardo may want to watch out because a Christian Standhardinger playing for a powerhouse team will give the former a run for his money. 
Of course, TNT would need to trade away some of its assets if it wants to have Standhardinger on board. The question is: who? Back in December 2014, TNT was said to be willing to trade away superstar playmaker, Jayson Castro for Kia’s pick. We all know that the deal didn’t materialize. But, will TNT pull the trigger this time around? Will Kia accept?
Let’s just say that both Kia and TNT agree to the said swap. Let’s assume that Kia decides to let go of a future for an established star. This will enable Nash Racela to put former UAAP MVP, RR Garcia into the starting unit to team up with Roger Pogoy. But then, it’s a big gamble especially for Kia because Standhardinger will be one day, among the dominant big men in the PBA especially when the Kraken retires. Kia can even ask for additional players and future draft picks like Moala Tautuaa because they are trading away a big part of their future.

On the other side of the fence, keeping Standhardinger will also benefit Kia especially with players like Nico Elorde, Eric Camson and even Rey Guevarra starting to produce good numbers on some of the games and that’s one proof that the system of Chris Gavina is already clicking. Slowly but surely. That is. 

There are other trade possibilities which Kia can explore for Christian Standhardinger but two things are for sure: Standhardinger will be traded and, the rest of the PBA will be watching Standhardinger.
Or, we could probably see a Christian Standhardinger-Stanley Pringle-Terence Romeo team up for the Global Port Batang Pier. But that’s another story for another time. 

Ping Enters 5000 Point Club, Helps Hotshots on Win

Star Keeps Kia Winless 

 Ping becomes the 85hth player to enter the 5,000 point club (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

For the Star Hotshots, it’s about regaining their momentum and warming up for the upcoming quarterfinals. For the Kia Picanto on the other hand, a win would be a perfect way to end a miserable campaign to the season ender 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup which saw them drop their first 10 games.
From making the extra passes to working on their inside game and even making more three-point shots, the Star Hotshots regained their composure and more importantly, won against the Kia Picanto via a which put the Hotshots led by import Kristofer Acox tied with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 6-4 in the standings. 
This is an important win for the Hotshots because they will be facing the NLEX Road Warriors this coming Sunday to close their schedule and should the Hotshots win that game, they can enter the quarterfinals as the 5th seeded team.
Just to give an idea of how good the Hotshots were during this game, they shot better both in their 2-point field goals and from beyond the arc. And the offense of Coach Chito Victolero was more balanced as well as their defense which frustrated Kia which only made 31% of their field goal attempts which made by as much as 29 during the first half alone. The passing game of the Hotshots was fluid. 
Star led during the entire game, holding a lead that never went down beyond 25 points and they did it despite Paul Lee struggling miserably in the field during the entire game, only scoring 2 points in the first half and 4 overall. Acox finished the game with 19 points while grabbing 15 rebounds.
Marc Pingris who energized the crowd with a dunk during the closing minutes of the 3rd quarter finished the game with 12 points, including another dunk at the closing seconds of the game to make him the newest member of the 5,000-point club. 
Jio Jalalon led the Star’s local scorers with 15 points and 7 assists. PJ Simon contributed 13 points off the bench while Ian Sangalang finished with 12.
On the other side, the players of Coach Chris Gavina couldn’t get anything going during the entire game. Geron Johnson for one, led all scorers with 27 points on a miserable 9 of 28 shooting. Only him and Nico Elorde who finished with 15 points are the starters of Kia who scored in double figures. Jackson Corpuz on the other hand, led Kia’s bench with 11 points and 9 rebounds while Eric Camson added 10 markers. As a team, Kia only made 31% of their field goals and got rebounded, 62-41.
Scores:
Star
Acox 19, Jalalon 15, Simon 13, Sangalang 12, Pingris 12, Melton 10, Barroca 10, Reavis 7, Ramos 7, dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 5, Lee 4, Abundo 3, Pascual 2, Brondial 2, Gamalinda 0
Kia
Johnson 27, Elorde 15, Corpuz 11, Camson 10, Celda 9, Yee 4, Deutchman 3, Nimes 2, Ballesteros 0, Revilla 0, Guverra 0, Caperal 0, Khobuntin 0, Jaime 0, Salva 0
Quarter scores:
32-24, 65-36, 91-60, 128-81

Kia Picanto Coach Chris Gavina’s Positive Outlook Makes him a Winner Even With Current Challenges

Kia Head Coach Chris Gavina is always a winner even when losing

On the same day I covered for an MMA press conference, I bumped into the head coach of the struggling Kia Picanto of the PBA.
Kia Picanto has been troubled for a while now and is currently the only team in the PBA that has not won any games. We took the opportunity and approached the coach to ask for a brief interview to talk to him about MMA and of course basketball, and to our surprise he acknowledged with a smile.

We knew it maybe a little awkward to ask him about his team but we did anyway and we were impressed on how positive this guy is and how he was able to answer everything with confidence as if he wasn’t feeling the pressure.

I am always positive as long as I put them in a position to be successful, that’s my job – Chris Gavina
Chris Gavina shared his connections with MMA, Bruce Lee, well wishes to MMA fighters, creating a winning culture and imparted some of his positive wisdom to us.
Watch the full interview with Coach  Chris Gavina of Kia Picanto