Balls-Eye: Who Could be Jayson Castro’s Successor?

Jayson Castro

The Blur’s getting old and surely, Gilas Pilipinas is trying to unleash a beast out of someone just before Castro’s final games with the national team.

Who may it be?

Before we answer that intriguing question. Of course we must know who to replace. He is Jayson ‘The Blur’ Castro a multi awarded athlete and known as the best point guard in Asia.

If he is the best, doesn’t that mean he is irreplaceable?

He is irreplaceable, we could not deny that he’s the best one in Filipino Basketball and perhaps even in Asia but Jayson’s getting old.
We would never find an exact copy of the Blur no matter how hard we search to and through the thousands of islands of our nation but we could find someone who may not be as best as Castro, but has an all new definition of ‘best’ within him.
If there would be anyone to take over the Gilas Pilipinas as the main point guard, it would be no other than Batang Pier’s pride, Terrence Romeo.
Romeo’s performance as a guard is on the highest level, in terms of scoring, hustling, pace and the overall game play.
He could also be the nearest one to match what Castro’s known for — speed and agility. Castro was called the blur for that reason. Romeo may not be as fast as Jayson apparently but he has a better handle than Castro which would make him as effective. The downgraded pace was covered up with extraordinary ball handling skills — a talent only a few Filipino players possess.
Romeo already marked his name in the heart of the international basketball especially when he did fancy basketball against the gigantic players of China. Romeo turned into a crowd favorite due to his entertaining way of finishing plays. He also once become a 2nd unit to replace Castro in international games so there is no doubt that he is the nearest one in terms of Castro’s potential. 

The Pros and Cons of Keeping Joe Devance

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Free agent Devance says he is staying with Barangay Ginebra

In the NBA, we have Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan, Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan, among others. These are the best coach-player tandems that were virtually successful throughout their stint together. Duncan, for one, has stuck with his coach through thick and thin in a relationship that lasted for almost two decades which produced 5 championships for the San Antonio Spurs. In the PBA, we have that rare combination of a coach and a player who could win together. Among those pairs is Tim Cone and Joe Devance.
The two won multiple championships together with the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers including Tim Cone’s second grand slam and now, to Governors’ Cup championships with the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. In fact, Tim Cone has said it in numerous times that Joe Devance has been one of the best players he has coached in his decorated coaching career owing to  the fact that Devance’s height plus his ability to play all 5 positions gives Tim Cone the flexibility to put Devance in any given position depending on the need and the situation.
However, their relationship is currently facing a threat as Joe Devance was surprisingly tagged as a free agent by the Gin Kings. The good news is, Joe Devance has already said that he’s sticking with the crowd darlings despite looming interest from Coach Louie Alas of the Phoenix Fuel Masters who said that signing Joe Devance will be a long shot.
Question: assuming that Ginebra decides to re-sign Joe Devance anew, what are the pros and cons of doing so?

Pros: Versatility and Flexibility

As mentioned above, Joe Devance is one of the few guys in the PBA who can play any position with ease. He can do almost everything for the Gin Kings. He can defend well because of his height and wingspan. He can be a point guard who can also shoot long-distance bombs. He’s almost a complete package for Tim Cone. No wonder why Tim Cone loves this guy. 

Cons: Fewer Minutes for New Guys. And fewer Opportunities

While keeping JDV will enable the Gin Kings to have a reliable scorer off the bench, his roster spot and playing minutes will be eaten and these are the things that can be given to the new guys like Jett Manuel or give more minutes for Jervy Cruz.
Additionally, imagine the possibilities if JDV is to be traded for younger players? Who knows? The core of the Gin Kings are not getting younger so they will have to start looking into the long run and start looking for new players who can take over once the veterans call it a career. But then again, JDV is still JDV. 

Conclusion

While it’s already possible that Ginerba will keep JDV, for now, it’s also unlikely that he will finish the season or his career with Ginebra. But then again, who would want to break a winning tandem like Tim Cone and Joe Devance? 

PBA Trades to be Handled by a 5-Man Team

The new PBA commissioner will no longer decide if a trade is to be approved or not. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Approving or disapproving trades no longer in the hands of the commissioner.

Over the past few seasons, the PBA has seen numerous trades that were either controversial and/or one-sided and yet, the league approved these deals despite questions being voiced out by member teams. That was most visible when then PBA Commissioner Chito Narvas approved the deal that sent the Kia Picanto’s rights to pick the top pick to the  San Miguel Beermen in exchange for role players. This season’s top pick happened to be the Filipino-German and Gilas Pilipinas big man, Christain Standhardinger. That deal was approved despite nagging calls for Narvasa to veto it owing to the belief that it could take away the very reason why the draft was being held on an annual basis. 
You all witnessed what happened next. Chito Narvasa is gone for good and OIC Willie Marcial is taking over temporarily until such time when the league has appointed its next commissioner. To begin with, Mr. Marcial has tons of things to sort out but one of the things he first did upon his first few days as the OIC is to assemble a 5-man special team that will have one specific mission: go through all the future trades to see if these trades should be approved or not.

What this could mean?

To simply things out, approving trades will no longer be included in the burdens of the PBA commissioner, saving him/her from the accusations of being biased. Although Mr. Marcial refused to name the members of the team pending the approval of the board, he did say that the 5-men team will have to reach a consensus and if they failed to do, the house will be divided.
In addition to this, there’s a proposal for the league to identify an elite player from each team. In this proposal, any PBA player who is identified as an elite player can only be traded to an elite player- eliminating the possibilities of lopsided deals like the famed Kia-San Miguel deal. 

Conclusion

The proposal of a 5-man team who will handle the approval of trades could bring back the trust of the fans towards the PBA because the banging of the gavel is no longer in the hands of the commissioner, alone. It’s now up to the league to assemble a team of 5 trust-worthy and independent men who will look at no team when making decisions. 

Ginebra Let go of Joe Devance, Now a Free Agent and can sign with Other Teams

What should Joe Devance do now?

While we were a bit surprised of the move, we also think that this will also be temporary and that we would see Joe Devance back in the line up in the second conference.
The 35-year-old Joe Devance and the first overall pick in 2007 has played very well under coach Tim Cone and during those times the duo has produced a total of 8 championships dating back when the two was with Star Hotshots.

Times are changing for Ginebra

Ginebra in the past years has made a lot of big moves and through the years it has changed faces. Joe Devance was instrumental in the championship run of Ginebra and while he is not exactly at his prime anymore, his skills and size are hard to come by in the PBA.  Other teams can surely lure him as most of the teams needed size in their frontcourt.
The absence of Joe Devance will give more opportunities to Raymond Aguilar and Jarvy Cruz.

Complete List of the Philippines FIBA World Cup in 2023 Training Pool. Young, can Run and Shoot

Chot Reyes early morning on January 5 announced the 23 players that will be part of the training pool for the upcoming FIBA World Cup that will be held in the Philippines.

If you are following college basketball in the Philippines then most of the names on the list may be familiar to you.  Let’s take a look.
Guards:
1. Robert Lee Bolick, San Beda College
2. Jaymar Perez, Lyceum of the Philippines
3. Juan Gomez De Llano, University of the Philippines
4. Remy Martin, Arizona State University
5. Matthew Nieto, Ateneo University
6. Andres Paul C. Desiderio, University of the Philippines
Wings:
1. Thirdy Ravena, Ateneo De Manila
2. Rodolofo Alejandro III, National University
3. Kenneth Tufflin, Far Eastern University
4. Jeo Ambohot, Colegio De San Juan De Letran
5. Kobe Paras, Cal State Northridge
6. Dwight Ramos, California State University
7. Joshua Sinclair, National University
8. Arvin Tolentino, Far Eastern University
9. Javee Moco, San Beda College
Bigs:
1. Kai Sotto, Ateneo De Manila University
2. Isaac Go, Ateneo De Manila University
3. Abu Tratter, De La Salle University
4. Ariel Jon Edu, Llandovery, college UK
5. Carl Vincent Tamayo, National University
6. Kenmark Carino, San Beda College
7. Will Allen Gozum, Mapua University
8. Troy Rike, Wake Forest University
We are a bit excited and hope these young guys train well for the 2023 FIBA World cup that will pit them against the top players all over the world including NBA players.

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Why Home and Away Game won’t work for the PBA

What will happen if PBA implements home and away game?

Every Ginebra game whether home or away will be Ginebra’s home at least most of the time. 

There are 12 teams in the PBA and while some of them have good followings, most of the teams won’t be able to fill a stadium or at least attract enough crowd to watch at the venue not unless the audiences are employees or families of the brand the team is representing.
Exhibit A. Championship game. Ginebra vs Meralco.  Did you see the crowd? Maybe a strong 80% of the fans watching were wearing red and whether the game was at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City or even at the 50,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bulacan, there is just no way Meralco fans can outnumber the Ginebra fans in any location in the Philippines or in the world.
PBA fans shares among teams an imbalance.
Ginebra probably has more than 60% of the total PBA fans share. Without this franchise, the PBA may already have been out of business or struggling to make ends meet. While teams like Star Hotshots, TNT, San Miguel Beermen and Alaska may also have decent followings teams like Kia, Blackwater, Phoenix are too small and brand new to compile enough fans most especially if they are not winning games. 
Specific or team fans are not concentrated in one area. 
Unlike the defunct MBA or the NBA, where the team represents an area or a city and the fans come to watch to support their local team. The PBA represents a brand and users or promoters of that brand are not in one place. 
Can you tell where most Kia owners are? Are you sure that they are even a fan of basketball or support Kia’s basketball team? Even NLEX Road Warriors could not summon enough fans to come and watch them at the Philippine Arena which is located at NLEX.  
A fan needs a reason to support a team and representing your city or even a country promotes that nationality or local pride unlike supporting a team that mainly represent a product. 
How about if we put the home court arena close to the company headquarters? 
That is an idea but we can’t always force its employees to watch the games or maybe pay overtime so they can extend already long hours of work to watch a basketball game. This won’t help especially if the league is trying to generate enough revenue.
The Verdict 
While PBA is the most popular league in the Philippines, it has failed to spread out its fans among other teams due to monopoly, imbalance exposures, and domination by a few teams. This prevented the league from growing hence they are unable to put good numbers of gate tickets on a none Ginebra game.  
As we speak teams may already be spending a lot of money and may not actually be getting enough returns on their investments. Building additional facilities or locating a good facility maybe is a task harder than anyone could imagine, not to mention the logistics and security that has to be implemented every time.  
Can you name 12 good basketball arenas in Manila or anywhere in the Philippines?
Anyway, the short answer to why home and away game will not work is: The PBA is not built for it. 

Check out NLEX Rookie Kiefer Ravena’s Outrageous Photo from Rookie Initiation

Kiefer Ravena Elsa Frozen Let It go

Kiefer Ravena rocked the Elsa costume from the popular Disney movie Frozen during Rookie Initiation Night.

Being a Phenom and a top scorer does not exempt you from going through the team rookie initiation. Ravena who has already made a big impact on his team didn’t mind wearing the famous Elsa from Frozen movie costume as he poses for a photo which is almost certain to go viral.
Ravena at 24 years old is no stranger to being in the limelight as the second pick overall in the current PBA rookie draft has a number of appearances as a TV personality and as a basketball player. His stint with the PBA, however, has been long overdue and anticipated by fans.
His presence alongside NLEX’ another premier point guard Kevin Alas is expected to wreak havoc in the PBA as both players are known for their scoring and high intensity and fast pace game.  For now, let’s just enjoy the moment as this could be the first and the last time you would see Kiefer in an atrocious costume.
Watch Kiefer Ravena first post-game interview as the best player:

Standhardinger: A Rookie that Possesses a Veteran’s Presence

Christian Standhardinger

How could a rookie even before playing a single game in the league become a massive threat to teams racing for the title?

Christian Standhardinger just got the ultimate aura to put everyone in shock even before playing at least a single tournament. So to answer the question raised above, we must get to know this season’s rookie who apparently is a huge threat to the league’s powerhouses.
Despite being a rookie relative to the PBA, Christian already has the experience particularly internationally. He is a Filipino-German player who has played for some other foreign teams like Nebraska and Hawaii.
He used to play in other lands were much larger guys exist. What made his presence even more alarming is when he joined the Team Gilas Pilipinas and contributed a lot to the team with his iron inside mechanism. Christian’s like the Mini Andrei Blatche for Gilas. He could lead the offense despite not being the point guard.

Was it just Standhardinger alone who established this threat?

Well, Standhardinger undeniably has the substance of being a monster player sooner or later in the league but the tension he has unleashed within and beyond the league was practically not by him alone.
His team, the San Miguel Beermen’s name plays a relevant role in this shock. We know that the San Miguel Beermen is undefeated in the Philippine Cup. They have the 4-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, a huge guy wherein as time passes, seems that he becomes more and more unstoppable. Even Greg Slaughter, the one who can match the Kraken’s size could not get the job done.
With Standhardinger entering a very strong team, which he’s not an infamous player with, his intensity fluctuated upward. The title ‘twin towers’ became more sounding due to matchup against last cup’s champion Brgy. Ginebra which is expected to be their toughest opponent.
Standhardinger stunned the league with his presence alone already. We are all waiting for him to unleash his full potential and mix his skills to produce an even stronger and solid SMB Squad.

Fan Fave Brownlee and Contoversial Balkman Join Forces as Alab Pilipinas Reinforcements

 Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman  Alab Pilipinas

Former PBA Import Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman back in the Philippines

7 pm, January 3, 2018, Alab Pilipinas will take on the KL Westports Malaysia Dragons at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan Arena. This will be a basketball game to watch as two former great PBA imports will play together to reinforce the struggling Alab Pilipinas.
Alab Pilipinas has been a let down so far and has struggled to find its mark in the ABL. Currently, at the 7th place(1W-3L) of a 9 teams tournament, the team just recently etched a win in four games against another outlier in the league the Formosa Dreamers.
The game today will be critical for Alab Pilipinas as they want to continue to get the win especially against the Westports Dragon (1-2). Okosa and Ray Parks led the team in their last outing but Alab has decided that they were not enough and had to call on two of the most polarizing import players that the PBA had, at least when compared to each other.

Justin Brownlee the proven winner

Everyone loves this guy! Brownlee has made a mark as one of the best Ginebra imports in recent years has been endeared by the fans not only because of his skills and great plays on the court but his demeanor and attitude outside. We can say that he is one of the most loved imports of Ginebra and he has amassed a number of followings.  Justin Brownlee is a proven winner and a champion who can lead a team and play a role if needed. He perfectly fits with any team not only because he can play multiple positions but he also gets along with players and fans very well.

Tough and Rough Renaldo Balkman looks for redemption

It’s hard to build a reputation and it’s easy to break them. On the court, Renaldo Balkman was a force to reckon with, he was considered one of the best and well-known imports the PBA has seen but his hard work diminished because he got out of focus and was not able to hold his composure in an incident that will be remembered by PBA fans. For some time, Balkman was tagged as the undertaker as he once choked his own teammate who was just helping cool him down.
Watch the ugly incident below.
Arwind Santos and the San Miguel Beermen (Petron Blaze) certainly got a lot of memories from this incident and to be honest I would not have considered Balkman again to play for any team but they know better.

Balkman is looking for redemption 

A stint with Alab Pilipinas would not easily erase the bad incident but the apologetic Balkman has mentioned that the incident has made him become a better man and to always watch his composure regardless of the situation.

Alab Pilipinas stirring it up 

No questions on the capabilities of the two new imports of the Alab Pilipinas and tonight we will find out if the new mix of players will be enough to turn around the team’s bad start. Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman in our point of view, however, should be able to easily turn the situation around and make the Alab a competitive team that it should be.

Do you think acquiring Justine Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman is good for the Alab Pilipinas?

Balls-Eye: Will June Mar Fajardo Bag his 5th Straight MVP Award this Season?

June Mar Fajardo shooting over Sonny Thoss

As the San Miguel Beermen looks to dominate this year’s Philippine Cup with their geared up twin towers, the Kraken June Mar Fajardo is also eyeing to reign as a 5-time MVP.

But would it still be possible?

Rumors say that Christian Standhardinger empowered the Beermen. But with him being Fajardo’s partner, would he hinder the Kraken’s MVP streak?
Another huge monster to test June Mar’s limits is of course the biggest man in the league Greg Slaughter. Ginebra is a team that can win championships and thus increasing Slaughter’s chance of bagging the MVP award this year.
More or less, the Most Valauable Player Award would be hooked by any of the four towering beasts of the Beer and Gin. It would be an ultimate test of strength, endurance, power and most importantly, consistency.
June Mar apparently is the toughest of the four. Greg has the size but is a bit lousy, Japeth has the boosted jumping power while Standhardinger’s cards remain concealed.
Fajardo already became MVP 4 times with Japeth and Greg’s presence. The only big question mark left unanswered is on his new teammate Standhardinger. Nevertheless, we should not neglect Japeth and Greg’s improvement.

Would the MVP showdown hinder SMB’s success?

Most probably not. Big guys do not tend to frequently work together. Most of the time plays start with the small guys and finishes with the big men. SMB may balance their inside scoring fairly with their two towers. Thus, both would have their own break to prove themselves. It may be a healthy competition as these two guys would go all out just not to waste every single opportunity at hand.

Historical MVP Award

If either June Mar or Christian bags the award, it would be historical no matter who stands out. June Mar would be the first to be crowned with 5 straight MVP’s. In fact he’s the first to have 4 straight. On the other hand, Standhardinger may be the 2nd to Benjie Paras if he would be the MVP and if SMB would be the champ or would gain dominance throughout the season.

Ginebra’s Final Roster is Complete with the Return of John Wilson

John Wilson is back to where it all started for him in the PBA.

With the 2010 7th overall pick in the PBA, the Barangay Ginebra chose John Wilson of the Jose Rizal University.
This was the signal of the beginning of the career of the once highly touted John Wilson. He spent two years wearing the Ginebra uniform but did not actually lived up to the billing as he only averaged just about 3 points per game in his first two years and tallied his worst shooting career percentage with the Kings. Expectedly, he was shipped out to Air21 in his second year who also did not quite got what they were looking for.
Wilson was traded again to Meralco. His stint with the Bolts was his best year averaging as high as 8.5 points and playing almost 20 minutes per game.
Throughout his career, he was able to play with 5 teams including Ginebra, Air21, Meralco, NLEX and Phoenix. At the age of 30, he found himself looking for another team and fortunately he was given another chance.

Tim Cone picks John Wilson to fill the final roster spot for Ginebra. 

Wilson is getting his second chance at donning the jersey of the most popular basketball team in the Philippines and it is all because of hard work and dedication.
There are a number of players who tried out for the spot and above anyone else, showed better performance and a better fit for the current Ginebra team who is looking for a shooter who can help them improve their outside presence.
Wilson will sign to play for the current All Filipino Conference only, but we won’t be surprised to see him get an extension if he plays well with the team.

Do you think John Wilson is a good pick up or should Ginebra pick someone else instead?

Balls-Eye: Baracael, Yeo Must be Back to Barangay Ginebra

Mac Baracael Passing through Justin Melton
Gin Kings offense could not rely solely on the twin towers anymore. One season is enough for the big men to carry the whole team to a championship.
San Miguel Beermen possesses a huge threat and is looking to unleash a 5-peat Philippine Cup Reign. Ginebra needs a pack of outside gunners to match SMB’s current form.
Seasons ago, Ginebra had Mac Baracael and Joseph Yeo. Two guys that can smoothly deliver outside. But they didn’t win a title with these two. Now is the time for them to go back to the Never Say Die Barangay and help them overthrow the undisputed all Filipino Champs San Miguel Beermen.


Of All People, Why Yeo and Baracael?

1. Gameplan Familiarity

They’d played for Ginebra before, Ginebra has no time for adjustments so they need players who already know how or is familiar with their team play.

2. SMB’s Shooter Neutralizer

SMB’s got some best clutch shooters like Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross. Ginebra needs to have some source that can be of the same level with these guys to keep up. Remember, the fire in the shaded area is so huge. The twin towers’ stamina would deplete twice as fast when against each other. Outside gunners shall provide a huge extra boost for the team.

3. Improved Slasher Gunner Combination and Rotation

The only guy who can cut as fast as Chris Ross currently is Sol Mercado while Ginebra’s main three-pointer is Kevin Ferrer. With the addition of Baracael and Yeo, the rotation would increase efficiency as the bench’s usefulness deepens.

Conclusion

When there are too much pressure and difficulty to manipulate inside, another key is to attack from the outside. Baracael hits threes especially the corner ones at high percentage and Yeo, on the other hand could match Ross’ speed and agility. Thus, these two coming back could give Ginebra the dagger needed to slay the reigning SMB.


Mac Baracael Highlights

Balls-Eye: 5 Best Power Forwards in the PBA

The guys with the perfect balance will always be the powerforwards. In all aspects they come in midway of Centers and Guards. But what makes some of them standout?

We’ll find out as we run down the 5 best power forwards we have in the Filipino Basketball.

1. Ranidel De Ocampo

Ranidel de Ocampo

A.K.A RDO, he is one of the finest forwards any team would want to have. Ranidel’s got the size to match even with centers in rebounding and post up plays. What makes him special? With his size, he could impeccably deliver from beyond the arc. A dangerous weapon for guys with the size advantage. R.D.O can take all sorts of shots depending on his defender.

2. Marc Pingris

Of course the Pinoy Sakuragi would never go out of sight when talking about some of the best power forwards. Despite having a relatively small size, he is a huge defensive obstacle. It is proven. Even the mighty Japeth Aguilar gets blocked and is having a hard time during post up matches.

3. Calvin Abueva

Calvin Abueva
The beast would be considered the player with an extra impact on the floor. He’s got the intensity. He even gained prominence with the ‘Calvin Crush’ wherein he goes full speed against any defender and bangs it with his full body strength, not caring whoit is in front whether a center or a guard. He just hustles on both ends.
Another good thing about Calvin is his presence which irritates opponents and somehow gets them out of focus.

4. Japeth Aguilar

Japeth Aguilar against Marc Pingris
A 6 foot 9 inch gut with incredible jumping power? It is non other than Japeth Aguilar. Japeth’s got the length and the strength to go all out.
Another good thing in Japeth is that his size does not hinder his speed. He frequently finishes fast break attacks in a spectacular alley oop jams. An excellent finisher and hype provider for the team and for audiences of course.

5. Rafi Reavis

Rafi Reavis

Reavis could match Aguilar’s length but he is an even better player when talking about the battle under the rim. Aguilar could shoot from the perimeter but Reavis is more efficient when cleaning up missed shots and scoring in the shaded area. Reavis is a perfect match against this era’s twin towers.

Highlights of the number one forward on our list ( Ranidel De Ocampo)

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. 

Guard Showdown: Lee, Yap: Who Would Lead His Team to Greatness?

James Yap and Paul Lee

Ever since the trade between Paul Lee and James Yap happened, comparisons arise from time to time. 

This season, let us try to extract possible outcomes for this two superstar guards with their respective teams.

The question is who would succeed this season?

It is obvious that the two guards light became dim at the time they’ve been traded. It is because they’ve lost the built chemistry with the former team. Star Hotshots, Now the Magnolia Hotshots is a defensive team, while Rain or Shine is a run and gun type. An offensive and defensive team is very much different with all aspects especially game pace which when he used to a specific one, will take a significant amount of a time to adapt to a new one.
The variety of their teams explained their dormancy this past season. The gameplay is so new to Lee and Yap that they’re being veteran in the league seemed to shrink to a negligible, insignificant amount.
I have mentioned earlier about the ‘built chemistry’ of Paul Lee with the Elasto Painters and James Yap with the former Star Hotshots. From the term itself ‘built’, chemistry is not an inherent character of a team, it is a substance built through experience. Assuming that one season is a relatively sufficient amount of time for the chemistry to be established with their new teams, how and what will be their role and whose team would be greater?

1. The Elasto Painters with James Yap

Almost everybody in ROS can deliver from beyond the arc. In fact, even the biggest man there is like Beau Belga could easily drill threes. With the addition of James Yap in their pool, they could even empower the run and gun style of ROS by significantly increasing outside efficiency with Yap. A more accurate and efficient three-point shooting would be ROS’ main card.

2. Hotshots with the Leethal Weapon

Paul Lee is known to be one of the players with the best handle in the league. The Filipino basketball lacks that and that makes Paul Lee an exceptional guard. He could play in all kinds of situation and make baskets for himself or for his teammates with his fancy dribbling skills. With Paul Lee in a defensive team like Magnolia, their defensive stops being converted to points probability would increase. A point guard which can cross over and cut through the defense without using screens much would be very great because the original positions of the play would not be disrupted during set up of play. All Paul Lee needs is isolation.

Who would be a better team?

Prediction
With the ROS, it is only an empowered outside shooting. They just have an improved old style. But with the Hotshots, Paul Lee’s skills would make the whole team look and play different especially offensively. It would be the Magnolia over ROS this season.

Twin Tower Era: Who’s Magnolia Hotshots’ Trump Card?

Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter
Despite Magnolia’s loss on Christmas Classico, it turned out to be a healthy one. They seem to have drawn a trump card concealed inside their deep deck. A duo who could stop and counter the force of the threatening era of the twin towers of San Miguel and of course their recent opponent, Brgy Ginebra.
Facing the Brgy Ginebra squad is and will always be an ultimate test of character. Talking about Greg and Japeth combination, the shaded area seems to be preoccupied all the time due to this enormous beasts.
However, the Hotshots somehow kept up with the very dense Ginebra interior. The wall-like defense of the twin towers became the key for Hotshots to unlock their hidden weapon that could match the towers.

Smaller but still with power

Who can be able to stop the Pinoy Sakuragi Marc Pingris whenever he post-ups. He’s a great match against Japeth Aguilar despite the height disadvantage. Ping just outwits size with strength and agility. Another good thing about Pingris is that he could deliver one-handed floaters — a great way to shoot over huge players.

How about Gregzilla?

Slaughter might be the biggest player but still, he’s not the only big man existing in the league. Magnolia’s roster has a smaller but way faster and athletic player. Ian Sangalang hustled in their recent game both offensively and defensively.
What’s Sangalang’s advantage over Slaughter?
If Slaughter’s advantage were size, Sangalang’s got the speed. He could run in transition and finish fast breaks. In addition, fast breaks are twin towers’ weakness due to the high pace of the transition which they commonly could not keep up. Therefore, Sangalang can be considered the biggest man in terms of transition baskets.

Conclusion

You may never win in a head to head battle against players way bigger than you are but there is always some weak points that when taken advantage of, will be very effective and fatal. The key to outplaying the twin towers is through individual agility and team’s high offensive pace.

Balls-Eye: Top 5 Point Guards to Hustle this Season

Top 5 Point Guards to Hustle this Season

With a known disadvantage brought by the presence of two twin towers. The playmaker providing an extra boost for the team is a must. Here are 5 players that will surely go head-to-head this season.

1. Scottie Thompson

Scottie Thompson
Despite Brgy Ginebra having its own twin tower. They are one of the must beat team today. They need some extra push aside from Japeth and Greg and extra efforts require some exceptionality which Scottie Thompson possesses. His unusual style of playing as a guard would increase Gin Kings’ unpredictability.

2. Terrence Romeo

Terrence Romeo
Of course, Romeo wouldn’t be missing in action. It became his nature as a huge scorer for the Batang Pier. Romeo is also hungry for the title. At his young career, he already has proven himself and there’s only one thing left to cement his legacy, winning a title. Surely, Romeo gets fiercer and fiercer with every cup that he and Globalport haven’t won or even reached the finals.

3 and 4. James Yap and Paul Lee

As criticisms arise that trading these two guys onto each other’s respective teams are ineffective. Yap and Lee surely have the drive to convert criticisms into fallacies. Both of their teams were powerhouses and they do not want them though explicit, be these teams reason to sink to the abyss.

5. Jayson Castro

Jayson Castro
Who can match the speed of the blur? The best point guard in Asia would never be left behind the point guard showdown. Though it might be hard for Castro to penetrate when against Ginebra and SMB, he’ll make threes rain on the arena.

The Kiefer Ravena and Terrence Romeo Battle: Who will win?

Kiefer Ravena vs Terrence Romeo

Both are proven scorers in their collegiate careers. Who will prevail on their Christmas clash?

When Kiefer Ravena first announced that he would be finally joining the draft, most basketball pundits, including this one, thought that it would be worth all those years of waiting because Kiefer Ravena has long been ready to turn pro owing to his vast experience that he acquired while trying out for the NBA D-League in the United States and also his successful stint with the Gilas Pilipinas which earned him his 4th gold medal in the South East Asian Games earlier this year.
During his first PBA game for the NLEX Road Warriors against the Kia Picanto, the Phenom led the way with 18 points and 12 assists to win on his first game, 119-115. Even Coach Yeng Guiao was impressed with Ravena’s performance, even saying that Ravena is exactly what the doctor ordered. And we all know that the usually hot-headed Yeng Guiao isn’t someone you can easily impress.
Up next for the Road Warriors?
They will be facing the GlobalPort Batang Pier of Terrene Romeo and Stanley Pringle. But let’s just focus on one particular match-up that we’ve already seen in the UAAP, the match-up featuring Kiefer Ravena going up against the Bro, Terrence Romeo.
To begin with, these two guards have already battled each other multiple times during their respective careers in the UAAP which was highlighted by a Finals slugfest which ended up in Ravena’s Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles hoisting the championship after beating the FEU Tamaraws of Romeo.
While Manong Kiefer may have the numbers against the Bro, this is the PBA.
In terms of experience, Terrence Romeo obviously has the upper hand in this battle of two explosive guards in the PBA. He is already a multi-time scoring champion and that is something we can expect Kiefer to do in his career. And Kiefer Ravena is also one of the few players who can engage in a scoring battle against Romeo.

So who will win tomorrow?

Prediction: The GlobalPort Batang Pier will win

Why? Experience is why. 

Conclusion

While Kiefer Ravena may be a rookie, Terrence Romeo may want to watch his back come tomorrow because the Phenom might make a run for the scoring championship and, the win. And we all know that Yeng Guiao always has something under his sleeves to defends guards like Romeo. Either way, this will be an exciting match-up, right? 

Why Choosing a Younger Commissioner Would Benefit the PBA?

Rebo Saguisag and Charlie Chua among candidates to replace Narvasa

Two young lawyers are among the top candidates to replace Chito Narvasa (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

When Chito Narvasa submitted his resignation just a few hours before the opening ceremony of the PBA’s 43rd season, the PBA Board immediately submitted a resolution, extending Narvasa’s term until the end of the year. This is to allow Narvasa to assist in the transition. In the meantime, the league has assigned Willie Marcial to be the caretaker of the league for one month until such time when the league already has a new commissioner. And, Mr. Marcial has already indicated in numerous press releases that he only intends to serve as a temporary caretaker just to also assist in the panel that will select the new commissioner.
Now that the selection process has already begun, several names from the basketball community have already popped out in the list of possible candidates to replace Narvasa. Among the personalities that were early on are Andy Jao, Tommy Manotoc and, Ricky Palou. While the three personalities are highly-respected individuals in basketball with Andy Jao once serving as the commissioner of the UAAP, the league is apparently looking for someone who is younger who can bring newer and fresher ideas into the league.
Apparently, also included in the list of candidates as the new PBA commissioners are Rebo Saguisag and Charlie Chua. To those who are not familiar, Attorney Rebo Saguisag recently served as the UAAP commissioner for basketball during the Season 80 while Charlie Chua, another young lawyer, is known as one of the PBA commentators for Sports 5.

Why should the league choose a younger commissioner?  

Assuming that the selection panel appoints either Saguisag or Chua, it will benefit the league and in effect, the fans. A young commissioner will allow newer and fresher ideas to enter the PBA and since the PBA is on an on-going crisis due to the recently-ended standoff that started right after Narvasa approved the controversial trade that sent Christian Standhardinger to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for bench players. 
In addition to this, having either Saguisa or Chua as commissioner will allow the PBA to have a fresher mind. While the league still needs someone like Andy Jao who already has a vast amount of experience in terms of covering the PBA, both Saguisag and Chua are also experienced in the sports, having worked with various leagues and it should allow either one of them to bring something new into the table. 

Conclusion

One thing is certain: regardless of who the selection panel will appoint as the new commissioner, that someone will have a big pair of shoes to fill and a bigger amount of trust to regain. Why? 
The recent controversies have strained the relationship between the PBA and the fans. A good choice for a new commissioner will be a big step towards regaining the love and trust of the basketball-loving Filipino fans. 

Kiefer Ravena versus Jeron Teng: Who has the better debut game?

Rivalry Continues: Ravena vs Teng

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
Yesterday’s games marked the beginning of the PBA careers of two of the top 5 picks from this year’s draft, Kiefer Ravena of the NLEX Road Warriors and, Jeron Teng of the Alaska Aces. Both young men have well-decorated collegiate careers in the UAAP  with both winning multiple championships for their respective teams plus MVPs and  Finals MVPs. So there’s no surprise at all that these two were included among the top prized rookies in this year’s draft. In fact, if Christian Stanhardinger wasn’t picked as the top pick, many pundits believed that either Ravena or Teng could have been the top pick. Either way, these two will go head-to-head for the Rookie of the Year award because Standhardinger will miss a big chunk of this season due to his ABL stint.

Question: Who got a better debut in their respective debuts?

Let’s start by comparing the numbers:
  • Kiefer Ravena: 18 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds, 7 for 11 shooting
  • Jeron Teng: 16 points, 0 assists, 2 rebounds, 4 for 9 shooting
Statistically, Manong Kiefer had a better debut, even better than his father, Bong Ravena who only had 2 points in his first PBA game. While the younger Ravena is already a proven scorer during his college days and even in the amateur ranks, his playmaking ability is what separates him from Standhardinger and Teng. He also had 2 steals and played for 29 minutes and helped to get the big W for the Road Warriors.  
Jeron Teng, on the other hand, is a talented player and only fools will think otherwise. He may not have won on his first game but we all know that he can get better as the season progresses. 

Conclusion

It’s only one game and one good game doesn’t mean a player is already the Rookie of the Year. But there’s no denying the fact that both Kiefer Ravena and Jeron Teng will be the future of the PBA and we are in for a show of this generation’s new breed of basketball stars. Christian Standhardinger may be the top pick but both Ravena and Teng will make the loudest of the noise among rookies not because of their names but because of what they can do with the ball in their hands.  
Who will win the ROY? Prediction: Kiefer Ravena

Lee Explodes for 30 Points in Magnolia’s Debut Win

Yep! The Lee-thal Weapon still has it

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
One team is entering the new season under a new team with the hopes of bringing something new to the league. The other team is hoping to begin anew as they were coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory.
Despite missing key players to injury, the Magnolia Hotshots were able to rely on their defense to win their first game of the season against the Alaska Aces, 108-95.

Slow Start

The game started off slow for both teams as the Alaska Aces held a 6-5 edge with 3 minutes into the game.A few possessions and fouls later, the Magnolia Hotshots were already down 17-8 as Jvee Casio knocked down a three-pointer, forcing Chito Victolero to call a timeout with under 6 minutes left in the first quarter.
After a Mark Barroca basket. Jeron Teng completed a three-point play on the other end to give the Aces a 10-point lead. The Hotshots were visibly struggling as they were also dealing with the absences of their key players due to injury. Despite their sluggish start, Magnolia was able to stay close after Paul Lee drained a buzzer-beating trey to make it 26-21 at the end of the first quarter.

The Chickens Started Flying in the Second Quarter

After all, the Magnolia Hotshots are the “Pambansang Manok”, right? Just when the Aces were beginning to re-establish a double-digit lead, the Hotshots clamped down on D and went on a scoring run to make 35-30 with 9 minutes to play in the first half. Two consecutive inside baskets have finally enabled the Hotshots to take the lead, 36-35. 
Magnolia was able to slash into the sloppy defense of Alaska as their lead extended to 8 points, at 50-42 with under 3 minutes to play in the quarter. Kyle Pascual nailed a free throw later to give the Hotshots a 10-point lead as he added another lay-up to make it 56-44. The Hotshots walked into their locker with a 10-point advantage, at 57-47- thanks to their improved field goal shooting which was 55% for the first half and their defense which limited Alaska to only 2 for 10 shooting from the three-point line. 

The Beast got Unleashed Early in the Third. BUT

Calvin Abueva scored 8 points in the opening minutes of the second quarter to bring down the deficit to 6 points only for Magnolia to bring it back to 9 on a three-point shot. An offensive putback by Ian Sangalang put the Hotshots at 70-59 with under 7 minutes to play as the Aces were slowly fading anew.
As turnovers and defensive lapses began to pile up, the Aces saw themselves down by 14 points after Mark Barroca added another inside shot. Add Alaska’s inability to get the defensive rebounds to their woes plus an injury on the big man, Vic Manuel.  Paul Lee later drained a long bomb to put Magnolia by 15 points as PJ Simon added another trey to make it 87-671 heading into the final two minutes of the third quarter.  Both teams entered the final quarter with Magnolia holding an 87-74 lead.

The Aces Tried to Come Back. Tried

The Aces got within 11 points in the first 2 minutes of the 4th quarter thanks to their aggressiveness. Carl Cruz’s basket pushed the lead down to  9 only to watch Robert Herdon complete a 3-point play to stop the Hotshots’ bleeding. Another three, this time from Justin Melton brought the lead back up to 16, at 97-81.
The lead went down to as low as 8 points with under 4 minutes to play as Alaska forced Magnolia to difficult shots and took advantage of their opportunities on the break. That was before Paul Lee hit another three to make it a double-digit lead again. From that point on, Magnolia slowly wasted away the clock as Robert Herndon added another basket to put the game away.

The Numbers: The Good and the Ugly

Paul Lee scored 30 points off the bench to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Riego Gamalinda added 15 points while Ian Sangalang chipped in 13. Magnolia shot better from the field all game long, making 51% of their shot attempts while limiting Alaska to only 46% field goal shooting. Magnolia also forced 22  turnovers.
Calvin Abueva had 20 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists for the Aces but also had 5 of the 22 turnovers of Alaska. Vic Manuel also had 20 points while Jeron Teng added 16 points in his debut. 

The scores:

MAGNOLIA 108 – Lee 30, Gamalinda 15, Sangalang 13, Dela Rosa 10, Simon 9, Herndon 9, K. Pascual 9, Barroca 6, Melton 3, Ramos 2, Brondial 2.

ALASKA 95 – Abueva 20, Manuel 20, Teng 16, Casio 10, R. Pascual 7, Enciso 5, Exciminiano 5, Banchero 4, Thoss 3, J. Pascual 2, Cruz 2, Magat 1, Racal 0.

Quarter Scores:

21-26, 57-47, 87-74, 108-95.

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.

Balls-Eye: 4 Ways for the League to Keep Up with Gin Kings and SMB

Philippine Cup’s gonna be a war between the twin towers.

But it does not necessarily mean that the rest of the league’s already washed out beforehand.
We cannot deny the fact that 2 squads got the Goliath advantage. But the victory was never assured. All teams have equal chances of getting and winning the title shot in the Philippine Cup. But how can they torment the mighty towers of SMB and Ginebra?

1. Sparks beyond the arc

They may never beat them in the shaded area but a great interior strength brings a slightly loose hold on the rainbow country. Defense is so dense and sucked up inside that almost all forces were focused on that area. Thus, a clearer shooting horizon for every team’s top gunner.

2. Field Efficiency

Tall guys give one significant advantage — rebounds. Now the key to thwarting this weapon is depleting the chances of using it to 0% though realistically it may not be applicable, at least lower the chance to as lowest as possible. How? Take shots that most probably would go in. The less missed shots, the more they couldn’t utilize the size advantage in the defensive end. There’ll be nothing to rebound if there’ll be no misses. Take the shots most probable to go down straight to the hoop.

3. Effective Transition Basketball

A huge line up is an incredible strength but relatively slow. The chances of beating them in a high-paced game is much higher than going head to head. It may be hard to stop their attacks but you would always have the chance to get the points back in a quick transition basket. Remember that defense is weakest when in transit. Too many loopholes uncovered for easy penetration.

4. Believe

Why? Ginebra had Greg Slaughter some few seasons ago and they aren’t absolutely unstoppable. The Coffee Mixers beat them and other teams like TNT. It’s just facing two versions of them in this league that made it different but not quite.
Why?
You won’t face them simultaneously. After all, it is one team vs. One team and the hardest would only be facing two towers at a time and not all four of them.

Philippine Cup: SMB 5-peat or Ginebra 2 in a Row?

Japeth Aguilar blocks June Mar Fajardo

Winning 4 straight Philippine Cup Titles, the San Miguel Beermen is surely eyeing for another one this season. But there’s a mighty blockage on their path — the whole Barangay.
Will Christian Standhardinger be enough to make a difference?
Surely, all you folks are rooting for this two teams this season. The twin tower clash royale. Who got the stronger giant to give its team supremacy and dominance?
Assuming that the only ones left is SMB and Ginebra to take on each other in a do or die finals game 7, who shall prevail?
Let us look at this interesting fact for a while and think of the possibilities.
There’ll always be two sides of the coin. How they’ll let their team win and how they’ll let their team lose.
Let us talk about how both squads would make their team win first. Assuming that the twin towers of each team cancelled out each other, it would be Scottie Thompson’s mushroom rebounding that’ll give Ginebra the huge boost. Not at all times, it would be Greg, Japeth, June Mar or Christian who’ll get the boards. Sooner or later the balance would be broken by a Scottie Thompson and if Ginebra delivers on the succeeding possession, momentum has gone on their way. Nobody in the SMB small men can match up Scottie’s extra hassle.

How about for SMB?

Beermen’s edge would be outside shooting. If their shooters connect, given that the towers neutralized each other once again, then they’ll easily stretch the lead. In fact, chances of beating Ginebra in a shootout favors them. They could also beat Ginebra in transition offense boosted by Chris Ross or Cabagnot to cut through the vulnerable defense in transit.
Most of the time, a team loses in their own hands. Mistakes are inevitable. So here are some that may occur if this hypothetical game would commence.

1. Japeth going out of the paint, so as Christian

Japeth frequently shoots around the perimeter but barely delivers. If this happens, Greg could not handle two beasts under alone. Same goes for Standhardinger. These two big men tend to take shots outside of their comfort zones and this is where things get too risky. Shots are at low probability and rebound would be of the defender’s advantage.

2. Twin Foul troubles

The towers are so prone to fouls given the extreme physicality occurring underneath. They also have no choice but to defend slashers from both squads. Ginebra has the Sol train while SMB has Ross wherein both love to go hard to the basket and penetrate whatever defense is in front of them.

Prediction

Based on an empirical discussion done above. In my own opinion, it would be Ginebra that’ll go home with the title. Their edge? Experience. Standhardinger is a newborn in the league and a coherent bond between key players (which Ginebra happens to have especially between Japeth and Greg) is not easy to beat. 

Will Chemistry Enable Magnolia to Challenge SMB’s Supremacy?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: The Hotshots’ intact core MIGHT help them get back to the Finals. MIGHT

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

If you have been watching the PBA over the course of the last few seasons, then you knew how the Magnolia Hotshots, formerly known as the Purefoods Star Hotshots, from a championship-contending team to a semifinal-consistent team especially during the 42nd season of the PBA. While there’s nothing wrong with consistently making into the semifinal round, when your team hasn’t moved on onto the next round for a very long, long time, then something is wrong with your team.
Then, came along the blockbuster trade that sent Paul Lee to the Hotshots in exchange for James Yap who was sent to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Statistically, the Hotshots would have benefited from that deal considering the fact that James Yap is slowly entering the last few years of his career and has been down for some time now due to injuries. Paul Lee, on the other hand, has a decent first season with the Hotshots only to end it with an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the semifinals of the Governors’ Cup where the Hotshots were swept by the Meralco Bolts.
Heading into their first game tomorrow against the Alaska Aces, Head Coach Chito Victolero is facing a big problem: Jio Jalalon, Rafi Reavis and Paul Lee are still recovering from their respective injuries while the team’s energetic bunny, Marc Pingris is still resting from the surgery which removed his kidney stones a few days back. The coach has already said that he has no choice but to play with the current team that he will have come tomorrow.
However, Victolero is also hopeful that the chemistry that his team has established last season will enable them to at least, challenge the supremacy of the San Miguel Beermen. in the Philippine Cup.

Question: will a good chemistry be enough to bring the Hotshots to the promised land?

Possibly. After all, some of these players were already together when Tim Cone led them to a Grand Slam when they were still known as the San Mig Coffee Mixers a few years ago, remember? The arrival of Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee to the team have added youth and speed to the team. So what’s preventing the Hotshots from booking a return trip to the Finals? Inconsistency on both ends of the court. 

Conclusion

Maybe a name change will help ignite the Hotshots who are still undermanned as we speak. But who knows? Chito Victolero might have something hiding under his sleeves. Will they beat the Aces tomorrow? Possibly. Challenge the Beermen? That’s a different story for another time.