Ranking The PBA Teams: The Teams At The Top

In the last of our three part series, we’ll review the PBA teams and rank them according to the strengths of their lineup.

(Missed #12-#9? Go here. For #8-#5, go here.)
Here are the teams at  #4 to #1.
#4 ALASKA ACES
Roster
Name
Position
Chris Banchero
G
Cyrus Baguio
G/F
Vic Manuel
F
Sonny Thoss
F/C
Calvin Abueva
F
Nonoy Baclao
F/C
Marion Magat
C
Rome de la Rosa
G/F
Chris Exciminiano
G
Dondon Hontiveros
G/F
Eric Menk
F/C
RJ Jazul
G
Tony de la Cruz
F
JV Casio
G
Kevin Racal
F
Analysis: The Alaska Aces is the team that proves that the whole can be worth so much more than the sum of its parts. On paper, they shouldn’t be able to beat teams like the Gin Kings or the Hotshots but they do. There is no clear cut superstar on their roster but somehow, the tenacity of Calvin Abueva, the smarts of JV Casio, the shooting of Dondon Hontiveros, the guile of Cyrus Baguio, the versatile skill set of Vic Manuel, the leadership of Tony de la Cruz and the inside presence of Sonny Thoss make them one of the harder teams to create a game plan for. Which means that on any given day, any of those players mentioned above may be the one who beats you.
#3 RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS
Roster
Name
Position
Paul Lee
G
Gabe Norwood
G/F
Jireh Ibanez
G
Jeric Teng
G
Jericho Cruz
G
Maverick Ahanmisi
G
Jewel Ponferada
F/C
Jeffrei Chan
G
Chris Tiu
G
Don Trollano
F
Raymond Almazan
C
Beau Belga
F/C
JR Quinahan
F/C
Josan Nimes
F
Ronnie Matias
F

Analysis: The Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters is one of the most complete teams in the PBA. They’ve got an elite scoring playmaker in Paul Lee, deadeye shooters in Jeff Chan, Chris Tiu and Jeric Teng, lockdown defenders in Gabe Norwood and Jireh Ibanez, bruising size with Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, and they’ve even got their future team cornerstones in Raymond Almazan and Maverick Ahanmisi. Add the fiery Yeng Guiao as coach and you’ve got a final four contender every time. What’s keeping them from being ranked 1 or 2? They’re pretty good at all facets of the game but they aren’t dominant in any facet of the game.
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Ranking The PBA Teams: The Teams In The Middle

In the second of this three part series, we’ll review the PBA teams and rank them according to the strengths of their lineup.
(Missed #12-#9? Go here.)
Here are the teams at  #8 to #5.
#8 MERALCO BOLTS
Roster
Name
Position
Bryan Faundo
F/C
Simon Atkins
G
Jimmy Alapag
G
Cliff Hodge
F
Ronjay Buenafe
G
Chris Newsome
G/F
Anjo Caram
G
Rabeh Al-Hussaini
C
Jared Dillinger
G/F
Reynel Hugnatan
F/C
John Ferriols
F
Kelly Nabong
F/C
Rey Guevarra
G/F
Gary David
G
Analysis: The Meralco Bolts squeezed by the NLEX Road Warriors to nab the #8 sport because they had a better mix of talent. From reliable veterans like Gary David and Jimmy Alapag to their resident sparkplug Jared Dillinger and even to promising young players like Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome, the Bolts are well positioned to be the darkhorse in every conference of the upcoming PBA calendar. What could be crucial for their improvement is the play of Rabeh Al-Hussaini. If he could be a dominant force or even just hold his own against the PBA’s top big men, the Bolts can certainly inch their way up to the top 6 teams of the PBA.
#7 GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER
Roster
Name
Position
Paolo Taha
G
Jonathan Uyloan
G
Billy Mamaril
F/C
Stanley Pringle
G
Dorian Pena
F/C
Anthony Semerad
F
Terence Romeo
G
Joseph Yeo
G
Rico Maierhofer
F
Doug Kramer
F/C
Jay Washington
F/C
Roi Sumang
G
Philip Paniomogan
G
Keith Jensen
F
Analysis: The Globalport Batang Pier team is our pick for this year’s “PBA Team on the Rise”. The maturity of Terence Romeo was hastened by his stints in both Gilas and the Philippines’ 3×3 team and the fearless scorer will be even deadlier in the coming year. What really puts this team among the better teams (by the end of the season, I expect this team to be ranked at #5 or better) in the league is because they are a young team, with lot of room to grow. Romeo is just 23 years old, rookie Roi Sumang is 25, Pringle is 28, Anthony Semerad is 24, Paolo Taha is 25. Unfortunately, they do need to address their ageing frontline, with Kramer (32), Washington (34), Mamaril (35), and Pena (38), approaching the backend of their careers.
#6 BARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
Roster
Name
Position
Sol Mercado
G
LA Tenorio
G
Scottie Thompson
G
Dave Marcelo
F/C
JJ Helterbrand
G
Nico Salva
F
Lee Villamor
F
Greg Slaughter
C
Japeth Aguilar
F/C
Aljon Mariano
F
Chris Ellis
G/F
Joe Devance
F
Mark Caguioa
G
Rodney Brondial
F
Analysis: On paper, the Gin Kings should be the most dominant team in the PBA. The triumvirate of Slaughter, Aguilar and Tenorio should be the most feared combination in the league…except it isn’t. The Gin Kings have one of the best lineups in the league pound for pound, and yet, they have yet to put it all together. Maybe this year, Slaughter finally goes beast mode in every game. Maybe this year, the light goes on in Aguilar’s head and he becomes the PBA’s version of Anthony Davis. Maybe this year, Helterbrand and Caguioa turn into themselves from 5 years ago. If that happens, it might be Grand Slam time.  
# 5 PUREFOOD STAR HOTSHOTS
Roster
Name
Position
Yousef Taha
F/C
Justin Melton
G
Rafi Reavis
F/C
Ronald Pascual
F
Norbert Torres
F
Peter June Simon
G
Ian Sangalang
F/C
Alex Mallari
G
Marc Barroca
G
Marc Pingris
F
James Yap
G/F
Jerwin Gaco
F
Allein Malicsi
G/F
Jake Pascual
F
Analysis: The Purefoods Star Hotshots is a team that wins because of their selflessness and willingness to adhere to a system. But with new coach Jason Webb bringing in a new one, expect a slight dip in their performance. It’s going to be pretty much the same dip they experienced when they were learning Tim Cone’s triangle offense. In Webb’s web, both James Yap and Peter June Simon will, supposedly, go back to being deadly scorers, Pingris and Sangalang will lock down the inside, Melton and Barroca will take care of quarterbacking the team and Mallari will be their all-around glue guy. On paper, this plan looks pretty good. All that’s left is to prove it on the court.
In the next article, we will reveal our picks for teams #4-#1.
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RANKING THE PBA TEAMS: THE BOTTOM FOUR

In this three part series, we’ll review the PBA teams and rank them according to the strengths of their lineups.

First up, #12-#9.
#12 MAHINDRA ENFORCERS
Roster
Name
Position
Aldrech Ramos
F/C
LA Revilla
G
Karl Dehesa
G
Nino Canaleta
F
Joshua Webb
G/F
Eddie Laure
F
Paulo Hubalde
G
Manny Pacquiao
G
Philip Paredes
F/C
Rich Alvarez
F
John Pinto
G
Kyle Pascual
F/C
Mark Yee
F
Hyram Bagatsing
G
Bradwyn Guinto
C
Leo De Vera
F
Analysis: This Mahindra team is seriously lacking in talent to compete in the PBA. Their two best players are Aldrech Ramos and Nino Canaleta, who are skilled players who can be effective third or fourth options on offense but as main men, they will be found sorely lacking. Add to that the team’s lack of quality big men in a golden era for PBA big men plus the shoddy treatment of Mahindra management with regards to their players and coaches and you get a team that will languish at the bottom of the heap.

#11 BLACKWATER ELITE
Roster
Name
Position
Mike Cortez
G
Raphy Reyes
G
Juami Tiongson
G
Carlo Lastimosa
G
JP Erram
C
Almond Vosotros
G
Gilbert Bulawan
F
Jason Melano
F
Frank Golla
F/C
Jason Ballesteros
F/C
Riego Gamalinda
G/F
Keith Agovida
F/F
Reil Cervantes
F
James Sena
F/C
Art de la Cruz
F
Analysis: The word that defines this Blackwater Elite team is “potential”. Almond Vosotros and Art de la Cruz are good basketball players who can contribute immediately and if players like Mike Cortez, Reil Cervantes and James Sena can turn in solid performances, they’ll have a good chance of avoiding being the worst team in the PBA.
#10 BARAKO BULL ENERGY
Roster
Name
Position
James Forrester
G
Josh Urbiztondo
G
Emman Monfort
G
JC Intal
G/F
RR Garcia
G
Jeric Fortuna
G
Jens Knuttel
G
Jervy Cruz
F
Chico Lanete
G
Willy Wilson
F
Yutien Andrada
F/C
Michael Miranda
F/C
Paul Sorongon
G
Mac Baracael
F
Mick Pennisi
C
Prince Caperal
C
Analysis: Barako Bull Energy is hinging their fortunes on the versatile trio of JC Intal, Mac Baracael and RR Garcia. Which is somewhat worrying because Baracael’s minutes and game has been steadily declining, probably because of age (he’s 30), and RR Garcia has been underwhelming in his PBA career so far. Only JC Intal has shown that he has considerable superstar potential, after averaging 21.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game for the Energy last year. He was also part of the Gilas 3.0 team that finished second in the FIBA Asia Championships. But if these Gilas veterans (yes, they all played on Gilas teams) can somehow channel their inner superstars at the same time, Barako Bull may surprise a lot of teams.
# 9 NLEX ROAD WARRIORS
Roster
Name
Position
Simon Enciso
G
Marc Cardona
G
John Wilson
G
Kevin Alas
G
John Raymundo
G
Sean Anthony
F
Jonas Villanueva
G
Garvo Lanete
G
Enrico Villanueva
F/C
Mark Borboran
F
Jeckster Apinan
F
Wynne Arboleda
G
Glenn Khobuntin
F
Rob Reyes
F/C
Harold Arboleda
G/F
Asi Taulava
C
Analysis: Honestly, I had it as a virtual toss up between the NLEX Road Warriors and our #8 team (to be revealed in tomorrow’s article). The Warriors fall to number 9 because their best player is 42 years old. Asi Taulava desperately needs to pass the leadership baton to someone. Unfortunately, Marc Cardona is too immature, Kevin Alas and Glenn Khobuntin are too young, and the rest are too ineffective to lead either by words or by example. Until then, the ageless Asi will continue to pave the road to respectability for NLEX.
In the next article, we will reveal our picks for teams #8-#5.
For more sports content, go to http://sportsfandom.blogspot.com
Follow me at
Twitter: @PMVBalo

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To read the complete article, go to http://sportsfandom.blogspot.com.