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. 

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. 

PBA Opening Day Crowd: Too Many Vacated Seats

Yesterday’s crowd was an indication of the fans’ displeasure towards the league

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The PBA is back, ladies and gentlemen!

After a week of uncertainties which regards to whether or not we will get to witness the opening of the 43rd season of the league- on schedule, the PBA is back, folks. But, it didn’t start without drama, of course.
Just minutes prior to the opening ceremony, all 12 board members, led by PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, held a press conference to announce that soon-to-be-ex PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa has submitted his resignation but will be staying in office until the end of December to help during the transition. 
Then, came along the opening ceremony which featured some of the most beautiful ladies in the land as muses of the teams led by 2017 Miss World Philippines, Laura Lauhmann who was the chosen muse of the Talk N Text Ka Tropa. Then, the 12 team governors came to the center court to unveil the trophy that will be hosted by the champions of this conference come the Finals. 
Then, the main event came around as the San Miguel Beermen opened their title defense against the newly-reloaded Phoenix Fuel Masters who also have a new coach in Louie Alas. While the Fuel Masters managed to even take the lead during the early moments of the first half, the Beermen showed why they are the defending champions and probably, the best all-Filipino team that was assembled as they went on to win, 104-96.
While the game showed glimpses of what we can expect from the Fuel Masters, most especially from the rookie, Jason Perkins who had 10 points and 9 rebounds, the game also featured a notably high number of unoccupied seats around the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 
Some pundits thought that the low attendance during the league’s opening night game is one of the clear indications that PBA fans are no longer ignited by the way the league was operated during the last couple of seasons. And whether we like it or not, part of that lack of excitement from fans is the issue that has been raised for the longest time: inconsistency on the part of the referees. Although there are other possible reasons as to why there were many unoccupied seats last night, the league should take this low attendance seriously. They should listen to the fans.

Conclusion

Who knows? The resignation of Chito Narvasa MIGHT be the start of a new beginning for the PBA. If anything, the league has a lot of works to do if they intend to get back the excitement of the fans towards the PBA and changing commissioner is only a small step towards achieving that goal. 

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. 

Questions to be Answered in the New PBA Season

Fans will finally get the answers once the season kicks off next week

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
With the originally scheduled opening of the PBA’s 43rd season just 6 days away, fans are a bit worried. Why?
Here’s why:
There’s no official statement that is released just yet with regards to the status of PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa- whether he will stay on as the commissioner or not. The last thing we heard about the Chito Narvasa Saga was that the SMC Group, along with their allies, failed to show up in the board meeting that would have allowed both sides to settle this issue, once and for all. 
Even though outgoing PBA Chairman Mikee Romero has already stated a few weeks ago that the issue surrounding the commissioner would be settled before the season opens on the 17th, we haven’t received anything official- just yet. 
Which brings us to the first question that needs to be answered ASAP:

Who will be the PBA Commissioner come December 17, 2017?

While Chito Narvasa is still the commissioner as far as the 5 teams that have been backing him are concerned, the 7 teams that wanted him out of the picture would have Rickie Santos as officer-in-charge until such time that a commissioner gets 8 votes from the 12 teams. 
Technically, Chito Narvasa is still the PBA commissioner- for now. That’s because if you are to look at the rules, 8 votes are needed to either remove or retain a commissioner and so far, it’s technically and figuratively a stalemate. 

Will San Miguel win a Grand Slam this time?

Possibly. If the Beermen can figure out the  Ginebra problem, a problem which ended their chances at a rare Grand Slam last season. 
But talent-wise, a Grand Slam for the Beermnen is more than possible than ever because of the fact that they will have Christian Standhardinger who is expected to suit up upon the completion of his stint in the ABL. Plus, the Beermen’s best starting unit remains intact headed by 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo. 

Who will win the Rookie of the Year?

This year’s draft class is filled with talent, probably one of the most talented draft class in recent memory. So the race for the Rookie of the Year will be tight. Here’s the catchy part: Christian Standhardinger will miss the Philippine Cup so that’s a big blow for his chances which means guys like Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng and even Reymar Jose are the probable candidate for the ROY. 

Conclusion

Will the season start as scheduled? There’s no word that there’ll be a move so yes, the PBA will be back on December 17, 2017. The commissioner? Grand Slam? ROY? We’ll sure get the answers. Eventually. 

Balls-Eye: Beermen Challenges Gin Kings’ Twin Towers

Gregzilla vs. The Kraken

With the huge addition of Christian Standhardinger on the SMB Squad, liquor just got even stronger so they may destroy the mighty Barangay Ginebra or give them a hard time at the very least.

Nevertheless, it was a great news that Greg Slaughter came back before this foreseen epic battle commence. He already managed to play a cup and won a title with Ginebra, a great preparation to take on SMB this coming season.
We know how much Ginebra’s twin towers provide comfort for their team in battling for the boards and establishing an impenetrable interior but now they aren’t the only monster duo inside the shaded zone. 
Here comes another perilous tandem, the Kraken June Mar Fajardo and the inside crushing Christian Standhardinger.
It’s not as though June Mar couldn’t handle big guys alone but his job will be much easier now that he isn’t the only one to do the role of a big man.
SMB will be a huge obstacle in Ginebra’s road to conquering this era. Outside shooting may be the most effective counter if inside seems unbeatable yet SMB is also a team packed with shooters. No place to counter, the team who wants victory must excel both under the rim and beyond the arc.

With the threat against the twin towers being shut down, who can fill in the hypothetical void to be left?

Scottie Thompson, Ginebra’s rebounding point guard will be put to a very extreme test of his potentials, facing a team with huge guys. Can he still manage to hook his surprise boards? Can he surpass the limits of his outside shooting? This is just one of the many things we all should get excited about. More and more match ups and trends will arise once this teams try to take down each other.

How Much (More) Money will the 1st PBA Pick Make Compared to the 3rd Pick, Seems Unfair!

Christian Standhardinger picked 1st while Raymar Jose was 3rd overall in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.

Christian Standhardinger and Raymar Jose 2017 PBA Rookie Draft
Standhardinger and Jose are only one pick apart in the rookie draft but their salary won’t be that close as Blackwater Elite may still be unsure if the D-League MVP is worth the same hefty money that number 1 and number 2 pick is getting. 
If you have not heard yet, San Miguel Beermen Rookie Christian Standhardinger and NLEX Road Warriors Kiefer Ravena are getting a max rookie deal that is worth around 8 million or about 230,000 per month. We certainly have no qualms about the salary of the first two picks as they deserved it given that they are already a proven star in their own rights and their upside is just astronomical but, Raymar Jose isn’t exactly far behind as the young Raymar is also a proven leader during his college years in FEU amassing good numbers in points and rebounds. He wouldn’t be picked number 3 for nothing, right?
Raymar Jose has also played with the ASEAN Basketball League squad Kaohsiung Truth and of course, he also represented the Philippines as part of the Gilas Pilipinas squad so surely he has all the achievements to show and get a good starting salary at par with what Standhardinger and Kiefer Ravena is getting.

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Blackwater Elite offer
According to sources,  the 6’5 forward will be getting P100,000 less than the first and the second pick, in fact, he might be getting less money than Perkins or Teng.  Blackwater team manager Johnson Martinez is said to offer Jose a meager amount of P120,000 a month for the first year and P180,000 for the second.  Even Perkins who is the fourth pick will get more money than Jose at 150,000 for the first year. 
Blackwater, however, added that his second-year salary would go up to 180,00K and if he will be able to prove himself, then he would get an additional performance bonus.
Side note: Last year Mac Belo(2nd pick), Kevin Ferrer(3rd pick) and Jio Jalalon(11th) got the max deal.
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Blackwater low balling Raymar

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A Wheeler’s Opinion: The Narvasa Removal: Will it Happen?

Here’s why it can happen and why it will not happen

Due to his approval of the Kia-SMB trade, Chito Narvasa’s days in office are numbered? (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The weather here in Quezon City is gloomy and so is the future of Chito Narvasa as PBA Commissioner. Why?

Here’s why:

Rumor has it that the majority bloc in the PBA Board, led by the teams under the MVP Group, is currently on the move to out the good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa. 
Why? 
Let’s face it, folks, when Mr. Narasvasa approved arguably one of the most questionable and equally one of the most lopsided trades in the history of the PBA, the one involving the Kia Picanto sending the rights to pick Christian Standhardinger on draft night to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for bench players, future picks and cash. 
Question: Was it lopsided? Definitely. Questionable? Indeed. 
So why did Mr. Narvasa approve deal despite concerns from the PBA teams? Simple: there was nothing wrong with the trade if you were San Miguel. There was nothing really wrong especially after both teams submitted a 3rd revised version of the deal which sealed Narvasa’s approval.
Now, that decision by Mr. Narvasa not only changed the balance in the league as San Miguel gets to have Standhardinger team-up with 4-time MVP June Mar Fajardo but also angered the majority of the team owners who now, want him out of office.  
And if you remember just a few days ago, Talk N Text blasted Narvasa for divulging the information to the media, stating that it was actually Magnum Membrere, a team official of TNT, who filed Standhardinger’s draft application on the latter’s behalf. TNT, in a statement, called the move made by the good commissioner, biased. Given that TNT is under the MVP Group, it came as no surprise that it’s now leading the move to remove Narvasa.

Question: Will it Happen?





Yes. Provided…

Here’s the catch, folks. Removing Chito Narvasa as PBA commissioner can be done as long as you have the support of the majority of the team owners. Now, there are 12 teams in the league. Get 7 from those teams and Chito Narvasa’s stint will be done in no time.
Now, according to league insiders, the MVP Group has already found supporters in Alaska’s Wilfred Uytengsu and Blackwater’s Dioceldo Sy. 
Additionally, sources are now saying that both Rain or Shine and Phoenix are backing the move so that’s 7 against 5. They are said to agree to call a board meeting tomorrow to finally decide whether or not Chito  Narvasa will go on as commissioner. 

Nope 

Why? Simple. According to league insiders, Chito Narvasa still has the support of the three teams playing under the San Miguel Corp block as well as SMC ally, GlobalPort, and Kia, of course. These teams firmly believe that 5 votes are enough to keep Narvasa in office thanks to the gray area in the league’s by-laws.

Conclusion

Even though the move to oust PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa falters should it happen tomorrow, this pundit on wheels firmly believes that Mr. Narvasa won’t last long in office because he has lost the trust and confidence of the majority of the team owners. Now, it all depends on the outcome of tomorrow’s board meeting but one thing is certain if we are to believe a league insider: Chito Narvasa won’t have a full 1-year extension.

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. 

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. 

Defense Wins it for Ginebra! Spoiled Grand Slam Hope of SMB

Ginebra enters the semifinals after dominance against the Beermen

Greg Slaughter helped contained the Kraken’s offensive output. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
This is the quarterfinal match-up that everyone wanted to see. You see, this match-up will decide which reign will end. On one side, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings want to make it a back-to-back Governors’ Cup titles. For the San Miguel Beermen, a win here will extend their season and keep their chances of winning a rare Grand Slam. There are many things that are at stake in this specific game. And by the way, we got to see another battle between two Cebuano giants in Greg Slaughter and June Mar Fajardo.
The Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings anchored on their defense to frustrate the San Miguel Beermen, leading to a 104-84 victory which saw the Beermen’s hopes for a Grand Slam crumbled down to Earth. In effect, the Gin Kings will now have to wait for the winner of the do-or-die game between the TNT KaTropa and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Both the Gin Kings and the Beermen immediately went to work on offense right after the tip-off which saw the lead switched hands multiple times before the 1st quarter ended with a tie, at 23 apiece. Justin Brownlee scored the first points of the Gin Kings in the second quarter on a three-pointer as Ginebra opted to throw double teams on Fajardo every time he had the ball on offense which resulted in contested shots or turnovers. Brownlee added another trey to put the Gin Kings up by 9, at 34-25 with under 9 minutes to play in the quarter. Nothing went well on the Beermen’s offense as they were either blocked by Ginebra’s big men, forced into difficult shots or turnovers. San Miguel went without scoring a single point during the 5-minute span that Ginebra went on an 8-0 run until Terrence Watson scored on a jumper to end the dry spell with under 5 minutes before the halftime break.
At the half, the Gin Kings were up, 45-32 and part of that success can be associated with Brownlee’s performance which produced 20 points while making all 4 three-point attempts. But, it was Ginebra’s defense in the second quarter which made life miserable for the Beermen who were only limited to 9 points during the entire quarter. Fajardo on the other side, had 9 points on 4 of 8 field goal shooting although he had 11 rebounds to his name. No bench players from Leo Austria’s team has scored during the first 24 minutes of action as compared to the 6 bench points of Ginebra.
Just like they did in the second quarter, the Gin Kings opened the second half with another three-pointer, this time from LA Tenorio.  Unlike in the second quarter where they struggled to score, the Beermen were able to cut down a double-digit deficit to 9 after June Mar Fajardo added another 2-point field goal, forcing Tim Cone to yell for a timeout with 7:02 to go in the quarter. The Beermen’s’s incapability to sustain a scoring was what one of the many things which kept them behind as Ginebra found a wide variety of ways to score which included a dunk by Brownlee in the dying seconds of the 3rd as the Gin Kings entered the final quarter with the lead, 74-61.
Ginebra, again began a quarter with a pair of treys that increased their lead to 17 during the first few possessions of the 4th quarter.  Scottie Thompson added another lay-up off a steal which increased the lead, 86-65 with under 8 minutes to go and Ginebra went on unthreatened during the rest of quarter. The lead went up as high as 30 after Thompson drained a trey approaching the two-minute mark as Japeth Aguilar added another dunk.
Justin Brownlee had 37 points and 12 rebounds to lead Ginebra as they moved on into the semifinals. Joe Devance added 17 points while the twin tower of Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter finished with 13 points each.  Scottie Thompson only had 7 points on 3 of 13 shooting but was a monster in the rebounding battle as he tallied 13 rebounds, 8 of them are offensive rebounds. As a team, Ginebra made 49% of their shot attempts including 50% from the three-point territory.  Bench scoring also helped the Gin Kings as they outscored their counterparts, 22-9.
Unfortunately for the San Miguel Beermen, nothing clearly went their way. They turned the ball over 20 times which the Gin Kings converted into 22 points off those turnovers. San Miguel shot poorly from beyond the arc as they only made 9 of their 20 attempts from that area.  Terrence Watson finished his tenure with the Beermen with 30 points and 22 rebounds. Fajardo, the leading MVP candidate this season, finished with 19 points while Marcio Lassiter added 13.

Scores:

Ginebra – 104
Brownlee 37, Devance 17, J. Aguilar 13, Slaughter 13, Marcelo 9 Tenorio 8, Thompson 7, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz, Mariano 0, Caguioa 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0

San Miguel – 84
Watson 30, Fajardo 19, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 8, Santos 6, Ross 5, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Ganuelas-Rosser 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0

Quarterscores:

23-23, 45-32, 74-61, 104-84

3 Things Ginebra Needs to Do to Beat SMB

These things will help Ginebra against SMB

Guarding June Mar Fajardo is already a daunting task for Ginebra. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Over the weekend, both the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and the San Miguel Beermen lost their respective games to end the elimination round which explains their positions heading into their higly-anticipated quarterfinal match-up.

The Gin Kings had the chance to go for the number 1 spot but the Talk N Text Katropa denied the crowd darlings and instead, Ginebra was relegated to 3rd place.

On the other hand, the Beermen had the chance to finish in the Top 4 and get that twice-to-beat advantage but thanks to a stunning defeat at the hands of the Meralco Bolts which saw the Bolts come back from an 18-point hole, June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen fell to 6th place and have to beat the Gin Kings, twice, to be able to move on to the semifinals which will keep their hopes for a grand slam alive.

For the Gin Kings who are aiming for a back-to-back Governors’ Cup championships, a win against their sister team on Wednesday will enable them to prepare for whoever they will face come the semifinals. However, we all have to keep in mind that San Miguel has already beaten Ginebra earlier this month when Terrence Watson made his debut in a game where he scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead the Beerman to a 107-103 victory over Ginebra last September 10. That victory halted the Gin Kings’ 7-game winning streak.

Now, equipped with the twice-to-beat incentive, the Gin Kings know that letting the Beermen build up any form of confidence when the two teams clash anew come Wednesday is not an option because whether we like it or not, the Beermen have been in this situation where they needed to win successive games against a team. Remember? They won 4 straight against the Alaska Aces in the Finals to win the championship after being down 0-3. So, winning two straight game is, let’s say more doable for a team of the Beermen’s calibre.

If you’re Tim Cone, you wouldn’t think about having the twice-to-beat edge. If Ginebra wants a longer rest before the semifinals, dealing with the Beermen in one game is a must. Below are the three important things that Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar and the rest of the Gin Kings need to do come Wednesday:

Defend

As they all say, “Defense wins championships” and since they are the defending champions for this conference, the Gin Kings must rely on their defense if they want any hopes of stopping Watson or at the very least, June Mar Fajardo who is playing like an import for San Miguel. However, one strength of the Beermen that Ginebra needs to overcome is that the team of Coach Leo Austria is also loaded with long-distance snipers who can drop threes especially when left unguarded. They have guys like Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and even Arwind Santos who can make those long jumpers as if they’re only lay-ups.

Even though San Miguel is only making 19% of their attempts from rainbow country during the elimination round, Ginebra should make sure that they defend the shooters of San Miguel. And, don’t forget to defend Fajardo as well. Basically, choosing between sending a double-team or even a triple-team to defend Fajardo and, closing in on the shooters is a gamble and a headache for any team who is facing San Miguel and that what makes them the best all-local team that we have in the league right now.

Contribute

There’s simply no way Ginebra can eliminate the Beermen when only two players doing the job as we saw in Ginebra’s loss to TNT where only Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar scored in double figures. They are dealing with a San Miguel team which has the best starting unit to begin with and they have the best player in the league in June Mar Fajardo.

The rest of the Gin Kings must find a way to contribute in other way when they are struggling offensively. For starters, LA Tenorio’s leadership on the floor will be needed so is the athleticism of Scottie Thompson. Greg Slaughter also needs to find a way to make his presnece felt to take off some defensive pressure away from Brownlee and Aguilar. And speaking of Aguilar, he has to score more points now that he has ended a series of scoreless games which can benefit the Gin Kings because this will mean that Brownlee won’t need to take majority of the scoring load.

Live the “Never Say Die” Mentality

With or without the twice-to-beat edge, Ginebra must remain hungry for the win no matter how challenging the task of defending and defeating San Miguel. Ginebra has been known, loved and even hated for their “Never Say Die” mentality which means that they never give up against all odds.

If anything, Wednesday will be the perfect time for the Gin Kings to go back to that mentality because playing against a deadly team like San Miguel will require more than just the talents and skills. It requires the heart to go on fighting and when it comes to this, no better team does this other than Ginebra, right?

Durham, Bolts Erase 18-point Lead, Stun SMB

Meralco Claims Number 1 Spot after Comeback Win

Jared Dillinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts’ comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The good news for the Meralco Bolts is, they only need to win their final game to claim the number 1 spot entering the quarterfinals. The bad news is, they needed to do it against a San Miguel team which they haven’t beaten since 2015.
Nope. Not this time around, Beermen. The Meralco Bolts came back from an 18-point deficit to claim the number 1 spot after stunning the San Miguel Beermen, 104-101.
Hoping to continue their mastery of the Bolts, the San Miguel Beermen jumped to a double-digit lead early on. The Bolts were struggling to get anything going in their offense as the Beermen’s defense continuously forced them into committing turnovers which the Beerman would convert into points on the other end.Throughout the 2nd quarter, the Bolts were struggling miserably as they shot only 37% in the field including a 27% 3-point shooting.
San Miguel for their part, shot way better in the field, making 47% of their shot attempts in the first half including 53% from the 2-point area. The lead went down at 8 after a Baser Amer lay-up with 66 seconds left before halftime. On the ensuing possession, Marcio Lassiter nailed a trey to put the lead back to double-digits. June Mar Fajardo already had 10 points by halftime. So is Marcio Lassiter. So is import Terrence Watson. Meanwhile, Allen Durham did have 10 points but was continuously struggling to make his shots against the suffocating defense of the Beermen which forced him to make only 4 of his 13 attempts in the first 24 minutes of action.
The Beermen continued pouring in the points in the shaded area to start off the 3rd quarter with Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot.Chris Ross who went scoreless in San Miguel’s previous game, another 3-pointer a few possessions later and a shot by Fajardo put the lead up to 17, forcing Norman Black to call a timeout 3 minutes into the quarter.  Fajardo later added another dunk after a bad pass by the Bolts player.
S0an Miguel’s lead then ballooned to 18 points after a jumper by Watson. Meralco tried to chip away at the lead as Mike Tolomia scored on a lay-up to bring the lead down to 16 but the Beermen were able to answer every basket that the Bolts made. Meralco came back roaring as they cut down the lead to 10 with a trey from Tolomia with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd. San Miguel brought a 12-point lead coming into the final quarter.
A goaltending violation against San Miguel cut down the Beermen’s lead to 7 in the opening minutes of the fourth as Reynel Hugnatan nailed a jumper to furthermore bring down the lead to just 5, forcing San Miguel Coach Leo Austria to call time.

After back-to-back made baskets by Fajardo, Allen Durham another trey with under 6 minutes on the clock only to be answered by another basket by Fajardo. A pair of charities by Cliff Hodge brought Meralco within 2 with under 5 minutes to play.

After the Beermen increased their lead back to 9, Meralco charged back right away, just trailing 96-92 with under 3 minutes to go until Jared Dillinger drained another trey cut down the lead just to 1. After a Watson basket, Amer scored on another three-pointer to tie the game at 98 apiece with 1:24 to go. Durham gave Meralco its first taste of the lead on a driving lay-up against Fajardo with under a minute to play. Chris Ross answered right back with another trey to give the Beermen a 101-100 lead heading into the final 40 seconds. Durham scored on his own missed shot to put his team back up 102-101 with under 28 seconds remaining.

San Miguel still had one more chance to take the lead but Fajardo’s shot was heavily contested and Meralco was able to grab the ensuing rebound and call an all-important timeout with 4 seconds on the clock. Durham added two more free throws as San Miguel ran out of time on the other end.

Allen Durham led the way for the Bolts with his 35 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Dillinger added 16 while Chris Newsome finished with 14 points. Baser Amer also contributed 13 points. For the losing team, Fajardo had 26 points to go along with his 8 rebounds. Terrence Watson and Marcio Lassiter had 18 points each while Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross finished with 16 and 10 respectively.

While the starters of San Miguel produced their usual numbers, it was the bench scoring that allowed Meralco to mount a comeback and eventually, helped them win the game.

Scores:
Meralco – 104
Durham 35, Dilinger 16, Newsome 14, Amer 13, Hodge 8, Tolomia 8, De Ocampo 6, Hugnatan 2, Nabong 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Lanete 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Faundo 0
San Miguel – 101
Fajardo 26, Watson 18, Lassiter 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 10, Santos 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes  0, Agovida 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0
Quarter scores:
19-31, 39-51, 69-81,104-101 
Jared Dilinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts’ comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Watson, Fajardo Lead the Way for SMB

SMB Wins a close one against Phoenix

The Kraken led the way with another dominant performance (Photo by PBA Media Bureau)
The Phoenix Fuel Masters took the lead early on in the first quarter, fell behind by double figures during the next 2 quarters before coming back alive during the dying minutes of the 4th quarter. In the end, it was the championship experience of June Mar Fajardo and the rest of the San Miguel Beermen that prevailed as they avoided an upset by defeating the eliminated Phoenix team, 109-107. And doing so wasn’t easy either even for an experienced team.
Like the other teams who are already assured of their respective quarterfinal slots, the San Miguel Beermen knew they have to win their remaining games if they want to improve their position come the quarterfinals.

Here’s the thing, if the Beermen win this game, they will be tied with the NLEX Road Warriors for the 4th spot which will give them a chance to earn a twice-to-beat advantage. If they lose, they will be tied with the Rain o Shine Elasto Painters for the 5th spot. Either way, the Beermen will be tied with another team and if you are a team who is gunning for a rare grand slam, you would surely prefer to be fighting for a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals, right?

After Fuel Masters import Brandon Brown scored 17 points in the first quarter alone, the Beermen, led Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo and Chris Ross, buckled up on defense as they successfully contained Brown during the entire second quarter alone which enable Leo Austria and his team to mount a comeback and eventually take the lead 56-52 heading into halftime.

While both teams struggled offensively, only shooting 37% in the field during the first half, the 2-pt field goal percentage of San Miguel proved to be the difference as they outperformed Phoenix 50% to 42% in that category during the entire game. Free throw shooting has also played an important part as well as total assists as the Beerman has proven again and again that they can beat any team if they are fluidly passing the ball around, looking for the best scoring option.

When the 3rd quarter started, the Beerman wasted no time pouring point after point after point. Marcio Lassiter converted on back-to-back three pointers and then the Kraken followed with a 3-point play, forcing Phoenix Coach Art Vanguardia to call a timeout with 9:30 to play in the quarter. The Beermen went on to keep a double-digit lead during majority of the third quarter.
Then, things got interesting in the 4th after Phoenix trimmed down San Miguel’s lead to 3 with under 8 minutes to spare in the game only to be answered by another Lassiter trey.

Both teams traded both made and missed baskets in the next few minutes of the 4th. The Fuel Master got as close as 2 points, at 98-96 with five minutes on Matthew Wright’s free throws. Then, on Brandon Brown’s free throws, the game was tied at 100 with under 3 minutes to go until the Beerman answered with 4 straight points to put their lead up by 4-points with under 2 minutes left.

The Fuel Masters still had one more chance to inch closer but Mathew Wright uncharacteristically air-balled a 3-pointer with under a minute left. To make things worse, Arwind Santos was able to tap the ball away from Brandon Brown then Fajardo was fouled and made both free throws. Jeff Chan later scores on a lay-up to cut the lead to 4, at 106-102 with 21 seconds to go in the game. Cabagnot made 1 of 2 free throws after winning a jump ball and then JC Intal nailed a  trey with under 10 seconds only to for Cabagnot to make 2 more throws to ice the game with 6 seconds to go.

The Fuel Masters scored on another basket with 1 second remaining but that proved to be their last hurrah as the Beermen dribbled away the clock off a timeout.

Terrence Watson led the way for the Beermen with 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Fajardo, for his part, finished with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Alex Cabagnot also finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds to complement the performance of Watson and Fajardo.
On the other side, Brandon Brown had 30 points while Jeff Chan had 18 points on 8 out of 16 field goal shooting. JC Intal followed up with 12 points on his own. In fact, the bench of Phoenix actually outscored their San Miguel counterparts 33-22 but we all know that the Beermen have one of the best starting units in the PBA today.
Scores:
San Miguel – 109
Watson 26, Fajardo 24, Cabagnot 24, Santos 15, Lassiter 13, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Ross 0, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0
Phoenix – 107
Brown 30, Chan 18, Intal 12, Eriobu 10, Alolino 9, W. Wilson 8, Dehasa 7, Wright 5, Lanete 4, Kramer 2, Jazul 2, J. Wilson 0, Hayes 0, Miranda 0, Ababou 0
Quarter scoring:
23-28, 56-52, 86-77, 109-107

SMB Junemar Fajardo Holding a Snake and Having Fun in the Province

JunMar Fajardo is the most talented center in the PBA right now. He is one of the key players that has made the San Miguel Beermen a great team that it is right now. But behind that monster number that he produces inside the court, he is a simple province boy who loves to enjoy the simple fun in life.
In this video, Junmar Fajardo is enjoying some time with friends and even holding a snake.

Highlights:Import’s Poor Performance Didn’t Matter as Beermen Made it Rain Outside to Easily Defeat Phoenix

SMB advances to the semi-finals of the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
This headline must have been written even before the jump ball.  Heading into the game,  Phoenix Fuel Masters must have been hoping that somehow JunMar Fajardo and Charles Rhodes doesn’t play as good as they were playing all conference long. In a way, they got their wish holding Rhodes to his conference-low with just 14 points and JunMar Fajardo at least did not do as much with 15 points and only 8 rebounds.
With Beermen import taking a backseat, the rest of the players stepped up. Cabagnot scored 20 points including 6 three-pointers on a 50% shooting. Marcio Lassiter joined him in the three-point parade contributing a total of 26 points with 5 coming from downtown.  It was a great shooting night for the Beermen, even Ronald Tubid joined in the fun scoring a total of 14 points, 3 of which a three-pointer. They made it rain tonight.
Phoenix had no answer for the rampaging Beermen as a couple of their best players including Matthew Wright and Cyrus Baguio could not find their usual rhythm scoring a combined 16 points on a 6/17 (35%) shooting.
The Beermen dominated the night and led all the way to a 15-96 victory.
They are now waiting for the victor between Star and Rain or Shine for the semi-final series.
The scores:
SAN MIGUEL 115 – Lassiter 26, Cabagnot 20, Fajardo 15, Rhodes 14, Tubid 14, Ross 11, Santos 8, Espinas 4, McCarthy 3, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Agovida 0.
PHOENIX 96 – McKay 20, Jazul 14, Intal 12, Alolino 11, Wright 9, Baguio 7, Eriobu 6, J. Wilson 6, Miranda 4, Dehesa 3, Hayes 2, Lanete 2, Torres 0, Borboran 0, W.Wilson 0, Kramer 0.
Quarterscores: 28-21, 57-37, 88-69, 115-96.

True Power Rising as SMB Easily Shoots Down Phoenix

Cabagnot flying through traffic, photo by PBA Media Bureau

SMB > PHX. 

That’s just it. SMB was just too good for Phoenix tonight. There is just no way that the All Filipino Champion is losing.
With 48% team field goal percentage against 36% of Phoenix, The Beermen cruised their way steadily against Phoenix who could not find any answer against the well oiled and coordinated Beermen. Six players from SMB scored in double figures.
This is SMB’s second win in as many games and it is looking like they will continue to further rise to the top and ascertain that they are the true power in the league once again.
SMB joins Star Hotshots and Alaska Aces as the still undefeated teams in the conference.  

Scores:

SAN MIGUEL 110 – Fajardo 22, Rhodes 19, Lassiter 15, Cabagnot 14, Ross 11, Santos 11, McCarthy 6, Agovida 4, Van Opstal 3, Espinas 3, Heruela 2, Semerad 0.

PHOENIX 88 – McKay 21, Jazul 16, Intal 14, Dehesa 8, J. Wilson 6, Kramer 6, Alolino 4, Borboran 4, Miranda 3, Eriobu 2, Torres 2, Viernes 2, Wright 0, Baguio 0, Hayes 0, W. Wilson 0, 

Quarters: 24-23, 55-40, 84-62, 110-88

Dont Be Surprised! TNT Now Leads the Series With Three Wins to Two Against the Beermen

Photo Courtesy of PBA Media Bureau
A dominating Junmar Fajardo seems not enough to get the San Miguel Beermen the lead in the series. Being the top seed in the PBA Philippine Cup elimination round, the Beermen are off to a test as they go against the former top seed last season the TNT Katropa.
Kelly Williams who scored 8 of the last 12 points of the Katropa who scored 18 points in game 5 that helped out the squad in bagging their third win in the series to pull off an advantage against the Beermen.

Photo Courtesy of PBA Media Bureau
Jason Castro also contributed 18 points along side Yancy De Ocampo with the identical production. Junmar Fajardo has been limited to 13 points only in this showdown while Santos dominated the scoring department with 18 points but lacked support from his team mates aside from Cabagnot and Lassiter who scored 17 and 16 respectively.
The TNT Katropa will have a chance to take the finals spot on game 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.

JC Intal leads Phoenix into a strong finish against San Miguel Beermen



Courtesy of PBA Media Bureau

JC Intal led the Phoenix Fuel Masters into another win as they surpass the league giant San Miguel Beermen.

San Miguel Beermen struggled in converting their charities as they only averaged 55% making only 12 of their 22 attempts. On the three point category where Phoenix did an awesome job where they averaged 40% led by JC Intal who made 5 three point shots out of his 9 attempts along side Simon Enciso who scored 15 points  all coming from beyond the arc.

The Phoenix Fuel Masters has bee on the driver’s seat through out the game as the Beermen played catch the entire four quarters of this second game in a Wednesday Philippine cup showdown.

The Fuel Masters’ rookie Matthew Wright had an excellent performance night contributing 14 points with an impressive 75% freethrow shooting average to end the game together with fellow rookie Gelo Alolino who listed 13 points who was perfect from the free throw line with 50% conversion from beyond the arc.

Junmar Fajardo tried to salvage the win for the beermen and was the highest scorer of the game with 19 points after dominating the paint but fell shortly with lack of points contribution from his fellow beermen having Alex Cabagnot only converting 1 three pointer out of his 4 attempts which is unusal for this shooting guard.

Final : 92-85 in favor of the Phoenix Fuel Masters

The scores:  

Phoenix 92 – Intal 22, Enciso 15, Wright 14, Alolino 13, Caperal 10, W. Wilson 6, Lanete 4, Torres 4, Baguio 2, Hayes 2, J. Wilson 0, Borboran 0.

San Miguel 85 – Fajardo 19, Cabagnot 16, Espinas 12, Lassiter 12, Santos 10, Garcia 9, Ross 4, Reyes 3, Agovida 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0.

Quarters: 26-15, 49-35, 77-63, 92-85
Best players of the game:  Simon Enciso (15 points and 9 assists) and Matthew Wright (14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists)!

A historic semi-finals do-or-die match to be witnessed as Ginebra and San Miguel fight for a finals berth.

Photo by Cynthia Pedrosa

This is probably one of the most historic semi-finals series in the history of the PBA where records have been written such as Scottie Thompson’s triple double performace, huge crowd recorded in a semi-final game, most anticipated games by the fans and the fastest ticket selling. Having two brackets with two sister teams competing for a title, the PBA has made a huge difference in terms of showcasing a great entertainment platform in the sports industry.

The longest running professional league has been known for historic match ups and legendary players but this match up between the San Miguel Beermen who we might say the most successful team in the league so far having been crowned multiple times as PBA champions while on the other hand, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, one of the first franchises in the league and the most popular ball club is different on it’s own era.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel has not won a title in almost a decade now and this crowd darling with the largest fan base is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated teams in the league to win this prestigious conference title. Social Media has been exploding with topics about this semi-finals series between these sister franchises. While San Miguel Beermen, will try to continue their rampage as they continue to fight for another title. Meralco’s first final appearance is also one of the milestones that this conference has recorded.

Having said that, as many people say, this is probably one of the best seasons that the PBA had. With the highly anticipated games and new records reached. PBA is off to a successful season ending conference as people goes back to the glory days and make this era one of them.  Continuing the legacy of the league legends, all the members of PBA and even the players are giving the fans what they deserve and exceeding their expectations with exciting and entertaining games.

Japeth Aguilar’s heroic causes Ginebra a win away from finals appearance

Photo by PBA Media

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel went through a very rough path before getting their 2nd win in the semi-finals series against the San Miguel Beermen giving them a inch distance away from their finals appearance where they will face the winner of the series between Meralco and TNT.

It was a tight ball game from the tip off to the final period having the two teams exchange leads from time  to time and even had multiple deadlocks through out the quarters. The beermen continues to show their successful three point skills which have been dangerous from the start of the series.

Junmar Fajardo was limited with playing minutes because of foul trouble having 5 fouls listed in the 4th quarter which made coach Leo Austria to bench him out for long minutes, Ginebra took advantage of this edge and gets their points from inside the pain and penetrations.

At the fourth quarter with 30 seconds left on the clock the beermen was on the driver seat with a precarious 1 point lead. Ginebra has the possession and decided not to call a time out to go back to the drawing board. Justin Brownlee fired a three and missed then Scottie Thompson gets the possession and attempted a lay up and was also not successful. LA tenorio got the ball with 8 seconds on the clock and dished it to Sol Mercado who immediately attacked the basket which lured the SMB defense leaving Japeth Aguilar at the wing side, Sol Mercado passed the ball to Japeth then Aguilar took a jumper with approximately 1 second on the clock and sinks the winning jumper.

Best Player of the Game:

Scottie Thompson 12 points, 10 rebound and 10 assists

Battle of the guards. Battle of the biggest franchises

After an excellent elimination round in the post-season conference, seeing young teams emerging into the next level of this conference top 4 teams have earned their top spots in the standings. Two of the biggest franchises in PBA history have placed their teams on the top seeds. And as per their performance, these teams have outstanding backcourt standouts.

TNT Katropa who ended their conference elimination round at the top spot after beating Barangay Ginebra in a game deciding match have their number 1 point guard not only in the league but was hailed as the best point guard in Asia. Jason Castro who served as the steering wheel of the squad is doing an excellent job in making his team mates involved in their offense and sometimes makes his own executions perfectly.

San Miguel Beermen, on the other hand who ended at the 2nd spot after the TNT-Ginebra game also have impressive point guards and one of them is Alex Cabagnot who’s one of the veteran playmakers in the league. Cabagnot is know for his deadly beyond the arc baskets and dishing ability. His one of the players that every team should have a focus on aside from their frontliners in Junmar Fajardo and Arwind Santos.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel who had an amazing campaign probably the most successful compared to their last stints in the league also ended at the top 4 on 3rd spot. One of the most anticipated and watched out for guards in this squad is their rookie All Star member Earl Scottie Thompson. Scottie Thompson is surprisingly leading the rebounding department of the crowd darlings. This triple double machine way back in college is proving his worth in the league and repaying his coach’s trust on him by providing excite in the Ginebra backcourt and contributing on different statistics such as assists and steals and also badly needed points. This playmaker will be tested come playoffs.

Meralco Bolts earned their rights for the 4th spot in the standings after defeating Mahindra in a deciding game which result will lead to a twice to beat advantage or the other way around. Meralco Bolts’ veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag who has been in the league for quite some time who came back from retirement to put a winning tradition into this MVP franchise will be one of the guards to watch out for along side Chris Newsome and Dillinger. Alapag is expected to be the primary playmaker of this ballclub as they drive their way to the finals stage.

It is going to be an exciting playoffs in history as the two biggest franchises , SMC and MVP will clash to get the season ending conference title.

San Miguel Beemen rides Fajardo and Cabagnot momentum for their 6th win.

San Miguel Beermen parades their new import against Meralco Bolts on Wednesday. Junmar Fajardo dominated the points production for the Beermen while meralco tried to squeeze in some buckets to try to catch up.

Meralco Bolts import tried to salvage a win together with Jimmy Alapag and Chris Newsome. Alapag scored in double figures with 14 points to end their game against the Bolts, Chris Newsome on the other hand contributed 12 points while Durham listed a huge 34 points production which brought them closer to the Beermen lead but fell shortly during the payoff period.

Junmar Fajardo together with their new import Singletary and Arwind Santos helped the Beermen to maintain their lead and finally ended the game with a win despite the late comeback of the Bolts.
Fajardo scored 24 points, while their reinforcement scored 21 points. Alex Cabagnot who was chosen as the best player of the game who made the difference during the 4th quarter scored 18 points, with a couple of dishes and 2 steals.

The scores:

SAN MIGUEL 110 – Fajardo 24, Singletary 21, Santos 19, Cabagnot 18, David 13, Ross 9, Lassiter 4, De Ocampo 2, Heruela 0, Reyes 0, Tubid 0.

MERALCO 106 – Durham 34, Alapag 14, Newsome 12, Faundo 10, Hodge 10, Nabog 10, Amer 7, Hugnatan 6, Dillinger 3, Buenafe 0, Uyloan 0.

Quarters: 25-24, 55-44, 81-79, 110-106

Ginebra Routs San Miguel, 110-84

Chris Ellis tries to score against San Miguel’s Marcio Lassiter and June Mar Fajardo

Smart Araneta Coliseum – The Barangay Ginebra outlasted the San Miguel Beermen and boosts their hunt for twice to beat advantage after defeating the Beermen with a 26 points differential, 110-84.

It was a close first quarter and a see saw battle before the Kings pulled away starting from the second quarter until the final buzzer. From that the Kings never looked away.

Ginebra demolished the beermen with their tight defense that forced too many turnovers for the Beermen. They allowed the Beermen to scored 84 points only while dropping 110 against their opponent.

Othyus Jeffers led the Kings with 22 points and 13 rebounds while Greg Slaughter added 18 points. Chris Ellis, who had a poor game against the TNT, bounces back with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He was named best player of the game.

Tyler Wilkerson led the Beermen with 20 points and 16 rebounds in a losing effort. Reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo was limited to 14 points and 4 rebounds.

Ginebra improved to 6-4 record and officially claimed an outright quarterfinals berth while the Beermen dropped to a 5-3 record.

The scores:
GINEBRA 110 – Jeffers 22, Slaughter 18, Ellis 15, Aguilar 14, Tenorio 11, Mercado 10, Caguioa 9, Thompson 5, Marcelo 2, Mariano 2, Salva 2, Helterbrand 0.
SAN MIGUEL 84 – Wilkerson 20, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 12, Cabagnot 11, Espinas 10, Ross 9, Santos 6, De Ocampo 2, Arana 0, Heruela 0, Lutz 0, Reyes 0, Semerad 0, Tubid 0.
Quarters: 16-14, 52-36, 78-64, 110-84