ROS 101 – Cruz 18, Belga 14, Norwood 13, Almazan 13, Tolomia 11, Ahanmisi 10, Washington 9, Ponferada 6, Chan 5, Tiu 2, Matias 0, Trollano 0
TNT 87 – De Ocampo 24, Rosario 16, Pogoy 9, Fonacier 9, Rosser 8, Reyes 7, Williams 6, Tautuaa 4, Carey 2, Nuyles 2, Rosales 0, Seigle 0
Quarterscores: 20-12, 42-35, 66-57, 101-87
TNT 101 – Castro 19, Little 18, Madanly 17, Tautuaa 14, De Ocampo 11, Seigle 9, Reyes R. 7, Carey 3, Rosales 3, Ababou 0, Fonacier 0
ROS 98 – Lowhorn 20, Quinahan 16, Lee 13, Cruz 12, Almazan 11, Ahanmisi 9, Trollano 9, Belga 4, Chan 2, Norwood 2, Ponferada 0
Best Player: Jayson Castro (19pts)
Photos by: Aldrin Alejo
|(c) Aldrin Alejo|
Jason Castro leads the TNT Katropa to their 1st win this reinforced conference together with their Import Mario Little who debuted with 18 pts, 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal as they survived their first in the PBA 3rd conference.
Castro listed a total of 19 points while their Asian import contributed with 17 points, 3 rebounds, one assist and one steal.
ROS, almost had the chance to tie or win the game during the last 2.5 seconds on the clock when Castro was called for a deliberate foul on Gabe Norwood. But Gabe missed his 2 freethrows which caused them the loss. Rain or shine was down by as much as 15 points (16-31) when they fought their way back and actually grabbed the lead at 64-63 with the help of Jeff Chan and Paul Lee.
Rain or Shine lead with as much as 14 points during the first part of the 4th quarter but eventually losing the tempo as the TNT Katropa surged for an 11-0 run to get their first win at 101-98.
A long break always brings out hopes and unrestrained optimism from the fans, players, coaches and management. In a few days, the final conference of the 2016 PBA season will begin and those hopes and aspirations will diminish for a lot of teams.
Only few of those expectations will be reached and fulfilled during the conference. Before we go to that agonizing process, let us run down the biggest question that hangs on each team.
Alaska Aces – what was the effect of the Gilas cut to Calvin Abueva?
I think the whole PBA universe will watch Calvin this conference. They want to see his response on the controversial Gilas cut. They want to see him proved to coach Tab that he should have been there. But, it can also go the other way. That can lead him to be wilder that will result to more mistakes and fouls
Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel – Who can they trust to get the minutes of Slaughter during his absence?
Every game is important in an 11-games elimination round. Remember, only eight teams will survived the elimination round and the 5th to 8th will have twice-to-beat disadvantage. With the early exit of Gilas and with little playing time there, I expect Japeth to play right away and hold the center position.
Now, the PF position will be interesting. I think Joe Devance will be the frontrunner to take it but Dave Marcelo and a small line-up with Paul Harris getting the PF spot are interesting options too.
Blackwater Elite – Will Carlo Lastimosa and Roi Sumang fit beside each other?
I am pretty sure that one of the vision of the Elite is Sumang and Lastimosa playing well together and creating one of the best scoring backcourt in the league. Both need to improved their defense and playmaking to be a better player and a better fit to each other.
Globalport Batang Pier – How to divide the minutes to their loaded backcourt rotation?
Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle, Karl Dehesa, Joseph Yeo and now Omar Krayem, that is the depth of the backcourt of Globalport! Unfortunately, they only have 96 minutes to divide between those five. Maybe Coach Franz will try to play a super small line-up by giving minutes to Dehesa or Yeo or Krayem in the 3. That is possible, but will it work?
Mahindra Enforcers – Can Canaleta and Ramos proved that their performance last conference were not flukes?
Nino Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos risen and exhibited last conference that they can be the main players with their 14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 42.2% 3FG and 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 41.7% 3FG, respectively. Now, the jury is still out for the two of them. Can they do it again?
Meralco Bolts – Who will get more minutes, Amer or Alapag?
The Bolts is in a very weird situation. They want to develop their young players and contend in the same time. That is not the easiest path to take but they managed to reached semis, last conference, and still give Baser 17.8 minutes a game. Will coach Norman give the bigger chunk to Jimmy once again, or will he commit more on giving experience to Baser?
NLEX Road Warriors – is Garvo Lanete an elite shooter?
He finally got the minutes last conference and he did well enough to merit those minutes again this conference. It is very clear that Coach Boyet wants him to be their catch and shoot sniper and his 33.7% efficiency last conference is very promising. If he can put up a better mark, I am pretty sure their opponent will start to respect him.
Phoenix Fuel Masters – Who will they trade next?
Phoenix is on a total rebuild of the franchise. JC Intal and Willy Wilson still reminds the people about the Barako franchise so I expect them to be traded soon. Will they go together or one of them will be dealt much earlier?
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters – Will Dior Lowhorn be a good fit?
Dior will bring the same body type as Pierre Henderson-Niles and more scoring punch to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. The history of Coach Yeng has taught us that the fit to his team is more important than the talent of an import. Will Rain or Shine benefits with the superb scoring ability of Dior, or will it hurt the team?
San Miguel Beermen – Can Arwind keeps up with his younger elite teammates?
We have been spoiled by the durability of Santos in his whole career that we forget that he is already 35. In short, he is not already on his prime and it will only be a matter of time before father time forced him to be part of bench. Will it happen this conference?
Star Hotshots – Can James Yap complete a kind-of renaissance season?
James Yap is averaging more points this season than the last two seasons. He is contributing 13.3 points in 37.4% FG and 3.4 rebounds per game this season. Last conference, he was already getting his rhythm but he was hit by an injury. Can he pushed his scoring average to 14, one last time?
TNT Tropang Texters – Is Moala Tautuaa the real deal?
I was one of those who salivated to see him play in the PBA. Unfortunately, the depth of the frontline of TNT and his fit to the team has forced him to take time to learn how to play with TNT and in the PBA. 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 53.3% FG will not be acceptable for a 27 years old #1 pick.
With the trades, the Gilas commitments, the imports and the break, I expect some players to breakout and grab attention and respect in the upcoming Governors’ Cup.
Here are the five best candidates.
#5 Kris Rosales
I actually forgot about him when I was doing my article about the rotation of TNT. Nevertheless, I think Coach Jhong is high with him so I expect him to get enough opportunity to show his worth. Castro and Reyes will not be there for their first few games so he can even start.
#4 Yousef Taha
He was recently acquired by Globalport and if he works hard, he has the tools to prove to coach Franz that he deserves to have more minutes than Doug Kramer and Jay Washington in their frontline. He is only 27, turning 28 on Friday, and his 3.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.7 assist in 12.6 minutes per game looks pretty good.
#3 Roi Sumang
Roi will debut for Blackwater Elite in the upcoming Governors’ Cup and with the way he was used on their tune-up games, I think he will get ample opportunity to proved himself. I think they want to build their backcourt around Sumang and Lastimosa so let us see if two scoring guards can work smoothly.
#2 Moala Tautuaa
He was already the anointed man this season. Everyone was not satisfied with his 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 53.3 FG% in his first two conference in the league but he can erased all the doubts with a monstrous conference. In 36 minutes of play, I can see him producing 20 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Can he do it? Let us find out.
#1 Earl Scottie Thompson
This is early than what I expected but nevertheless, I am a big believer of Thompson and I expect him to start and never look back. Although, there is still the possibility that the early return of LA Tenorio can push back Coach Tim’s plan, at least Coach Tim is already confident with him. I am pretty sure he will play more than 15 minutes this conference so let us see if he can show us enough to warrant the starting spot.
Maika Usita a 2013 draftee of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, who somehow haven’t had the chance to sign with the squad is now back on the court and proving he’s worth a spot in the league. We have seen him in some practices of Ginebra as one of the practice players and Ginebra Fans are asking if he is already part of the roster. Well, this interview with him will clear the smoke and will make us see a better picture of what really happened.
In an interview with Maika, we asked him a few questions like , how can he describe the experience of being one of the drafted players of Ginebra and how the fans welcomed him.
Maika said, ” A very warm welcome!!!, Many messages of excitement and followers/friend requests. All of it was positive turned into motivation actually.” him talking about the reception of the ginebra fans after the draft. “See I lacked of basketball skills and the fans actually kept me motivated since (2013) knowing that I’m still an amateur in this sport with much to learn, the fans kept me herein the Philippines and motivated me to learn the game quickly because I surely did not want to let them down. diba?”
“If it weren’t for the fans of Ginebra or Ginebra drafting me, I would have gone back to Hawaii and quit basketball I promise you that, lol.”
Maika Usita talks about the way the Ginebra fans kept him playing ball and continue to improve and we also asked him if he’s already part of the Ginebra Squad this coming conference and his thoughts on the fans’ expectations that he will soon play for the league’s crowd favorite.
” Yes it was me, 🙂 but man I wish It was true! I was attending practice to tryout (with ginebra). Unfortunately after a week of practice I found my way to TNT. How?, I was invited to TNT so I thought “I”, deserve a chance to give myself another opportunity to show myself to other teams.”
TNT has no legit big man at the moment and that maybe is the reason why they tapped Maika to be one of their frontliners soon. “So I’ve been at TNT practice and now it’s been 2 weeks almost 3.”
Given the size and strength and the skill set of this player, he truly deserves a spot in the country’s biggest basketball league. With the time he spends in getting better and proving himself to every team he’s been practicing with, we will not be surprised if this 6’9″ guy will soon be in the PBA’s hardcourt.
With overflowing gratitude, Maika also wanted to thank all the Ginebra Fans and his supporters who are always there to support and motivate him.
“To the fans, Mahalos (Hawaiian word which means thanks or gratitude), Salamat and thank you all the Ginebra Fans for motivating me since 2013 till today to become the player they want and wish to be so I could one day officially make the team and help reclaim the throne and win another championship! Im still learning the game and working hard at my craft to do so for any team that wants my help.”
“If it’s anything I learned from this experience especially with the fans and not being on the Gin team is the NSD, never say die attitude”
The PBA hopeful wanted to thank the whole Ginebra Community for making him adapt the never say die attitude which made him continue to try his luck in fulfilling his dreams to be one of the PBA players soon.
“Cause I almost went home in 2013 and gave up on my basketball and somehow I’m still here after 5 years trying to play in the PBA. And the fans kept me motivated, something not a lot of people could say or do. I know my family back home misses me and wonder why Im still out here after so long. I missed a lot of life back home with my Ohana (Family) but I got unfinished business here and I know all of this will pay off and they will understand that I want to play basketball while I still have a chance.”
“This is the first time I finally felt like a real basketball player. Gotta keep on keeping on. Never Say Die.” He added.
Well, in this world of professional basketball, we rarely see players like Maika who got the size and skills to fit in to the physicality of the PBA, and he’s one of the players to look out for especially if a team needs some frontline support or toughness. It is no doubt that Maika Usita will soon find his home team to represent and still display that never say die attitude which he acquired from the first team who made him believe that giving up is not an option.
For every Yin, there is a Yang, for every White American, there is a Black American, for every Mythical Teams, there are five players who played really bad. This is life, for every good thing, there is a bad thing.
Just like in a basketball league, like the PBA, there are players who need to be recognize because of their bad performances, not to shame them but to challenge them to take their name out of the award in the next conference.
Basically, the award’s name should be enough to explain each award.
A small improvement from Reil Cervantes has pushed him out of the award and handed it to JC Intal. The Rocket shot 37.4% in the field and 27.1% from beyond the arc. Intal was never an efficient scorer but this kind of numbers are always unacceptable for a so-called scorer.
There are other solid candidates for this plum like Mac Baracael but Joe Devance continue to be the one that make me wonder if Ginebra is already regretting trading for him. One of the guy that they gave for him, Dorian Pena, is badly needed now with the injury of Greg Slaughter. 6.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 38.4% FG, 27.1% 3FG will not cut it.
The Bust – Moala Tautuaa
The sooner you are called in the draft, the higher will be the expectations about you. And last year, Moala Tautuaa brought the most hype and expectation to the league. So, don’t you dare ask me if his 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists is enough for him to warrant his top selection.
Aren’t You Tall? – Japeth Aguilar
Without Greg Slaughter, Ginebra should really worry about the rebounding department because Japeth’s number is ludicrous! At 6’9 and with an out-of-this-world athleticism, Japeth only posted 7.2 rebounds per game in the first two conferences and only 8.42 if you convert it to 36 minutes of play.
A fellow Ginebra player will unseat Ellis from this award. Mark Caguioa was the consistent starting shooting guard of Ginebra, unfortunately his numbers was also consistently bad. He averaged 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 12.5% 3FG. His Offensive Rating is only 81.4 and his Player Efficiency Rating is 8.4 below from the average.
Iva Johnson the fiery import of TNT could not control his emotions and threw profanities towards Commisioner Narvasa after his ejection from TNT’s game against Meralco last Saturday that resulted to a lifetime ban and 250,00 0 fine.
Fast Forward today, Ivan Johnson already appologized to Narvasa and asked for forgiveness. Narvasa on the other hand gave a little glimmer of hope for the Import and said he will make the final decision today.
For the people that are quick to judge and those who have been calling for the commisioners resignation, you have to understand that decisions are not soley his as he defintly consults the board of members and management of the PBA.
What do you think will be the decision of the PBA?
What do you think should be the decision of the PBA?