Phoenix is a Different Team- Yeng Guiao

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

NLEX coach stays wary of the Fuel Masters ahead of their encounter

The Phoenix Fuel Masters have come a long way from the way they debuted back in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup. Even though they lost their first game under their new coach, Louie Alas to open the 2017 Philippine Cup, the Fuel Masters bounced back against the still winless, Kia Picanto as the former exploded for 125 points. That’s why one particular coach in the PBA remains wary of what this Phoenix team can do. That coach is none other than Yeng Guiao whose NLEX Road Warriors are scheduled to open 2018 with an encounter against the team who beat them during the pre-season.
And Yeng Guiao has all the reasons to worry about the Phoenix Fuel Masters. After all, it was Phoenix who handed Guiao his first ever defeat in his coaching stint with NLEX although the Road Warriors took the next two encounters. And aside from having a new coach in Alas, the Fuel Masters have a drastically different roster compared to what they had before.
Yeng Guiao took notice that Phoenix has a healthy Matthew Wright and of course, one of his former players in Jeff Chan who played under Guiao during his stint with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. But more importantly, the occasionally hot-headed coach also noted that the Fuel Masters are now bannered by one of the promising rookies in the 2017 draft: Jason Perkins.
Aside from the key players and the new coach of Phoenix, Yeng Guiao has other things to worry about with regards to their first game of the year. The coach is worried that the holiday break took some of the sharpness from the Road Warriors which enabled Kiefer Ravena and company to win the first two games of the new season.


Fortunately for the Road Warriors, Yeng Guiao is someone who always gets what he wants from his players. If he demands 110% focus on the game at hand, he will definitely get it. Why? Who would enjoy being yelled at by Yeng Guiao aside from being benched? Unfortunately for the Fuel Masters, they have no one to stop Kiefer Ravena.
Prediction: NLEX will win.

The Phenom Bags First Player of the Week Award

(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

His numbers speak for himself.

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


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

A Wheeler’s Opinion: "Wired" PBA Referees Will Work. And Not

This initiative from Commissioner Chito Narvasa can discourage rants. But…

TNT Coach Nash Racela and other coaches who hate the calls of the referees should consider themselves warned. 

In any game of basketball at any given league, trash-talking between players of opposing teams and, coaches against the officials, is basically a normal thing especially in heated games like do-or-die situations. While trash-talking your opponents is one tactic being employed by players like Calvin Abueva or even Kevin Ferrer to distract the opposing team’s best scorer, there are multiple occasions when too much trash-talking and other Abueva-like antics, escalate into more serious scenarios like the recent one when Glen Rice Jr. pushed down Kevin Ferrer and almost hit the latter’s face with the ball. The result of the fiasco was: the import of Talk N Text KaTropa was ejected and the KaTropa lost their semifinal series against the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. Furthermore, Rice Jr. was fined by his own team after what the team thought was a breach of the contract.
We all know that referees are always prone to receive insults from players and coaches and yes, they are still human beings who commit mistakes when making the calls during games. 
While there hasn’t any known incident, at least in the PBA during the past years when referees were physically assaulted like the most recent in the NBA when Stephen Curry threw his mouthpiece towards a game official, there were multiple when coaches, most especially the fiercest ones, would engage themselves in a heated exchange of words with the referees, even chasing the latter to the other side of the court. While technical fouls and ejections can be thrown upon the coaches, some coaches wouldn’t stop themselves from doing so especially when the game is on the line, right, Nash Racela?
To at least, lessen the rants that referees receive on regular basis, our good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa has announced that the PBA is planning to weaponize PBA referees with lapel microphones which the PBA can use in case it needs to review certain conversation between players or coaches with the referees.
Now, if this plan pushes through, the PBA will now have the technology to pinpoint if any of the player or coach uses foul language against the referees to assess the appropriate penalties deemed necessary to the actions of the person involved. While this is a good plan because the referees nowadays are the subject of the hatred of some fans, this plan of our good PBA commissioner can be looked at two ways:

It will Discourage Unnecessary Rants

With the PBA having the ways to track down referee haters whether it’s a player or a head coach of a powerhouse team, some coaches and players will want to think twice before unleashing their inner tiger towards the refs especially when calls aren’t going their ways. 
Aside from possible technical fouls and ejections that the referees themselves can assess, the PBA can review the conversation between involved parties and if the PBA finds it necessary, they can ask the involved player or coach to pay certain amounts as a fine for their unnecessary actions or worse, they can suspend anyone. Either way, it can hurt anyone’s pocket given the fact that the PBA, if you have been watching the league this season alone, has been assessing tons of fines to players to discipline them. 

Nope. It will Not Stop the Hatred Towards Ugly Calls

One has to accept the fact that even with the presence of the lapel microphones on referees, if coaches and players see an ugly call from the refs from the former’s perspective, the lapel microphones won’t stop the mind and the mouths- not to mention, the impending fines and other penalties, from throwing those tantrums.
Sure, the lapel microphones are good tools for reviewing conversations but they will not totally erase the problem of rants from coaches and players. 


The good PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa will only do what he thinks will be for the good of the PBA and if he thinks weaponizing referees with reviewable lapel microphones will limit the usage of foul language because first and foremost, thousands of children are watching the PBA, too and seeing players and coaches who occasionally use foul language against referees is not good for these kids- then the PBA should push through. But again, that won’t stop the likes of Yeng Guiao from bashing the refs, either.