Yes, the big man whos making most PBA headlines these days is top rookie draft pick June Mar Fajardo.
And, to be honest, deservingly so. The 22-year old former CESAFI behemoth is doing pretty well, averaging 9.3ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.7bpg, and 1.3spg for the Petron Blaze Boosters. Those wont really make him the best center in the land, but, given his youth, those numbers are quite impressive.
Right now, however, the guy who can lay a legitimate claim to be the best center, at least based on statistics, is none other than the big guy against whom June Mar played yesterday Yancy De Ocampo.
Yancy, himself a former #1 overall pick (back in 2002), seems to have newfound motivation as Fajardo, touted as someone destined to be the most dominant big man in the near future, enters the league. Yancy once held that label, back when he was dominating the collegiate circuit with the St. Francis of Assisi Doves.
When he entered the PBA 10 years ago, however, things didnt exactly pan out the way he envisioned them to. In his first season with the FedEx Express, Yancy played 21 minutes per game, averaging just under 7ppg, about 5.6 rpg, and only 0.6bpg. So much for the next big thing in the PBA.
Now he sees another guy in the same boat, and, consequently, Yancy probably feels that he has something to prove. Somewhere deep inside, he probably wants to show the nation that his time is not yet done. Instead, its still to come.
In two games so far for the San Mig Coffee Mixers, Yancy has averaged 33 minutes, and has put up career-high numbers. Hes norming 18.0ppg, 10.0rpg, 4.0apg, and 2.0bpg. He currently sits atop the league in terms of player efficiency, and he is also the leader in statistical points.
Clearly, while everyones eyes are focused on June Mar, Yancy is lurking in the periphery, ready to show everyone that he still has a lot to show.
Game Recaps: ALASKA ACES over BARAKO BULL ENERGY, 102-86
Alaska banked on a third quarter explosion to stun Barako Bull, 102-86, for its first win in the 2013 PBA Philippine Cup Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
JVee Casio, Cyrus Baguio, and Mac Baracael carried the scoring load for the ailing Aces to snap a two-game losing streak and hand the Energy Cola their second straight loss.
Casio, who suffered a cut on the head after a collision with teammate Sam Eman in the fourth quarter, hit a game-high 24 points, including 12 in the pivotal third period, while Baguio and Baracael contributed 23 and 21 respectively.
Tony dela Cruz added 10 points for coach Luigi Trillo, who tasted his first all-Filipino win. Sonny Thoss, who played despite LBM, contributed four blocks in 30 minutes.
We were punished in our first two games because we havent been playing good defense, said Trillo, whose team played minus Gabby Espinas who was hospitalized.
We brought energy to this game and its a joy to see them scratch and claw.
Trailing 62-52 with eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Aces unloaded a momentum-shifting 29-3 blast behind Casio and Baguio to end the period with an 81-65 lead.
But the Energy Colas threatened to within one point, 85-84, after Enrico Villanueva completed a three-point play with 5:46 left in the game.
But Baracael completed his own three-point play off Mick Pennisi and banged in a three-pointer to give Alaska a 91-84 cushion with 3:32 remaining.
After a split by Villaneuva, Baguio hit a three-pointer and Dela Cruz sealed the win with a pair of free throws push Alaskas lead back to 11 points, 96-85, with 2:40 left.
Barako Bull could not get closer to absorb its second straight defeat after beating Air 21 in its opening game.
Marami pa kaming kakainin. The other teams are super talented. We got some pieces, but overall, you want to come in and bring in the hard work, said Trillo, who is still waiting for the entry of San Sebastians Calvin Abueva, the Aces No. 2 overall pick. Abueva is still finishing his commitment with the Stags in the NCAA.
Villanueva led Barako Bull with 22 points and 17 rebounds while Ronald Tubid added 16 points.
ALA 102- Casio 24, Baguio 23, Baracael 21, Dela Cruz 10, Eman 9, Jazul 6, Reyes 5, Laure 2, Hontiveros 2, Bugia 0, Thoss 0, Belasco 0 BAR 86- Villanueva 22, Tubid 16, Urbiztondo 14, Pennisi 14, Anthony 10, Najorda 9, Yap 1, Marcelo 0, Alvarez 0, Kramer 0, Cruz 0 QS: 21-25, 48-48, 81-65, 102-86
SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS over PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS, 90-84
In a game where top rookie pick June Mar Fajardo showed his big presence, San Mig Coffee came away with even bigger shots.
The Coffee Mixers leaned on clutch baskets from Jonas Villanueva and Peter June Simon in the closing minute and escaped with a 90-84 win over Petron Blaze in the 2013 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
After controlling majority of the game, San Mig Coffee had to weather a Fajardo-led rally and needed a couple of stops to secure its second straight win, which put it in a tie with Talk N Text for the early lead in the standings.
James Yap finished with a team-high 18 points, and added six rebounds and four assists. Simon added 17 points, including a huge three-pointer that widened the Mixers lead to 87-80 with 1:31 remaining.
After Arwind Santos and Joseph Yeo pushed Petron to within three points, 87-84, Rafi Reavis sank one of two free throws and Yap sealed the win with a lay-up.
The win spoiled Fajardos impressive game as the Cebuano giant tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds in 30 solid minutes.
Everybody got a glimpse of what he can do, said Mixers coach Tim Cone. Hes battling our big guys well and his energy brought his team back.
We shouldnt let that game get close but thats really a good team. No doubt, that teams gonna get better.
Mixers veteran center Yancy de Ocampo chipped in 14 points, mostly on jump shots over Fajardo early in the game while Villanueva had 10.
The Boosters, whose win-loss record dropped to 1-2, threatened several times in the fourth period, but San Mig Coffee managed to hit the needed baskets to stay out of danger.
Santos paced Petron with 18 points while Alex Mallari and Chris Lutz tallied 13 apiece for coach Olsen Racela.
SMC 90- Yap 18, Simon 17, De Ocampo 14, Villanueva 10, Barroca 9, Pingris 7, Devance 5, Reavis 5, Gonzales 3, Ramos 2 PET 84- Santos 18, Fajardo 16, Mallari 13, Lutz 13, Yeo 10, Washington 9, Cabagnot 3, Pena 2, Duncil 0, Miranda 0, Ildefonso 0 QS: 24-21, 49-35, 70-57, 90-84
Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble.)
Blatche Andray 211-F/C-86 Xinjiang FT Jayson Castro William 180-PG-86 Talk N Text Gabe Norwood 196-G/F-85 Rain or Shine June Mar Fajardo 210-C-89 San Miguel Beermen Japeth Aguilar 206-C-85 Barangay Ginebra Ranidel deOcampo 197-F-81 Talk N Text Terrence Bill Romeo 180-PG-92&... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul. The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition. Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expe... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul.
The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition.
Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expected to hear his name in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft, returned to Turkey and scored 5 points. Andray Blatche had 23 points for the losing side and Jayson Williams added 15 points.
ITALY over PHILIPPINES, 106-70 Italy got an easy win over Philippines in the first day of the preparation tournament in Bologna. The final score was 106-70 for the hosts and it was flattering for the guests who were trailing 62-15 before the half time.
The first 20 minutes of action ended with a 41 points advantage for Italy (64-23) which got 20 points by Danilo Gallinari in 15 minutes of action, 14 points by Pietro Aradori who came from the bench and 11 by Marco Bellineli.
Philippines was outplayed in every possible way and Andray Blatche with 21 points was as usual the only brightspot for them.
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory. Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its... [read more]
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory.
Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its tip-off on July 15.
Asian imports will also be featured in this conference led by the returning Michel Madanly (194-G-81) for the Texters. Phoenix had tapped the services of 6-foot-3 Korean Lee Kwan Hee to bolster its guard-forward rotation.
Here are the complete lineup of reinforcements for all contending teams:
Aris Ignacio is from the Philippines and has always been a big fan of Philippine basketball. Aris' follows the Philippine Basketball Association since the late 80's and has learned the history and personalities of the PBA. He also has interest with other basketball tournaments in the Philippines and beyond most specifically college basketball (UAAP, NCAA), the Asian Basketball League (ABL), FIBA Asia and World Cup tournaments. Follow Aris Ignacio on Twitter at aris_ignacio.
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