The key match-up in last nights main game between the San Mig Coffee Mixers and the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters was between two of the sweetest shooting players this side of the basketball world James Yap and Jeff Chan. Chan pretty much outplayed Yap the whole game, but Yap ended up with the last laugh as the Mixers pulled out a 1-point win after a frantic finish that saw the referees review at least two calls in the last minute alone.
This got me thinking about the best shooting guards in the local pro game today. Sure, Yap and Chan are two of the most easily recognizable names when it comes to PBA shooters, but who are the other notable off-guards out there? Effective shooting guards need not be smooth-as-silk snipers, of course. They can be great lock-down defenders or agile penetrators, too.
Lets look at some of the PBAs best shooting guards NOT named James Yap and Jeff Chan.
Willie Miller (BAR) 17.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 6.2apg, 40.4 3pt%, 37.06 EFF The Olongapo native is all of 35 years old, but hes still one of the best and wiliest guards out there. He actually has the second-best EFF rating overall, right behind Petrons Arwind Santos (41.73 EFF).
Sol Mercado (MER) 19.8ppg, 6.6apg, 1.1spg, 35.1 3pt%, 35.87 EFF The one-time Gilas starting guard continues to weave his way past defenders and make a beeline to the hole for the Bolts. He currently leads the league in BOTH scoring and assists.
Cyrus Baguio (ALA) 15.8ppg, 4.2rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1bpg, 37.5 3pt%, 33.29 EFF The former Growling Tiger and Iligan City native is currently having his best season in an Alaska uniform. He still jumps way high, but he doesn't just use his hops for aerial acrobatics. Baguio has also been swatting shots quite well this season as hes currently the fourth-best shot-blocker in the league.
Mark Caguioa (GIN) 18.5ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0spg, 32.60 EFF Caguioa is enjoying his best season since 2008, though a quick glance at his stat-line reveals that, unlike the three guys above him on this list, The Spark is pretty much a one-sided player. His 28.3% 3pt shooting is also a personal-worst since the 2009-2010 season.
Mac Cardona (MER) 13.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 2.6apg, 47.9 FG%, 36.4 3pt%, 29.74 EFF Mercados backcourt mate makes his way on this list by virtue of his outstanding efficiency on the offensive end. His field goal percentage should belong to a big man, while his 3pt shooting is a clear improvement over last seasons 28.6% accuracy. If theres a chink in Captain Hooks armor, however, its his FT shooting he makes under 64% of his charity attempts.
*This list was limited to those listed as SHOOTING GUARDS according to PBA-Online.net. Chris Lutz, who had a pretty high EFF rating was listed as a FORWARD.
Game Recaps: BARAKO BULL ENERGY COLAS over BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS, 83-79
Barako Bull held off a late charge by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to come away with an 83-79 victory Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The win comes at a crucial time for Barako Bull, which snapped a four-game losing streak to move into a tie with idle Air 21 for the final quarterfinal spot with identical 4-9 records. The Energy Colas did it at the expense of what had been the hottest team in the tournament, as Ginebra had won five straight matches coming into the game.
Siguro dahil sa napakagandang laro ng Ginebra last time, the tendency is to go down. But without taking away the effort of the players, we really played a hell of a defense. Ngayon pa lang gumagana yung defense na gusto naming mangyari, which we tried to adopt ever since my good friend coach Junel Baculi was coaching the team, said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, who won his first PBA game since returning to the helm of the squad.
Our defense was there even during our game against Meralco where we limited Sol Mercado, the No.1 scorer in the league as well as Mark Cardona and Ronjay Buenafe. Sadly, nakalusot lang yung mga role players nila, like Kelly Nabong.
Barako Bull led for most of the first half, before Ginebra opened with a hot third quarter to briefly take the lead, 39-38, on a Rico Maierhofer layup. But the Energy Colas ended the period with a 13-7 run to take a 52-45 advantage heading into the final period.
The rampage continued for Barako Bull in the fourth quarter, pushing the lead to 11 points, 58-47, on a Ronald Tubid three-pointer. Mark Caguioa scored four points in a quick 6-2 Ginebra run, before Barako Bull rattled off a 10-2 blast to take its biggest lead, 70-55.
There was plenty of fight left in Ginebra, which rallied with Caguioa on the bench once more to cut the Barako advantage to just five points, 76-71. But Roger Yap, who scored 14 points and handed out five assists, hit a crucial three-pointer with less than a minute left to push the lead out of reach, 79-71.
Ronald Tubid scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures for Barako Bull, while Leo Najorda had 12 of his 14 points in the second half.
Ginebras win-loss record dropped to 7-6 into a three-way tie for fourth to sixth places with Alaska and Meralco.
SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS over RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS, 93-92
The San Mig Coffee Mixers tightened its grip on second place in the Philippine ciup standings, but not before surviving a scare from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 93-92, Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
It was the ninth win in 12 games for the Mixers, who had to make two crucial defensive stops in the last nine seconds to come away with the victory.
San Mig Coffee squandered a double-digit fourth quarter lead against Rain or Shine, which also rallied from a big deficit to win in the two teams first meeting.
The Mixers were still up four points, 93-89, with 11.5 seconds when Marc Pingris fouled Jeff Chan from beyond the arc. The Rain or Shine sharpshooter made all three of his free throws, before the Elasto Painters forced a turnover on Peter June Simon, the games top scorer with 24 points.
We didnt play smart in the endgame. We fouled on a three-point shot attempt, which is not a smart thing to do, said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone, who paid tribute to his counterpart Yeng Guiao after the match.
I was in a quandary in the last nine seconds. Coach Yeng Guiao made a smart move, calling two 20 seconds timeouts. I had to decide whether I have to make a timeout or not, If I do, then I wouldnt have a timeout to call in our next play, so I inserted our defensive unit in there.
Simons turnover gave the Elasto Painters two final chances to win the game, but Pingris foiled an attempt by Chan before Rafi Reavis forced Beau Belga into a miss.
Joe Devance added 20 points for San Mig Coffee, making up for the poor performance of top gun James Yap. The two-time Most Valuable Player scored just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field and was miserable from the free throw line (3-of-7). But he had one crucial play down the stretch, intercepting the pass of rookie Chris Tiu, and converting on a lay up that gave San Mig Coffee a 92-86 lead inside the final two minutes.
With the win, San Mig Coffee moved a game and a half clear of Rain or Shine for second place, which comes with it a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. The Elasto Painters win-loss record dropped to 8-5.
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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