Nio Caaleta has all the tools to dominate in the PBA. At 66, he has the size to be the perfect stretch forward (i.e. a combo forward) in the PBA. With his handles, shooting, and leaping ability, Caaleta is a more versatile scorer than another comparable stretch Arwind Santos, though, admittedly, Santos is better at the dirty work. Theres a reason, after all, that Santos, one of Caaletas old rivals from the UAAP, is at the very top of the PBAs Player Efficiency ladder.
Still, Caaleta has gone a helluva long way from the unsure and inconsistent slotman he was in college. When he was still playing for the UE Red Warriors, he found it difficult getting overshadowed by the likes of FEUs Santos and Mark Isip, Adamsons Ken Bono, and even Ateneos Paolo Bugia and Doug Kramer. He was forced to play center and bang bodies under the boards when he had the skill set of a natural swingman. He was a rare find in local hoops, but he wasnt exactly being maximized.
Now, with a team devoid of the star power prevalent in the PBAs more ballyhooed squads, Caaleta finally has the time of day to really strut his stuff. The 6th overall pick in the 2005 draft currently has the second highest player efficiency rating in Air 21s roster (only Mike Cortez is better). He is averaging a career-high 29 minutes per game, registering, unsurprisingly, his best scoring numbers yet 14.7ppg. Hes also norming nearly 6 rebounds per game for the first time since his sophomore season back in 06-07.
And, get this, those were his numbers BEFORE unloading 41 (yes, FORTY ONE markers) on the hapless Batang Pier to go along with 7 rebounds. With him finally breaking out in the biggest way possible, is Nio Caaleta finally ready to realize his vast potential and rise to the uppermost echelon of stars in the PBA?
Game Recaps: AIR 21 EXPRESS over GLOBAL PORT BATANG PIER, 113-92
KG Canaleta outdueled Gary David in their scoring battle and the athletic swingman towed the Air 21 Express to a 113-92 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-6, slam dunking forward set a new career-high with 41 points. He shot a steady 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, grabbed seven rebounds and came up with a highlight reel play that punctuated his big game against David, last seasons scoring champion.
When I got him (KG), I wanted him to prove himself and be considered as one of the top players in the PBA, said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren. Hes really talented. It was just unfortunate that he played before for teams loaded with star players.
With this game, I hope it would be a springboard for him to play better in the playoffs, added Pumaren, whose team has already matched its total number of victories posted last season when the squad was known as Shopinas.com.
Canaleta set the tone early, scoring 21 points of his total output in the first half, the most scored by any player at the half this season.
With Canaleta catching fire, the Express, too, performed on a high level.
A backbreaking 18-2 run in the third quarter, capped by a jumper from James Sena, turned a close encounter into a rout and gave the Express an 80-59 lead.
The Batang Pier never recovered from there. The team lost its ninth straight game and fell to a 1-12 record.
When we lost the game to Ginebra, everybody was frustrated. Everybody came to practice really determined to bounce back to get ourselves in contention for a playoff spot, said Pumaren.
Good thing theyre out of the race already, but were wary of them and we dont want them to get their momentum because its so hard to play a team when theyre already out. But weve done our job today. We just have to wait depending on Fridays game.
GlobalPort will face San Mig Coffee in its final elimination round schedule on Friday at the MOA Arena.
A21 113- Canaleta 41, Sena 18, Reyes 12, arboleda 8, Omolon 7, Wilson 6, Cortez 5, Ritualo 5, Custodio 4, Isip 4, Andaya 2, Baclao 1, Atkins 0. GLO 92- Al-Hussaini 20, David 16, Manuel 11, Salvador 11, Mandani 8, Guevarra 5, Antonio 5, Yee 4, Miller 4, Lingganay 3, Vanlandingham 3, Vergara 2, Deutchman 0, Crisano 0. QS: 30-31; 60-55; 87-67; 113-92.
ALASKA ACES over PETRON BLAZE BOOSTERS, 79-71
Alaska has built a reputation in the Calvin Abueva era as a defensive, hustling team. Make the Aces the new comeback kids this time as well.
The Aces held the Petron Blaze Boosters to an all-time franchise low six points in the fourth quarter to complete a hard-earned come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Down by 21 points in the closing minute of the third period, the Aces willed themselves to victory behind the efforts of JVee Casio, Abueva and Cyrus Baguio.
Casio and Abueva have recently returned from sick bay.
But neither injuries nor the Boosters could keep these Aces from spurring their team to a huge comeback win.
There were injuries all around, but these guys just willed themselves to victory. I was kind of quiet during the huddle and going through the motions, but guys just dont want to quit, said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
The Boosters were held down to only a single field goal for nearly nine minutes and saw their lead chopped down by repeated Alaska uprisings.
Arwind Santos broke the silence for the Boosters with a jumper, giving his squad a 69-63 lead.
JVee Casio scored on a triple to push the Aces within three, 69-66, but Chris Lutz had a jumper from the right corner.
That was the end of the line for the Boosters, though, who failed to score in the next 2:43 of the match and watched as the Aces scored the next 13 points.
Overall, the Boosters shot a measly 3-of-18 from the field (16.7%).
ALA 79- Baguio 20, Abueva 12, Casio 12, Hontiveros 10, Thoss 8, Espinas 7, Reyes 3, Baracael 3, Eman 2, Dela Cruz 2, Jazul 0, Laure 0, Belasco 0. PET 71- Lassiter 14, Santos 13, Cabagnot 11, Fajardo 10, Yeo 9, Miranda 8, Lutz 4, Ildefonso 2, Washington 0, Pena 0. QS: 19-25, 29-41, 46-65, 79-71.
Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble.)
Fredette breaks Mighty Sports-PH's hearts in Merlion Cup final - 20 hours ago
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Former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) broke the hearts of Mighty Sports-Philippines in the Merlion Cup as he engineered a 78-77 victory for the Shanghai Sharks in the gold medal game of the tournament Sunday night at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Fredette torched Mighty Sports-Philippines with 43 points, and hit three free throws with no time left to lift the Sharks to a come-from-behind victory. Mighty Sports, led by Al Thornton (203-F-83, college: Florida St.) and K... [read more]
Former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) broke the hearts of Mighty Sports-Philippines in the Merlion Cup as he engineered a 78-77 victory for the Shanghai Sharks in the gold medal game of the tournament Sunday night at the OCBC Arena in Singapore. Fredette torched Mighty Sports-Philippines with 43 points, and hit three free throws with no time left to lift the Sharks to a come-from-behind victory. Mighty Sports, led by Al Thornton (203-F-83, college: Florida St.) and Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93), led by as much as 14 points, 69-55, in the fourth quarter before Fredette anchored Shanghai's comeback. Fredette sparked an 18-4 run, and assisted on the three-pointer that tied the game at 73 with still 3:52 left to play. Ravena handed Mighty Sports back the lead when he drained a three-pointer with 3:31 left while also drawing a foul from Fredette. He completed the four-point play to make it 77-73. Fredette cut the lead to two points with a lay-up in transition with 1:21 to go, and Ravena badly misfired on a triple that could have iced the game with still 40 seconds left. Needing to make one stop to seal the championship, Mighty Sports instead fouled Fredette as he was launching a three-pointer at the buzzer. The former Sacramento King coolly made all free throws to secure the victory. "We just wanted to get a good shot off, we wanted to get the last shot," said Fredette after the game. "My teammates did a great job of fighting hard tonight." "I had three (shots) to make two, that's the way I thought about it," he added. "Two puts us in overtime. My mentality was to go in there and that I had to make two." Thornton finished the game with 36 points for Mighty Sports. Courtesy of: abs-cbn.com
PH-Mighty Sports through to Merlion Cup finals after escaping Singapore Slingers - 2 days ago
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Philippines-Mighty Sports pulled off a tough 72-70 semifinal victory over hometown team Singapore Slingers to advance to the Merlion Cup finals on Saturday at the OCBC Arena in the city-state. Dewarick Spencer (193-G-82, college: Arkansas St., agency: Higher Vision Sports) fired 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to pump life into Mighty Sports which, after a strong start, trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Filipino guards Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93) and Joseph Yeo (1... [read more]
Philippines-Mighty Sports pulled off a tough 72-70 semifinal victory over hometown team Singapore Slingers to advance to the Merlion Cup finals on Saturday at the OCBC Arena in the city-state. Dewarick Spencer (193-G-82, college: Arkansas St., agency: Higher Vision Sports) fired 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter to pump life into Mighty Sports which, after a strong start, trailed by nine points in the third quarter. Filipino guards Kiefer Isaac Ravena (181-G/F-93) and Joseph Yeo (183-G-83) also combined for five crucial points down the stretch that gave the Philippine club the lead for good. PH-Mighty Sports will take on the Shanghai Sharks led by former NBA player Fredette Jimmer (188-PG-89, college: BYU) for the title on Sunday in a matchup between the tournament's two unbeaten teams. PH-Mighty Sports started the game on a hot 7-0 run powered by slam dunks from Hamady N'diaye (212-C-87, college: Rutgers).. They finished the first quarter with a 21-15 lead. But the Slingers put the clamps on PH-Mighty Sports, limiting the Filipino club to just 12 points in the second quarter. The Slingers took a 36-33 at the break which they expanded to nine points, 44-35, in the early goings of the third frame. But just as the Slingers were about to pull away, Spencer woke PH-Mighty Sports up. He suddenly waxed hot on the floor, burying three triples and converting tough baskets to score 17 of the team's first 18 points in the third quarter. Yeo then scored a layup to complete the turnaround for PH-Mighty Sports which took a 53-46 lead. But the Slingers made their way back and trimmed their deficit to just two, 56-54, heading into the last quarter. It was a nip-and-tuck affair in the fourth period, with the teams exchanging leads. Big man Justin Howard gave the Slingers a 68-67 lead with just a minute left after shooting a surprise three-pointer off an awkward release. But Ravena countered it with a reverse layup. After a miss by the Slingers, Yeo then pulled up for a triple to push PH-Mighty Sports' lead to four, 72-68, with 36 seconds left. But the Slingers converted two free throws in the next play. Spencer then made a huge blunder in the inbound for a huge turnover that gave the Slingers a chance to take the last shot with just nine ticks left. However, the Slingers' Filipino import Jeff Viernes was called for steps in his drive to the basket, allowing PH-Mighty Sports to escape with the victory. Courtesy of: interaksyon.com
Quarterfinal action from the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup tonight saw sister Meralco and TNT gain separate tickets to the semifinals. Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon): MERALCO BOLTS over MAHINDRA ENFORCER, 105-82 The Meralco Bolts continued their mastery of the Mahindra Enforcer, trouncing the playoff first-timers for the second time in three days, 105-82, to clinch a semifinals berth in the PBA Governors' Cup Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo. Import Allen Durham tallied 24 po... [read more]
Quarterfinal action from the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup tonight saw sister Meralco and TNT gain separate tickets to the semifinals.
Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon):
MERALCO BOLTS over MAHINDRA ENFORCER, 105-82 The Meralco Bolts continued their mastery of the Mahindra Enforcer, trouncing the playoff first-timers for the second time in three days, 105-82, to clinch a semifinals berth in the PBA Governors' Cup Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Import Allen Durham tallied 24 points and 16 rebounds while Chris Newsome added 19 markers to lead the Bolts who rallied from a 15-point deficit to pull off the blowout.
Cliff Hodge scored 14 points and Jared Dillinger 12 markers to help Meralco which just last Wednesday also rallied past Mahindra to seize the twice-to-beat in their playoff for the No.4 spot.
The win was Meralco's third straight over Mahindra which missed out on clinching an outright twice-to-beat after falling to the Bolts in their elimination round duel last September 11.
In the semifinals, Meralco will face the winner of the TNT KaTropa-Phoenix Fuel Master quarterfinal matchup.
James White finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Enforcer who, thanks to a 4-0 start, were able to appear in their first quarterfinals appearance in franchise history.
Lines of the Game: Allen Durham (MER) - 24pts, 16rebs, 6asts, 1blk, 3 triples, 7/14 FGs. James White (MAH) - 20pts, 10rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk.
TNT KA TROPA over PHOENIX FUEL MASTERS, 136-124 Superstar guard Jayson Castro exploded for 42 points as he carried TNT KaTropa to the semifinals with a 136-124 win over the gutsy Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Governors' Cup playoffs Saturday at Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Castro converted 14 out of 26 shots, made five out of 11 triples and sank nine out of 12 free throws. He also grabbed four rebounds and three assists-all in just 27 minutes of play.
The result booked TNT a semifinals date with sister team Meralco Bolts and completed the final four cast that will also see San Miguel and Ginebra battling in the other side of the bracket.
Castro was simply unstoppable on the floor, finishing daredevil drives to the basket and pulling up for jumpers when defenders fell asleep. He already had 29 points after the first two quarters.
Michael Madanly also had 17 points, while Ranidel De Ocampo and Ryan Reyes chipped in 16 apiece. Larry Fonacier had 13 and Kelly Williams contributed 12.
Eugene Phelps finished the game with 39 points and 17 boards for Phoenix.
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