The way things are going, itll be pretty foolish to pick any team NOT named Talk N Text to romp through the competition and lift the Philippine Cup trophy. The Texters lost just two games in the elims, and they are one of only two teams with 3 or more players in the Top 15 of the Player Efficiency ladder (the other team is Alaska). And none of those players is even Jimmy Alapag.
Their opponents in the quarterfinals are the Air 21 Express, who lumbered into the Final 8 after beating the Batang Pier last Wednesday and after the Energy Colas lost to Rain or Shine two days later. Nio Caaleta exploded for 40 points in the Expresss win over Global Port, and coach Franz Pumaren will need him to be just as sharp against the deep roster of coach Norman Black.
In the next bracket, the 4-5 match-up pits the Meralco Bolts against the Alaska Aces, with both teams carrying identical 8-6 slates. They split their season series, with the average winning margin standing at just 5 points. With arguably the two top rookies (Meralcos Cliff Hodge versus Alaskas Calvin Abueva) going head-to-head, this should be one of the most exciting series to watch. Both teams are entering the Playoffs on winning streaks, but I think the Bolts should have a bit of an edge after beating the Mixers. This should be fun, and it should go the distance.
The other best-of-three series will pit Rain or Shine against Ginebra. Ginebra has the edge in depth, but RoS has more grit. One interesting thing here is the chemistry between Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio. Their combination hasnt performed as strongly as, in theory, it should, but that may change when the stakes get higher. Right now, the Painters arent exactly doing well, too. They lost to the Kings and the Mixers before romping over the lowly Colas. Like the previous match-up, this, too, should go all the way to a third game. Im picking the Caguioa-Tenorio combo to finally kick into high gear and the Kings to move on.
Whoever moves on in that match-up will have a tough time in the semis, since theyre bound to face either the Mixers or the Boosters. In their only match-up in the elims, the Mixers practically dominated the Boosters until Petron made a rally in the fourth period. June Mar Fajardo put up a huge double-double, but his effort was pretty much negated by the great game of Yance De Ocampo. That will be a key match-up here along with those of Arwind Santos against Marc Pingris and the duo of Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter, who didnt play in the first meeting, versus San Migs James Yap and PJ Simon. I think the Mixers are going to be a little too tough for Petron, even if Im expecting Santos to have another big game. The Mixers need only one game to advance.
Game Recaps: RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over BARAKO BULL ENERGY COLAS, 116-101
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao was caught in heavy Friday traffic, failing to make it in time for the start of the Elasto Painters match against Barako Bull at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
But Guiao had specific instructions for chief deputy Caloy Garcia starting the game with seldom-used Jonathan Uyloan before bringing in the returning Paul Lee at the six minute mark in the first quarter and the tactical moves worked to perfection in an easy 116-101 victory.
Uyloan played the game of his career, finishing with 18 points, three steals, and two blocks, while Lee played as if he hadnt missed Rain or Shines past 18 games dating back to last season, contributing 16 points, six assists, and four rebounds.
They led six players who scored in double-figures as Rain or Shine finished the elimination round with a 9-5 record.
Unexpected naming ma-le-late si Coach Yeng, but when he called up, we thought na baka hindi na siya umabot, said Caloy Garcia, who took over the reins of the squad. His first instruction when he called up is to field in Paul Lee after six minutes, then have Jonathan starting for us.
The nice thing about this win was everybody stepped up.
Jervy Cruz also scored a career-high 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.
Jeff Chan and JR Quinahan each had 11 points while Beau Belga chipped in 10 for the Elasto Painters.
The loss eliminated Barako Bull (4-10) from playoff contention, giving the Air 21 Express (5-9) the last ticket to the quarterfinals.
SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS over GLOBAL PORT BATANG PIER, 107-96
Needing to win one win to secure the twice-to-beat prize for the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone knew his team would to struggle for it.
The Coffee Mixers did it the hard way, hacking out a 107-96 win against a GlobalPort squad that fought hard despite playing merely for pride Friday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Peter June Simon came up big, picking up the slack for the hurting James Yap with 27 points to lead the way for the Mixers, who formalized their hold of the No. 2 spot in the quarterfinal round.
I know it wasnt pretty, but its a lot harder than what people see from the outside, said Cone.
Theres the other team which has gotten loose and another team looked stressed. Looking at each other, you know theres going to be a real battle. Certainly, theres no easy games in the PBA.
San Mig Coffee did not get its rhythm going until the early part of the fourth quarter, when the Mixers outscored the Batang Pier, 34-18, to secure their 10th win in 13 games.
We just took care of business tonight. I told my players that all we have to do is walk out there and win. Lets not misunderstand our expectations. We dont have to win by 25 points, but we only need to win by one and win, said Cone.
The Mixers still have one game left on their elimination round schedule against the Meralco Bolts, but are locked into a playoff duel against the underachieving but dangerous Petron Blaze Boosters.
Anybody could pick a harder opponent, but Petron. Theres a saying that you dont choose who to play in the playoffs because you need to go through everyone of them, said Cone.
GlobalPort ended its campaign with just a lone win to show in 14 games.
SMC 107- Simon 27, De Ocampo 18, Pingris 14, Barroca 12, Ramos 8, Yap 8, Reavis 7, Devance 5, Intal 4, Villanueva 4, Gonzales 0. GLO 96- David 22, Al-Hussaini 20, Deutchman 13, Miller 13, Mandani 10, Salvador 6, Guevarra 4, Raymundo 2, Manuel 2, Lingganay 2, Yee 2, Vanlandingham 0. QS: 20-27; 47-49; 73-78; 107-96
MERALCO BOLTS over SAN MIG COFFEE MIXERS, 87-77
The Meralco Bolts took care of business Sunday, defeating the San Mig Coffee Mixer 87-77 at the SM Mall of Asia Coliseum to set up a quarterfinals showdown against the Alaska Aces.
With the Mixers already safely ensconced in the quarterfinals San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone opted to rest hurting superstar James Yap it was the Bolts who dominated the game for their eighth win in 14 contests.
Veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds for Meralco, which finished with the eliminations with the same record as the Aces. The two teams will start their best-of-three playoff encounter on Wednesday.
We really put our spirit to a test. We wanted to come up with our best finish for our young franchise and break some barriers. True enough, we finished No. 4, said Gregorio.
But unlike San Mig Coffee, which has the luxury of resting its key players, including James Yap, we had to find ways to win.
The smaller Bolts had to outwork the bigger Mixers. Meralco outrebounded San Mig Coffee, 57-43.
Were a small team, so we have the mindset of rebounding by committee and thats exactly what we did tonight. In fact, we had six offensive rebounds to end the game, said Gregorio.
It was Hugnatan who hurt the Mixers more with his hustle plays and timely baskets. He had eight points in the fourth period, including an inside stab off a pass from Mercado that gave the Bolts an 83-71 lead, 4:11 left.
Meralcos victory means Rain or Shine will face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinals in another best-of-three series.
Both of those pairings will kick off Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
San Mig Coffee, meanwhile, will have twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against Petron in the series that begins Thursday, also at the Big Dome.
TALK N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERS over BGY. GINEBRA GIN KINGS, 87-80
The Talk N Text Tropang Texters rallied to beat Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 87-80, Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena to ride into the Philippine Cup quarterfinals with a victory under their belt.
Ali Peek had 16 points, 18 rebounds, and three blocks to lead Talk N Text, which came back from a 17-point third quarter deficit to book the victory.
The game held little meaning for either team, as both were locked into their respective quarterfinal matchups. But the two squads didnt play like it was a no-bearing game, with the action getting heated at several junctures.
Theres no such thing as a non-bearing game. The objective is to always give the paying customers their moneys worth. Ive been long enough in the league and I know our priority is the customers and win basketball games for them. We all owe it to the fans, said Talk N Text coach Norman Black.
The win was more about pride. Were the No. 1 team no matter what, but we may see this team down the road.
The Tropang Texters worked double time on defense in the fourth period, when they held their rivals to just two field goals.
Barangay Ginebras seven-point output in the final period is the teams lowest scored this conference. The Gin Kings last field goal came at the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter courtesy of Rico Maierhofer.
Talk N Text finished with just two defeats in 14 elimination round games, while Ginebras win-loss record fell to 7-7 to wrap up its campaign.
The Tropang Texters will play Air 21 in the quarterfinals, with the Tropang Texter enjoying twice-to-beat advantage. The series starts on Thursday.
You cant take any team for granted. I believe theyre better than their record, said Peek.
Ginebra will take on Rain or Shine in a best-of-three series that kicks off Wednesday. It marks the second straight year the two teams face each other in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals. The Elasto Painters swept the Gin Kings in two games last season in the final eight of the same tournament.
Meralco disposed of sister team NLEX and SMB survived Alaska sans an import two days ago in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup. Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon): MERALCO BOLTS over NLEX ROAD WARRIORS, 101-95 The Meralco Bolts got a solid outing from import Allen Durham and a surprising boost from point guard Baser Amer late in the game as they hurdled sister team NLEX, 101-95, in the 2016 Oppo PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. Durham finished with 31 poin... [read more]
Meralco disposed of sister team NLEX and SMB survived Alaska sans an import two days ago in the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup.
Game Capsules (adapted from Interaksyon):
MERALCO BOLTS over NLEX ROAD WARRIORS, 101-95 The Meralco Bolts got a solid outing from import Allen Durham and a surprising boost from point guard Baser Amer late in the game as they hurdled sister team NLEX, 101-95, in the 2016 Oppo PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Durham finished with 31 points, 17 rebounds and five assists in another productive performance for Meralco, which improved to 5-3 for the conference after a second straight win.
Cliff Hodge added 17 points while four other Bolts - Jared Dillinger, Kelly Nabong, Chris Newsome and Bryan Faundo - all finished in double figures as well.
Amer, meanwhile, tallied seven points and seven assists. He started out 0-for-6 from the field before scoring seven straight points in the last minute and a half to help secure the win for the Bolts.
NLEX (3-4) was led by high-scoring import Henry Walker, who finished with 38 points and nine boards in a losing effort.
Lines of the Game: Allen Durham (MER) - 31pts, 17rebs, 5asts, 2 triples, 10/17 FGs. Henry Walker (NLX) - 38pts, 9rebs, 5asts, 2blks, 1stl, 8 triples, 14/26 FGs.
SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN over ALASKA ACES, 106-103 The San Miguel Beermen, playing without an import, leaned on two-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo to overcome the Alaska Aces, 106-103, and pick up a crucial win in the 2016 Oppo PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo scored 37 points - including 16 in a dominant fourth quarter - and grabbed 14 rebounds to pace San Miguel, which played without injured import Arizona Reid.
Alex Cabagnot added 17 points and made two big three-pointers in the endgame while Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
San Miguel moved up to 5-2 while the struggling Aces dropped down to 2-5.
Alaska import LaDontae Henton had a huge game with 45 points and 15 rebounds but could not make a winning shot in the end.
Lines of the Game: June Mar Fajardo (SMB) - 37pts, 14rebs, 3asts, 3blks, 1stl, 12/17 FGs. LaDontae Henton (ALA) - 45pts, 15rebs, 1stl, 1ast, 2 triples, 19/39 FGs.
Sanen Neophoenix (B League) strengthened their roster with addition of 31-year old American forward Robert Dozier (206-102kg-85, college: Memphis). He played most recently at Alaska Aces in Filipino PBA league. Dozier managed to play in three leagues in two countries last year. In 15 PBA games he recorded very impressive stats: 19.9ppg, 11.3rpg, 2.1apg and 1.9bpg. He also played that season for Le Mans in ProA where in 10 games he averaged 11.5ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.3spg and 1.3bpg. Dozier also p... [read more]
Sanen Neophoenix (B League) strengthened their roster with addition of 31-year old American forward Robert Dozier (206-102kg-85, college: Memphis). He played most recently at Alaska Aces in Filipino PBA league. Dozier managed to play in three leagues in two countries last year. In 15 PBA games he recorded very impressive stats: 19.9ppg, 11.3rpg, 2.1apg and 1.9bpg. He also played that season for Le Mans in ProA where in 10 games he averaged 11.5ppg, 8.2rpg, 1.3spg and 1.3bpg. Dozier also played 7 games in Eurocup where he had 8.9ppg, 5.1rpg and 1.0spg. He also spent pre-season at PAOK Thessaloniki (A1) in Greek league that year. In 2009 Dozier was drafted by Miami Heat (NBA) in second round (60th overall). He attended University of Memphis and it will be his eighth season in pro basketball. Dozier received Asia-Basket.com All-PBA Commissioner's Cup 2nd Team award in 2016. He is quite experienced player. Thanks to Dozier's pro career he managed to play on three different continents (Europe, Asia and of course North America) in four different countries. Dozier has played previously professionally in Spain (Sevilla), France (Cholet Basket), Greece (Kolossos) and United Arab Emirates (Al Shabab). The scouts decsribe him following way:
(by Adam Ganeles for NBADraft.net in 2009)
Has terrific hands and reads passing angles well, notching a theft a game for his collegiate career ... Lateral quickness is excellent. Has shown the ability to guard smaller defenders and pressure ball handlers.
Often overpowered at the defensive end but made up for it with movement and quick leaping ability ... Finishes adequately at the offensive end, but must add strength.
Phelps number one in Philippines for round 6 - 5 days ago
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American Forward Eugene Phelps (198-F-90) had an amazing evening in the last round for Phoenix, receiving a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 6.
The 26-year old player had a double-double of 49 points and 18 rebounds, while his team Phoenix maintains the 8th position in Filipino PBA. Phoenix is rather a weak team placed in lower part in the standings. But it was their 4th lost game this season out of 6 games. In the team's last game Phelps had a remarkable 65.4% from 2-p... [read more]
American Forward Eugene Phelps (198-F-90) had an amazing evening in the last round for Phoenix, receiving a Asia-basket.com Player of the Week award for round 6. The 26-year old player had a double-double of 49 points and 18 rebounds, while his team Phoenix maintains the 8th position in Filipino PBA. Phoenix is rather a weak team placed in lower part in the standings. But it was their 4th lost game this season out of 6 games. In the team's last game Phelps had a remarkable 65.4% from 2-point range. He turned to be Phoenix's top player in his first season with the team. Eugene Phelps averages just after two games 37.5ppg, 18.5rpg and 4.5apg.
The second best player in last round's games was 28-year old American Justin Brownlee (197-F-88) of league's second-best Barangay Ginebra. Brownlee had a very good evening with a double-double of 31 points and 13 rebounds. Of course he led Barangay Ginebra to another comfortable win 101-87 over the lower-ranked Rain or Shine (#7, 3-3) being unquestionably team leader. This victory allowed Barangay Ginebra to move up to second position in the standings. His team's 5-2 record is not bad at all. Brownlee is a newcomer at Barangay Ginebra, but is already one of team's top players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 29.2ppg (#5). His other stats are also decent: 12.4rpg and 4.8apg. Former St.John's University star Brownlee is a former Eurobasket Summer League player, which is considered top international summer league in the market.
Third on the list of top players last round was American forward Allen Durham (198-F/C-88) of Meralco Bolts (#5). Durham got into 30-points club by scoring exactly 30 points in the last round. He went also for sixteen rebounds and seven assists. He was a key player of Meralco Bolts, leading his team to a 105-90 easy win against the lower-ranked Blackwater (#12, 1-6). Meralco Bolts needs these victories very badly if they think about getting closer to top teams. Their record at this point is 4 victories and 3 lost games. Durham has a great season in Philippines. After only 6 games, he made it on the list of the league's leaders in points with 31.0ppg (3rd best), rebounds with 14.8rpg (4th best) and assists with 5.8apg (4th best). He also has 1.8bpg and FGP: 57.8%. Durham attended one of camps at Eurobasket Summer League on his way to pro basketball.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Arizona Reid (196-F-86) of San Miguel Beermen - 41 points and 15 rebounds 5. Henry Walker (198-G/F-87) of NLEX RW - 39 points and 13 rebounds 6. James White (203-F-93) of Mahindra E. - 23 points, 19 rebounds and 3 assists 7. Joel Wright (201-F-90) of Purefoods Star - 30 points and 22 rebounds 8. Mychal Ammons (198-F-92) of Talk N Text - 22 points, 18 rebounds and 3 assists 9. Arthur Dela Cruz) of Blackwater - 23 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists 10. LaDontae Henton (198-F-92) of Alaska Aces - 27 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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