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2015 PBA Philippine Cup: Starter Pack

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[nextpage title = “PBA 2015 Starter Pack”]

Are you excited for the new PBA season?

After an arguable one of the best seasons in recent memory that saw two classic Finals series [Philippine Cup: San Miguel Beer vs. Alaska and Commissioner’s Cup: Talk ‘N Text vs. Rain or Shine] and a dominant San Miguel Beermen team sweeping the Alaska Aces for the Governor’s Cup title, all the team’s reloaded to stop the Beermen from attaining a dynasty.

A loaded draft class, stars gaining international experience, a game-changing coaching change, and various trades, each PBA club has a case to gain the most prestigious hardware in Philippine basketball, the Philippine Cup.

PBA beat writer Levi Verora gives his insights on each squad in this year’s edition of the PBA Starter Pack!

Are you ready?

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Blackwater”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Blackwater Elite

One of three expansion teams, the Blackwater Elite did not have an inspiring opening conference in the PBA at all, finishing with a winless campaign.

With such atrocious record, the Elite had a chance to build a better unit via the draft, but not even that would come into fruition. The Elite traded away their first rounder to Talk ‘N Text, which eventually picked Moala Tautuaa. So from possibly having a Tautuaa-Art Dela Cruz-Heruela core, the Elite will basically have to find its identity from scratch.

The Elite gave away their clear-cut best player in Brian Heruela, who averaged 10.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 5.2 APG for a good-but-not-great scorer in Carlo Lastimosa.

In the offseason, they’ve added Mike Cortez and James Sena via transactions, and Almond Vosotros, Art Dela Cruz, and Keith Agovida via the draft.

Cortez and Vosotros at least upgrades the point guard depth and gives them a playmaker in lieu of the departed Heruela. But aside from that, the Elite will have to find more sources of production. They were dead last in offense in the previous Philippine Cup and had the worst net rating at -14.8.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 12th among 12 teams with a 0-11 record in their maiden conference in the league

Roster as of October 12:

Mike Cortez
Raphy Reyes
Juami Tiongson
Carlo Lastimosa
JP Erram
Almond Vosotros
Gilbert Bulawan
Jason Melano
Frank Golla
Jason Ballesteros
Riego Gamalinda
Keith Agovida
Reil Cervantes
James Sena

Head coach: Leo Isaac

Keys to the conference:

Playmaking, pick and roll plays. Mike Cortez is a good reader on the floor while Vosotros is a scoring guard who is a threat when he has the ball. The Elite should use them oftenly especially in pick and rolls plays to attract the defense. Art Dela Cruz’s addition after the NCAA should give the Elite a good attacker who can set up his teammates. With James Sena around who can dive to the basket, the Elite should run a lot of high ball screens to complement the space.

Spacing. The Elite have wing guys like Gilbert Bulawan, Bambam Gamalinda, and Carlo Lastimosa who can all spread the defense out. I wonder why Val Acuna is not listed on the roster but if he is still part of the Blackwater lineup, he will be of huge help. Reil Cervantes is a poor man’s stretch four but he brings space, so the Elite must move the ball well while having good spacing on the floor.

Most important player:

Carlo Lastimosa. He has the potential to be a go-to scorer for this team. In the 2015 season he averaged 21.9 points per 36 minutes. In addition, he shot 35.7 percent from three-point area although he took only 42 attempts in the entire year. Lastimosa has to use that aggressiveness to help the Elite succeed.

X-Factor:

Riel Cervantes. He averaged 11.9 PPG and 4.5 RPG in the 2015 season, although he has not been impressive when it comes to shooting. He is only 36.1 percent overall and 26 percent from three-point area. But teams know he is a threat and he will attract attention so he just has to use that and be a better decision-maker.

Prognosis:

This conference will not be good at all again. Sure, they will be able to give some challenges to other teams but overall, another winless campaign won’t be surprising as they lack talent and depth.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Mahindra”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Mahindra Enforcers

Eyes rolled when the Kia franchise entered the PBA. It was very surprising and naming Manny Pacquiao as their head coach led to even more heads shaking.

But the squad has learned how to overcome that stigma especially in the last two conferences where they racked up arguably more wins than expected.

It is still unfortunate they let go of 2015 second overall draft pick Troy Rosario who could have provided huge impact for the team right off the bat.

But the Enforcers are going to be an exciting team to watch simply because they work well with what they have and they try to upset giants using their effort, toughness, and gritty attitude as underdogs.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Placed 11th among 12 teams with a 1-10 record in their maiden conference in the league

Roster as of October 12:

Aldrech Ramos
LA Revilla
Karl Dehesa
Nino Canaleta
Joshua Webb
Eddie Laure
Paulo Hubalde
Philip Paredes
Rich Alvarez
Nard Pinto
Kyle Pascual
Mark Yee
Hyram Bagatsing

Head coach: Chito Victolero Manny Pacquiao

Keys to the conference:

Stay tenacious on defense. Being a rag-tag group is Mahindra’s identity. They are a bunch of never-give-up guys who will make it difficult for the opposing team. In last season’s Philippine Cup, Mahindra led the league in steals per game (8.6), turnovers forced per game (17.9), and were second in points off turnovers (17.2). They have really scrappy players like Mark Yee and Joshua Webb and defense should be what they preach.

Space the floor, hit the three. Mahindra is the worst three-point shooting team in the previous Philippine Cup at 24.7 percent, but the arrival of KG Canaleta, Aldrech Ramos, plus the improvement of Karl Dehesa should give them more options outside.

Utilize Revilla. LA Revilla remains as Kia’s best player and shot creator. He averaged 9.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.2 APG in the 2015 season on an assist rate of 29.2 percent. Let him facilate, be aggressive off pick and rolls, and make good decisions on the floor.

Most important player:

LA Revilla. His role is very important for the Enforcers, as what I’ve written above.

Karl Dehesa. Dehesa led the team in scoring in the 2015 Governors’ Cup with 10.9 PPG and shot 37 percent from three-point area. More than half of Dehesa’s field goal attempts were triples. For the entire 2015 season, he was the Enforcers’ second-leading scorer behind LA Revilla. If he can carry over that good conference to the Philippine Cup and be a good scoring threat with range, then Mahindra will get an extta boost.

X-Factor:Aldrech Ramos

It’s intriguing to see if Ramos can still change his game. He played mostly the three instead of the four spot back with the NLEX Road Warriors. Now in a team which usually goes small, will Ramos finally be a stretch forward who can thrive in this era and make impact for his team? We will find out.

Prognosis:

With some decent additions, the Enforcers should be able to serve out an even tougher challenge to their opponents and improve their win total. A playoff appearance is still far-fetched but they should continue building with what they have.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “NLEX”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: NLEX Road Warriors
Since taking over the Air21 Express franchise last year, the NLEX Road Warriors have shown they are a very capable team offensively.

The team ranked fifth in offense during the 2014-15 Philippine Cup and were also fifth in three-point shooting. The problem however, lies on their inability to pull out some stops.

The Road Warriors were second-worst in defense, giving away 100.9 points per 100 possessions and were only 10th in rebounding.

During the offseason, they added two more offensive weapons to complement their system: Kevin Alas and Garvo Lanete. They let go of forwards Aldrech Ramos and KG Canaleta although in return, they made room for the returning Sean Anthony and Glenn Khobuntin.

This season will be about how they can deliver on the defensive end in order to rise as one of the better middle teams in the league.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 10th among 12 teams with a 4-7 record. Made the playoffs but lost to no. 3 seed Alaska Aces in the quarter-finals.

Roster as of October 12:

Simon Enciso
Mark Cardona
Kevin Alas
Sean Anthony
Jonas Villanueva
Eric Camson
Garvo Lanete
Enrico Villanueva
Mark Borboran
Jeckster Apinan
Glenn Khobuntin
Harold Arboleda
Rob Reyes
Asi Taulava
John Wilson

Head coach: Boyet Fernandez

Keys to the conference:

Improve defense. We’ve mentioned about NLEX not being the best rebounding team, and they have brought two energy guys who provide bounce and a good nose for the hustle plays or 50-50 balls. Sean Anthony (rebounding splits: 8.7/18.3/13.3) and Glenn Khobuntin (8.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG in final season with National University) are two workhorses who can help with this category. The Road Warriors not really have much of an option since they are a bit undersized in the four position, but you can count on the energy of these guys.

Make Asi Taulava a better reader. Taulava averaged 14.4 PPG and 10.1 RPG in the 2015 season, still making a tremendous impact for his squad. His back to basket game is vital in Fernandez’s system as he attacts so much attention but he has to learn how to share the ball from the low post to make use of that size instead of forcing shots. He averaged only 1.9 assists in the previous year, a stark contrast from his 3.7 average three seasons ago.

Let the young guys take charge. This could be the time Mark Cardona slides to a back-up shooting guard and let both Lanete and Alas take charge. The two former Gilas cadets are capable scorers. Alas played more of a point guard with Talk ‘N Text but his three-point shooting will surely be of help for NLEX. Ditto with Lanete, and both guys give the Road Warriors a big boost.

Most important player:

Jonas Villanueva. Villanueva averaged 11.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 4.5 APG in the 2015 season but more than anything else, Villanueva’s savvy playmaking will still be the biggest factor in NLEX’s success this conference. He has the ability to get everyone involved and with new offensive weapons, he should have a fun time doing the quarterbacking duties.

X-Factor: Sean Anthony Anthony played alongside another hustle guy in Cliff Hodge throughout the 2015 season and he logged shorter minutes and averaged 7.1 PPG and 5.4 RPG. But his per-36 minute stats show Anthony is averaging 11.9 PPG and 9.1 RPG, both better than his previous season. He will likely get more minutes as the starting power forward for NLEX and he has to make huge contributions on both ends.

Prognosis: With talent getting better, NLEX will be a better offensive team and tally more wins. They will make the playoffs although making it all the way to the semi-finals is a tough mountain to overcome.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Barako Bull”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Barako Bull Energy
With all the transactions the team has had in the past, it would be difficult for Barako Bull to gain rhythm for the long run. The Energy went with different deals throughout the year to arrive with their current roster.

Gone are the likes of Sol Mercado, Dylan Ababou, Joseph Yeo, Dave Marcelo, and Jake Pascual who could have given the Energy significant contributions.

The mainstays are still JC Intal, RR Garcia, Chico Lanete, and Willie Wilson. All are expected to lead as far as statistical categories are concerned.

But lacking defensive identity, this season looks to be another tough one for Barako Bull. In the 2015 Philippine Cup, they were second worst in rebounding, and dead last in points allowed per 100 possessions (103.9).

There are no significant additions to their roster to fill in that glaring absence, and the best they can do is just to not get worse than their run in the previous conferences.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: 9th among 12 teams with a 4-7 record. Made the playoffs but were eliminated by 4th seeded Talk ‘ N Text in the quarter-finals.

Roster as of October 12:

James Forrester
Josh Urbiztondo
Emman Monfort
JC Intal
RR Garcia
Jeric Fortuna
Jervy Cruz
Chico Lanete
Willie Wilson
Yutien Andrada
Michael Miranda
Paul Sorongon
Mac Baracael
Mick Pennisi

Head coach: Koy Banal

Keys to the conference:

RR Garcia’s playmaking. Garcia only had a 12 percent assist rate in the 2015 season. He should be a more effective facilitator for Barako given they do not have any other point guards of his level. This is the conference where he should take charge of the playmaking.

Complement JC Intal. Intal is one of the most unique players in the league because at the small forward spot, he does basically everything expected from a prototypical one. He can shoot, drive, finish strong, and defend on the other end. The Energy should provide the needed support, whether it is a kickout option, or players cutting from the weak side, or just being his reliable back-up.

Most important player:

JC Intal. The wing man averaged 12.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 1.9 APG in the 2015 season, improving most of his numbers from two seasons ago. He is basically the do-it-all player for Barako Bull.

X-Factor: Mac Baracael.

It is intriguing to see what he will bring under a Barako uniform this time. He averaged 7.2 PPG and shot 35.8 percent from three-point area with Ginebra last year, and he should be one of Barako’s main options in the perimeter with the absence of Ababou.

Prognosis: Individual talent can only do so much, but Barako Bull isn’t going anywhere far. Sure, they would make the playoffs since 10 teams qualify for the next round although seeing them get booted out in the elimination round will not be a surprise.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title =”GlobalPort”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Globalport Batang Pier

Going with an exciting backcourt duo of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, the Globalport Batang Pier were able to record their best winning percentage in the Philippine Cup.

The production of their backcourt was key to their past success, but in order for the Batang Pier to rise even more, they have to take care of the paint and protect the rim.

Globalport had a severely undersized frontline but with the return of Jay Washington plus the additions of Dorian Pena and Rico Maierhofer will give the Batang Pier more flexibility in that frontcourt.

The team isn’t as bad as people would expect them to be. The Batang Pier had the least turnovers in the 2014-15 Philippine Cup and were in the middle of both offensive and defensive ratings.

This season is about having a solid follow up to what they have accomplished in the past. It is a daunting task, but they should be able to challenge even more teams.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 8th among 12 teams with a 5-6 card, fell to 5th seeded Barangay Ginebra in the quarter-finals

Roster as of October 12:

Paolo Taha
Jonathan Uyloan
Billy Mamaril
Stanley Pringle
Dorian Pena
Anthony Semerad
Terrence Romeo
Joseph Yeo
Doug Kramer
Rico Maierhofer
Jay Washington
Roi Sumang
Philip Paniamogan
Keith Jensen
Mark Isip

Head coach: Pido Jarencio

Keys to the conference:

Let Pringle be Pringle. Stanley Pringle put up a terrific rookie year which merited him the consensus Rookie of the Year plum. He averaged 13.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.5 SPG and shot 37.7 percent from downtown. He also has an assist rate of 37.8 percent and that aggressiveness will very much be a key in the season.

Less is more for Romeo. Terrence Romeo had a phenomenal second season where he increased is averages to 19.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.9 APG. However, he is shooting 17.2 field goal attempts per game and is only making 40.1 percent of his shots. His usage rate (estimate of how much offensive possessions end with him when on the floor) is 30.9.

In his third year, and with the drastic improvement after a wonderful Gilas stint, Romeo should involve his teammates more and be a better shot-creator with the attention he gets. He has the skills and handles to do it, and it would be more exciting to see him playing efficient, smart basketball.

Get contributions from the frontcourt. Given the speed of their backcourt tandem, the Batang Pier bigs must complement their guards. The offense will surely be backcourt-centric but the little things the bigs do on the floor will help. Dorian Pena should cover a lot of space in the interior on defense. Rico Maierhofer should be active with controlling the glass. They should move well without the ball on offense. All those little things matter.

Most important player:

Terrence Romeo
and
Stanley Pringle.
No explanations needed.

X-Factor:

Jay Washington. Washington returned to BPC level in the 2013-14 season with Globalport, piling up 15.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG. Under Talk ‘N Text last season, the forward’s role was limited but now in his return tl Globalport, he should take charge as the Batang Pier’s most capable big.

Prognosis: Globalport will still be in the middle of the pack, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they improve their record if the team gets more chemistry and play as a collective whole.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Star”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Star Hotshots

Plagued with injuries to open the 2014-15 season, the Star Hotshots saw their Philippine Cup title vanish after crashing out of the quarter-finals.

The team opened the conference with a 1-3 record although managed to end up with a 6-5 card. However, they could not keep up with the rest of the league which all improved their rosters to take down the then reigning champions.

They were 8th in offensive rating, and were 9th in both total rebounds and total assists.

The Hotshots haven’t been bad in the next two conferences either, making the semi-finals of both the Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cup but they were booted out.

The squad would definitely want to improve on their run during that season, but it will be a challenge with a new system under head coach Jason Webb.

The team also lost Joe Devance although they have new pieces like Jake Pascual, Ronald Pascualm and Norbert Torres.

The Star roster is deep, competitive enough, and had the offseason to reboot. They have what it takes to cntend for the upper half of the standings, but they have to show chemistry right away. Will it be a conference of adjustments or a winning conference? The league will find out soon.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Placed 7th among 12 teams with a 6-5 card. Ousted by 6th seeded Meralco in the quarter-finals

Roster as of October 12:

Yousef Taha
Justin Melton
Rafi Reavis
Ronald Pascual
Norbert Torres
Peter June Simon
Ian Sangalang
Alex Mallari
Mark Barroca
Marc Pingris
James Yap
Jerwin Gaco
Allein Maliksi
Jake Pascual
Lester Alvarez

Head coach: Jason Webb

Keys to the conference:

Have Pingris continue to read. Marc Pingris remains one of the best readers from the high post area. Star must continue giving him touches and let him create offense for the team.

Give Sangalang his touches. Prior to going down with an ACL injury which kept him out of the 2015 season, Sangalang showed promise. He posted per-36 minute stats of 13.8 PPG and 9.5 RPG, and shot above 50 percent in the 2014-15 Philippine Cup playoffs. He is a legitimate face-up threat and can also finish around the rim.

Let Barroca take charge. He averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.8 AOG in the 2015 season. With Devance gone, Barroca will likely be the main playmaker. And he is also a threat when he has the ball so he has to show his scoring mode to become an even better backcourt player for Star.

Maintain having a defensive identity. The Hotshots are known for getting stops and making it difficult for other teams. They have a ton of perimeter defenders and hustle players to do the job, and they must deliver.

Most important player:

Ian Sangalang. It is his time to elevate his game for the Star Hotshots. His face-up game lures bigs out of the paint, and he is very hardworking on both ends of the floor. With Devance gone, and Marc Pingris needing a complementary piece up front, Sangalang should present himself as the next premier option of the team.

X-Factor:

Alex Mallari. Mallari has been a great on-ball defender during the tail-end of the 2015 season, and if he continues showing such effort then he will help the Hotshots with their defensive gameplan.

Prognosis: The Hotshots are healthy and have the tools to be in the upper half of the team standings. There will be challenges along the way but if they can adjust quickly, they might be one of four teams in the semi-finals.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Meralco”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Meralco Bolts
Since Norman Black’s arrival as head coach of the Meralco Bolts, the team rose from underdog level to a middle team constantly trying enter the elites conversation.

They eliminated then defending Philippine Cup champions Star Hotshots and made the semi-finals of the Commissioner’s Cup despite some key players nursing some injuries.

With the return of both Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Jimmy Alapag from hiatus and youngsters to plug the weaknesses, the next thing for the Bolts to do is to try and become contenders this season. They have big potential to do it.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Placed 6th with a 6-5 card, eliminated Star Hotshots in the first phase of the quarter-finals but lost to Alaska in the second phase of the quarter-finals

Roster as of October 12:

Bryan Faundo
Jimmy Alapag
Cliff Hodge
Ronjay Buenafe
Chris Newsome
Anjo Caram
Rabeh Al-Hussaini
Jared Dillinger
Reynel Hugnatan
John Ferriols
Kelly Nabong
Rey Guevarra
Gary David
Simon Atkins

Head coach: Norman Black

Keys to the conference:gary d

Protect the rim. The Bolts had a negative net rating and allowed the 3rd highest field goal percentage in the 2014-15 Philippine Cup. They did not have enough size last year to protect the interior. They were starting Hugnatan and his main back up was Ferriols, which makes it even more amazing how they were able to make the playoffs of all three conferences. Now they get Rabeh Al-Hussaini back and Bryan Faundo. Although these guys aren’t the top rim protectors out there, Black will need all those extra bodies to cover the paint, secure rebounds, and try to slow down their opponents’ attack.

Use side pick and rolls effectively. Black’s system uses a lot of high ball screens and side pick and rolls. With the entry of Jimmy Alapag, the Bolts get a playmaker who is also a scoring threat with the ball. Alapag has a penchant for all those pull-up triples. In his final conference before retiring with Talk ‘N Text, Alapag shot 48.5 percent from three-point area. Another creator who should step up is Jared Dillinger. He was hampered by injuries throughout last season, and only averaged 1.4 assists, way below his 2.7 mark two seasons ago. Baser Amer will also come in after the NCAA and that will give them another topnotch playmaker.

Complement playmaking with outside shooting, movement. The Bolts shot only 21.9 percent from downtown in the last Philippine Cup. They have to utilize having those playmakers and complement them with shooting and space. They have Chris Newsome who moves well without the ball. Ronjay Buenafe was added and he is a good catch-and-shoot option. Then there’s Gary David who is still dangerous from anywhere on the court.

Most important player:

Cliff Hodge. He led Meralco in win shares during the 2015 season and averaged 9.7 PPG and 8.6 RPG. He is an energy stick out there, and he provides Meralco with the intangibles.

X-Factor:al hussaini - PBA images

Rabeh Al-Hussaini. The frontline is still Meralco’s biggest concern in this season, and Al-Hussaini should show he can still keep up with the rest of the PBA’s bigs.

Prognosis: With upgrades in almost every position and a good system under an experienced head coach, the Bolts should make the playoffs easily and not fall out of the top 6. Depending on the match-up, they may be able to surprise another team and suddenly crack the semi-finals.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Ginebra”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

Barangay Ginebra has not lifted a championship trophy since 2008, and hoping to end the futility, they have finally settled with a new era, after a myriad of offseason moves.

The legendary mentor Tim Cone is now the head coach of the most popular franchise of the league and he hopes to continue his winning tradition.

Ginebra has all the weapons to be a powerhouse team in the years to come although for fans, it should be understandable if the Kings suffer some growing pains in the early stages of the season.

Nevertheless, it is a good start for Ginebra, who are wanting to go to a better direction.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 5th among 12 teams with a 6-5 record, defeated Globalport the quarter-finals first phase but were eliminated by Talk ‘N Text in the second phase

Roster as of October 12:

Sol Mercado
LA Tenorio
Dave Marcelo
Jayjay Helterbrand
Nico Salva
Dennice Villamor
Greg Slaughter
Japeth Aguilar
Aljon Mariano
Chris Ellis
Joe Devance
Mark Caguioa
Rodney Brondial

Head coach: Tim Cone

Keys to the conference:

Feed the post. On most nights, Greg Slaughter is an indomitable presence out there when he gets a good position underneath. Now, Ginebra has an even better system to give him those touches and with Joe Devance part of the squad, he should be able to set up Slaughter for entry passes coming from the elbow or high post. Devance himself can work his way inside and post up smaller defenders as he is quick and strong.

Keep moving. Cone’s triangle requires both moving well without the ball and moving the ball well. All the players will have their role and have the opportunity to take over, but they have to run the system to perfection.

Take advantage of running opportunities. Ginebra was the 4th best defensive team in the Philippine Cup. They were not too bad in fastbreak points per game either at 6th. Like how Cone stressed the importance of defense back with the Hotshots, Ginebra should work on defense first, force stops and turnovers, and run when there is a chance. The Hotshots were dangerous in transition back then and if Ginebra plays with the proper discipline, they would be able to do the same.

Most important player:

Greg Slaughter. His size and how he fits in the triangle is impossible to ignore. Last season he averaged 14.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 1.1 BPG. He will be needed on both ends of the floor.

Joe Devance. The reason why Ginebra made a way to land Devance is Cone loves how the versatile forward is able to facilitate. Devance averaged 10.9 PPG, 5 RPG, and 2.7 APG and is expected to be a leader for the Kings.

X-Factor:

Japeth Aguilar. Cone loves going with a supersized frontline and Aguilar can actually thrive as a small forward who can space the floor, hit jumpers, and swat shots on the other end. But what type of game will Aguilar show this season and how will he help the team succeed? The fans will find out soon.

Prognosis: Barangay Ginebra would likely finish above .500 and if they can work their chemistry quickly, they may be able to make it even until the finals. But do not be surprised if they crash out early; it’s all part of the process.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
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NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
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MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Talk ‘N Text”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters

After winning three straight Philippine Cup titles from 2011 to 2013, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters have been fruitless in the last two stagings of the tournament’s first conference.

It’s not that they aren’t good anymore, but other powerhouse squads were getting even stronger. And that is why have continued adding more tools to their already stacked roster to become even better and try to be the no. 1 team again in the country.

They first landed Matt Ganuelas-Rosser in the 2014 season to shore up the perimeter defense, and added Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario to toughen up the interior.

Now they have a roster ready to take back the crown, and it is now a matter of being on the same page to accomplish that goals.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 4th among 12 teams with an 8-3 record. Defeated Globalport and Barangay Ginebra in the quarter-finals but lost to San Miguel Beer in the semi-finals, 0-4.

Roster as of October 12:

Dennis Miranda
Harvey Carey
Larry Rodriguez
Moala Tautuaa
Ryan Reyes
Larry Fonacier
Dylan Ababou
Jayson Castro
Troy Rosario
Kelly Williams
Matt Ganuelas-Rosser
Ranidel de Ocampo
Danny Seigle
Aaron Aban
Chris Sumalinog

Head coach: Jong Uichico

Keys to the conference:

Better decisions for Castro. Without Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro will now be the team’s leader. He has be even sharper when it comes to decision-making on the floor, in order to carry his team to a better level.

Stay hot from three-point area. The Tropang Texters always rank among the top teams in three-point field goal attempts, makes, and percentages. It has been a vital piece of their success in this era of basketball which puts premium on space. And in order to become successful from the three-point arc, they have to get good looks and to do that, they have to continue attacking, and moving well.

More scoring options. Outside of the obvious scoring options like Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Larry Fonacier, the Tropang Texters have to find consistent support. Players who are going to add 7-10 points every game. They have many to choose from, like new additions Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, Larry Fonacier, and a healthy Ryan Reyes.

Most important player:

Jayson Castro. The departure of Jimmy Alapag only means this Talk ‘N Text team is now a Jayson Castro team. He continues to increase his numbers and add new dimensions to his game. In the 2015 season he averaged 16.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.8 APG, and shot a career-high 38.3 percent from three-point area. He increased his three-point shot attempts from 4.4 to 6.3 a game over the past two seasons and has developed an even more reliable jump shot.

MVP Cup Day 3 - TautuaaMoala Tautuaa. In the 2015 Philippine Cup, the Tropang Texters were swept by the San Miguel Beermen mainly because of the lack of an interior presence to hold down June Mar Fajardo. Tautuaa’s presence will answer that, and he will also give the Tropang Texters a legitimate big on both ends of the floor to go up against other teams’ giants.

X-Factor: Dylan Ababou.

Another solid addition to the Tropang Texters, the wing man can play either as Larry Fonacier’s back up or even slide down to the two. He provides additional outside scoring and perimeter defense as he packs good size for a wing man.

Prognosis:

If the Tropang Texters play seamless right from the start, then there is no way people wouldn’t see them lift the Philippine Cup crown. They are among the favorites to battle for the championship.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Alaska”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Alaska Aces

For a while, the Alaska Aces garnered reputation as the new never-say-die team by showing relentless defense which leads to wins. It has been their identity throughout the 2014-15 season, and they were able to reach the finals twice.

In the last Philippine Cup, Alaska was the top defensive team, allowing opponents only 90.4 points per 100 possessions. They are also the second-best team in forcing turnovers, and are the second-best rebounding team.

Without any big overhaul in the offseason, the Aces will enter the season with a tested group. The improvement of Calvin Abueva will be the biggest factor this year, although the Aces are also racing against time as a lot of their veterans are not getting younger anymore.

Will the Aces still be able to deliver the same level of performance they showed in the last three conferences?

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 3rd among 12 teams with an 8-3 record. Defeated NLEX and Meralco in the quarter-finals. Defeated Rain or Shine in the semi-finals, 4-2. Lost to San Miguel in the finals, 3-4.

Roster as of October 12:

Chris Banchero
Vic Manuel
Cyrus Baguio
Sonny Thoss
Calvin Abueva
Nonoy Baclao
Rome Dela Rosa
Chris Exciminiano
Dondon Hontiveros
Eric Menk
RJ Jazul
Tony Dela Cruz
JVee Casio
Marion Magat

Head coach: Alex Compton

Keys to the conference:

Keep intensity in defense. Being a defensive team is Alaska’s identity. They have to keep working as a team to get stops and create offense from those extra possessions. Their offense starts with how they perform well defensively.

Balance, strength in numbers. Alaska’s system features having contributions from basically every player. Sonny Thoss and Vic Manuel are in charge of the post presence to attract defense and swing the ball out. RJ Jazul, JVee Casio, Cyrus Baguio, and Dondon Hontiveros are among the premier scoring options from the perimeter. Calvin Abueva is the do-it-all forward on both ends. Overall, the Aces should play high level of basketball every night.

Most important player:

Calvin Abueva. The Beast averaged 14.4 PPG, 13 RPG, and 3.3 APG in the previous Philippine Cup. He also had rebounding splits of 17.1/30/23.4 and an assist rate of 26 percent. That run was worthy of a BPC for many, and Abueva showcased he could lead in almost all aspects of the game. Now healthy again, the only thing stopping Abueva is himself. He has to go all out every night and make big impact for the Aces.

X-Factor:pba 2015GCFG2 Casio Cabagnot

JVee Casio. The Alaska point guard still had a decent season last year, scoring 8.8 PPG and dishing out 2.9 APG although injuries kept him on and off of the court. But can he get back to an elite playmaker level? He will surely help the team even more if he gets to be a scoring threat and an effective facilitator.

Prognosis: The Aces will make the playoffs for sure but because other teams have continued to improve their rosters, Alaska may have a difficult time getting back to the finals although it is not improbable.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “Rain or Shine”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

The storyline for Rain or Shine for the past two seasons have been the same: they are perennial contenders who make it to the semi-finals every conference, contend with the rest of the league’s powerhouse squads, and ultimately fall short in the end.

The Elasto Painters want to leave all those heartbreaking moments and bridesmaid-but-never-the-bride finishes behind, and they have started to upgrade the roster in almost all positions.

They will surely be in the conversation again for top teams this year, but will Yeng Guiao’s group finally take it to the next level and win an elusive title?

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 2nd among 12 teams with a 9-2 card. Gained automatic semi-finals berth but lost to Alaska, 2-4.

Roster as of October 12:

Paul Lee
Gabe Norwood
Jireh Ibanes
Jeric Teng
Jericho Cruz
Maverick Ahanmisi
Jewel Ponferrada
Jeff Chan
Chris Tiu
Don Trollano
Raymond Almazan
Beau Belga
JR Quinahan

Head coach: Yeng Guiao

Keys to the conference:

Beau Belga sets a screen for Jeff Chan

Beau Belga sets a screen for Jeff Chan

Find other scorers outside of Lee, Chan. Paul Lee and Jeff Chan are the Elasto Painters’ two best scorers but when they struggle, Rain or Shine should find a consistent offensive option outside of their main go-to scorers. They have upgraded especially in the backcourt with Maverick Ahanmisi, Don Trollano, and Josan Nimes, and those newcomers can all do damage.

Let bigs work. It is easier said than done but the biggest challenge for Rain or Shine is how their frontcourt will fair against the other frontlines in the league. Raymond Almazan is the premier offensive option among bigs, while Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, and Jewel Ponferrada should all do their contributions.

Spacing, outside shooting. Like Talk ‘N Text, Rain or Shine’s system leans on a lot of space and outside shooting. They were always in the top five when it comes to three-point makes, attempts, and percentage.

Most important player:

Paul Lee drives by Junemar Fajardo and Chris Ross

Paul Lee drives by Junemar Fajardo and Chris Ross

Paul Lee. Lee improved his scoring average to 15 PPG last year, and went 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. Aside from that, the almost doubled his rebounding average from 2.8 to 5.1, and led the team in win shares per 48 minutes. He is obviously Rain or Shine’s go-to scorer and take charge guy, and as one of the best backcourt players in the league, he should improve his decision-making and shot-making ability.

X-Factor:

Raymond Almazan drives to the hoop for a layup

Raymond Almazan drives to the hoop for a layup

Raymond Almazan. The Elasto Painters are not very deep when it comes to the frontcourt, nor they have enough back to basket options. Almazan has the height to protect the rim on one end and be a post-up guy on offense. He has shown improvement in his second season, and he has to step up even more this year.

Prognosis:

Like other contenders, Rain or Shine will be among the upper half of the team standings. However, with the opposition getting much tougher, they may not make it past the semifinals, if ever they make it to the last four.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]
[nextpage title = “San Miguel Beer”]
2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup Starter Pack: San Miguel Beermen

After winning two out of the three titles in the previous season, the San Miguel Beermen have cemented its status as the consensus team to beat in the league today.

They have a best big man in the country in back to back MVP June Mar Fajardo, and a handful of all-star level players providing the support. In the Philippine Cup they were the second-best offensive team and had the highest net rating in the league.

With an intact lineup under the tutelage of multi-titled head coach Leo Austria, the Beermen look to achieve a dynasty status in the PBA.

2014-15 Philippine Cup recap: Finished 1st among 12 teams with a 9-2 record. Gained automatic semi-finals berth. Swept Talk ‘N Text in the semi-finals, 4-0. Defeated Alaska in the finals, 4-3.

Roster as of October 12:

Brian Heruela
Chris Lutz
Jay-R Reyes
Alex Cabagnot
Chris Ross
Marcio Lassiter
June Mar Fajardo
Ryan Arana
Nelbert Omolon
Gabby Espinas
Arwind Santos
David Semerad
Ronald Tubid
Yancy de Ocampo

Head coach: Leo Austria

Keys to the conference:pba 2015GCFG2 Cabagnot

Go in and out. Austria’s system succeeds when they complement Fajardo’s presence with space. With a plethora of floor-spacers and three-point shooters, the Beermen has one of the best offenses in the league. They have to maintain playing at championship level for their title defense.

Utilize bench. The Beermen get key contributions from their bench players especially on the defensive end. Ronald Tubid, David Semerad, and Chris Ross all do the dirty work and give San Miguel the extra hustle when they need to get stops.

Give Lassiter chance to take over. Marcio Lassiter had an explosion in the final conference as he averaged 13.6 PPG and shot 46 percent from three-point area. He may loom as San Miguel’s second best option on offense behind Fajardo if he continues performing at a high level, and that will be a big advantage for the Beermen.

Most important player:pba-2015GCFG3 Fajardo

June Mar Fajardo. The performance of the reigning MVP continues to skyrocket. Last year he averaged 16.8 PPG, 12.6 RPG, and 1.8 BPG. He shot 57 percent from the field, and made sure to take advantage of his size by being a great team player. San Miguel sets the standard mainly because of him.

X-Factor:

Arwind Santos knocking down a jumper against Jeff Chan

Arwind Santos knocking down a jumper against Jeff Chan

Arwind Santos. Santos had a rousing start in the Philippine Cup where he averaged 15.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and shot 35.7 percent from three-point area. However, he struggled in the next two conferences. Having him perform at BPC level again to open this season will make San Miguel even more powerful.

Prognosis:

Unless the team gets hampered by injuries and struggle to get a dream start, the San Miguel Beermen may be on their way to a second straight Philippine Cup title.

2015 PBA PHILIPPINE CUP: STARTER PACK
BLACKWATER ELITEMAHINDRA ENFORCERS
pba5pba4
NLEX ROAD WARRIORSBARAKO BULL ENERGY COLA
pba10pba6
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIERSTAR HOTSHOTS
pba5pba6
MERALCO BOLTSBARANGAY GINEBRA GIN KINGS
gary dpba8
TALK ‘N TEXT TROPANG TEXTERSALASKA ACES
pba11vs KIA
RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERSSAN MIGUEL BEERMEN
pba1-copy2015-Governors-Cup-Champions

[/nextpage]

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Football

Composed Ceres-Negros expels Shan United in shootout victory

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Photo from the-AFC.com

2017 AFC ASEAN Zone Champions Ceres-Negros banked on their poise and composure from the spot as they knocked out Myanmar’s Shan United via a 4-3 penalty shootout (1-1 after extra time) triumph, Tuesday evening at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Negrenses punched their ticket to Brisbane, Australia after emerging the better spotkick takers. Four Busmen were on target, while two of their Shan Warriors counterparts fluffed their lines.

The two domestic champions were inseparable after 120 minutes, with the hosts holding their own against the Philippine champions. Ceres-Negros looked the more dominant of the two teams. However, they couldn’t make the advantage count where it mattered, as they failed to breach the sturdy Shan United defense inside the first two regulation halves.

The visitors were visibly more comfortable in the first half, but with the scores staying level at the break, the less-fancied Myanmar champions eventually found their footing in the encounter. While there were several half-chances from either side to open the scoring, both defenses remained defiant en route to unwanted extra time.

“It was a tough game. We weren’t ready to play 120 minutes because we only had four training sessions before the game but everytime we wear this jersey, we represent Ceres, we represent Bacolod, we represent the Philippines, so we have to give our best,” Ceres’ defender Carli de Murga elaborated to the Inquirer after the match. The Asian Football season has yet to start, and with both teams not too busy with pre-season preparations, rust and fatigue in a demanding affair were evident.

Come extra time, Ceres-Negros took the initiative when Stephan Schröck’s deflected effort went past the helpless Thiha Si Thu just three minutes into the first half.

Nonetheless, the hosts refused to go down without a fight, and their resilience was rewarded later in the opening half. Substitute Patrick Asare found the back of the net to restore parity in Yangon.

Another 15 minutes of goalless action took place in the second half as both teams looked more cautious, perhaps with the collective aim of avoiding a costly error or two. Among all the chances, Schröck’s in the 114th minute may have proved to be the closest to changing the scores, as his attempt shaved the post.

Shan United took to the spot first, where Asare made his penalty attempt count. Nay Lin Tun also made his, but not before teammate Chizoba smashed his attempt over Toni Doblas’ goal.

While the hosts squandered a shot, the visitors remained calm in front of a hostile Myanmar crowd. De Murga, Schröck and Mike Ott nailed their turns, with Marañon also not missing a vital kick from 12 yards.

It set up William Biassi Nyakwe, the man credited with the own goal when he deflected Schröck’s opener, with the chance to prolong his team’s campaign in the AFC Champions League. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t atone for his earlier mistake, as his attempt soared high and wide — much to the delight of the visiting team from Bacolod, the Philippines.

The reward for Ceres-Negros is a trip to Queensland, Australia, where they will seek to do one better than compatriots Global-Cebu. The 2016 Philippine champions also played against the Brisbane Roar, who dealt them a staggering 6-0 hammering this time last year. The match will be held at the Suncorp Stadium on January 23.

As for Shan United, a spot in the AFC Cup Group Stage awaits them and they may not have seen the last of Ceres-Negros just yet. If the Negrenses lose to either Brisbane Roar or Tianjin Quanjian, they will be reacquainted with the Burmese champions in Group F.

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Abu Tratter plans to work his way to 2023 by continuing to do ‘the dirty work’

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Abu Tratter may have missed the jersey-giving ceremony that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas held for the 23 for 2023 cadets last Monday but he made sure to help out when the current batch needed him the most.

After helping the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers win the Sinulog Cup in Cebu a week ago, the 6-foot-7 Filipino-American did not hesitate to heed Gilas’ call, as they were undermanned for their second session in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“I think it’s just an honor to put on this jersey, to be able to represent our country, to possibly represent our country in the future. It’s an honor,” shared the Laguna-native.

The 25-year old, who just celebrated his birthday last January 9, admitted that he was in awe of the talent inside the Meralco Gym. Like a fan, he wanted to take a few photo ops with the senior team’s Gabe Norwood and June Mar Fajardo.

“Actually, at first I was just shocked to see June Mar and Gabe, just to be able to be in the midst of them,” gushed the former DLSU Green Archer, who will suit-up for Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League. “I even asked them for a picture, and hopefully they’ll still give me one.

“It’s just humbling, definitely.”

However, the work has only began for Tratter. With five years to go until the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the two-time UAAP champion plans to continue to do what he does best — be the same scrapper that he is and hopefully catch the eye of Gilas’ brass.

“I think just doing the dirty work, of course. Giving whatever the team needs, rebound or any steals, any thing a dirty player would need to pick up on,” he said.

“That’s how it is, garbage into gold. Get anything, sweep up anything and try to put it back.”

Moreover, he will continue answering the call when Gilas needs him, as he himself is learning a lot from being surrounded by the country’s topflight cagers.

“Whenever I can. I want to be able to absorb all the information coming from here and hopefully apply it in the D-League and hopefully apply it on future practices, future games.”

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Terrence Romeo invited to join Pilipinas 3×3 for World Cup

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Stronger than ever

Scoring sensation Terrence Romeo has been invited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to join the Philippine team in the upcoming FIBA 3X3 World Cup, according to Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson.

Romeo, who is currently out due to a right knee injury, has been in rehabilitation and is expected to miss the entire Philippine Cup campaign of the Globalport Batang Pier and the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

“Baka sa second conference na ko makabalik kasi talagang gusto ko malakas ako pagbalik ko,” the 25-year-old shared during Chooks-to-Go Live last January 2.

SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios personally met with the 6-foot guard, inviting him to be part of the Philippine team.

Romeo has plenty of 3×3 basketball experience under his belt.

Back in 2014, Romeo was part of the Manila West 3×3 team during the Manila Masters. He was adjudged as the tournament Most Valuable Player.

The 2018 3X3 World Cup will take place from June 8-12 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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NCAA

Red Spikers extinguish Blazers for second win

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Shaking off a forgettable outing against the Perpetual Help Altas last January 11, the San Beda College Red Spikers vented their ire on defending champions College of Saint Benilde Blazers in four sets, 25-15, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, and claimed their second win of the season, Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

“Sabi ng coaches kalimutan na yung talo,” shared captain Lorenze Santos of what transpired after that match.

So, in this game, the San Beda team poured on what they worked hard for to regain momentum. “Binuhos po namin lahat ng ginawa namin sa training [ngayon].”

After tight starts in all the first two sets, the Mendiola-based side pulled away to register the seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.

Nonetheless, summoning the heart of a champion and led by seniors Isaah Arda and Jethro Orian, the reigning champions pulled off gritty runs to snag the third set and making a tussle of the fourth.

Ultimately, Adrian Viray virtually ended the match with a vicious serve, which the Blazers failed to convert.

The prolific outside hitter finished with 17 points, 11 coming from attacks and five off blocks. Former skipper Mark Encino also registered 17 markers.

The Red Spikers (2-1) will face the Mapua University, also at 2-1, on Friday, January 19.

Orian was such a presence at the net, ending up with 20 points for the Taft-based squad.

The defending champions Blazers (2-1) will try to bounce back later that day against San Sebastian College (0-3).

The Scores:

SBC 3 – Viray 17, Enciso 17, Santos 11, Patenio 7, Amagan 7, Desuyo 3, Zabala 0, Genobaten 0, Manliclic 0, Casin L.

CSB 1 – Orian 20, Arda 18, Bacani 6, Basilan 4, Bautista 4, Magsino 2, Martinez 0, Garcia 0, San Miguel 0, Saldavia 0, Dy L.

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