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The 6th Sense: Who is the PH Cup’s best 6th man?

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Even with the PBA’s expansion to 12 teams, it still seems as if most teams – most especially the contenders – are as deep as ever. Alaska, San Miguel Beer, and Talk ‘N Text all have starter-caliber players who have stepped up time and again to boost their squads into the semifinals. Let’s not forget Rain or Shine, whose coach, Yeng Guiao, changes his starting lineup game to game and spreads the minutes.

What still comes as a surprise to me though is how the PBA doesn’t have any official 6th man of the conference / year award. After all, we do copy the NBA on most awards – why not honor our outstanding “bench” players?

I decided to take a look at this conference’s crop of solid 6th men and see who stands out. To make the process a little easier to go through, I drafted some guidelines:

a)     Must be a member of a team that’s made the semifinals.  In the same way that players of winning teams get extra statistical points for each win, I’ve decided to focus on players on teams that made the semis. Tough luck for guys like Mark Barocca and Mark Caguiao, both of whom made solid contributions off the bench.

b)     Must have come off the bench on at least 50% of games played. I don’t think it would be fair to give an (unofficial) award to a guy who only occasionally comes off the bench. This eliminates Marcio Lassiter, whose started 5 of the 8 games he’s suited up in.

c)      Lastly, I’ll be using per-30 min numbers. I find that most teams aren’t leaving in their starters for more than 30-min per game, save for SMB, who play the youthful, reigning MVP 35 minutes a game. Making a comparison on a per-30 minute basis also lets see a realistic statline if that player played “starter minutes”.

Now that that’s clear, let’s take a look at the candidates (starting in alphabetical order. Just one caveat: I took out any comparison to a Rain or Shine player, since it’s just too difficult to pinpoint a single “sixth man” – they’re all pretty deserving.)

Ranidel De Ocampo

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2015 PH Cup per-30 min stats:

MINPPGRPGAPGBPGFG%3FG%
22.515.76.43.10.845.6%35.2%

 

RDO is simply a monster at the 4-position. He’s a mismatch nightmare waiting to happen, as Coach Jong Uichico can simply plug him for just about any of his starters save for the point guard and the team wouldn’t miss a beat. He can come in for the shooting guard, while sliding Ganuelas-Rosser down to the 2. Want to stretch the floor? Sub him in for Rob Reyes and force his defender to come out of the paint and contest his 35% shooting from long-distance. He’s also a solid passer, averaging 3.1 apg every 30 minutes. This is what you call a GAME-CHANGER.

In my opinion, he’s one of the top-3 best power forwards in the league and he’s efficient to boot. The majority of his shots come from catch-and-shoot types where he acts as a release option for slashers like Castro, Ryan Reyes, and Alas.

My only knock on RDO is that it feels too easy for a voter to slot him in as a 6th man winner. After all, the guy has been a rock for the Smart Gilas team and could start for any team in the league. TNT has one of the most loaded lineups in the league, which allows them to bring Ranidel off the bench to go to work against opponent’s bench players. Yep, not fair at all.

Vic Manuel
pba6

2015 PH Cup per-30 min stats:

MINPPGRPGAPGBPGFG%
20.716.28.01.70.8748.6%

 

The Muscle Man was recently name the PBA Player of the Week, as he helped Alaska overcome NLEX and Meralco to jump into the semis. Ironically, he did while starting the past couple of games, but let’s not forget he was putting up some pretty solid numbers coming off the bench behind Calvin Abueva.

On a per-30 min basis, he’s actually putting up better numbers than Ranidel De Ocampo, as he is clearly one of the best post scorers in the entire league. Alaska’s hybrid offense allows him several opportunities to go 1v1 in the post, which also has the added benefit of putting Alaska in the penalty early, as he’s simply a foul-drawing machine. Manuel’s also got nice synergy with the bench unit, as snipers RJ Jazul (3FG% 37.5%) and Dondon Hontiveros (3FG% 40.6%) help spread the floor.

With both Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel providing high energy, Coach Alex Compton’s got a nice tandem brewing at the forward positions.

Ronald Tubid

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2015 PH Cup per-30 min stats:

MINPPGRPGAPGSPGFG%3FG%
17.715.16.91.70.8541.3%38.6%

 

The high-flying, entertaining guard is having a solid season off the bench for the no. 1 seed SMB Beermen. He’s filled in ably for the injured Marcio Lassiter when he missed three games midway through the conference, and while his per game averages (8.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg) don’t exactly pop out, he’s produced in the limited minutes he’s been given.

As pointed above, he’s only played 17.7 minutes per game so far and if we look at his per-30 min figures, they are comparable to that of the other sixth men on this list. With SMB looking to make a deep playoff run, don’t be surprised to see his minutes go up, especially in this upcoming series against TNT. The Texters are full of solid swing men (Reyes, Castro, Alas, Ganuelas-Rosser, Fonacier) and with this series tabbed to go the distance, Coach Jong may have to save his starters’ legs by playing Tubid more minutes. Rest assured, those minutes are in good hands.

To be honest, I think with the league starting to embrace a Spurs-like minutes distribution system, I think we’ll see more and more guys coming off the bench to have a bigger impact on their teams’ fortunes. In these playoffs alone, I can’t wait to see guys like Chris Banchero, Jeric Fortuna, and Kevin Alas strut their stuff and earn the respect of everyone across the league.

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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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Basketball

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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