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Hoop Nut One on One: Ginebra’s Addiction to Change



Last week was a crazy week for Ginebra fans. Here are the Hoop Nut tag team’s reaction to each of the trades and signings the Gin Kings did in REAL TIME!

April 4, 2015
Enzo Flojo 11:30amAbabou x Forrester
Ginebra just traded James Forrester and Dylan Ababou to Barako Bull for their 2015 first round draft pick. They also just sacked Ato Agustin in favor of Frankie Lim. I think this is sooo Ginebra, which is to say they remain the most schizophrenic team in the league.

Rolly Mendoza 11:48am
This trade might do wonders for Ginebra assuming they pick the perfect player. It’s too bad Forrester and Ababou got buried on their bench because they might have been able to help if they were given minutes.

Anyway, I think Ginebra should have traded players who actually play and not benchwarmers.

Enzo Flojo 12:22pm
I think one of the underlying issues here is that, like you said, quality players get buried on the bench, especially for teams as stacked as Ginebra. It’s a natural consequence of a team/conglomerate hoarding talent and not finding ways to use the talent effectively. Sayang talaga, but I hope both Forrester and Ababou can find renewal in their new team.

Rayray Parks to Ginebra?

Rayray Parks to Ginebra?

As for Ginebra’s pick, I think they could go as high as #1 and perhaps the lowest is #3. My top choices here are Moala Tautuaa, Troy Rosario, and Ray Parks (not necessarily in that order). Any of those guys would give the Gin Kings a boost, though Parks, being a wingman who can plug Ginebra’s weakness at the 3 spot, looks to be the best fit. A solid PG like Scottie Thompson or even Roi Sumang may also be considered.

Rolly Mendoza 12:47pm
The trade could work both ways as long as Ababou and Forrester get to play and contribute for Barako. They make that team deeper. As for the Gin Kings, an infusion of new and young talent would definitely help. Ginebra needs passion, fire and hunger which raw rookies can provide.

You mentioned a couple of very good and solid bigs like Tautuaa and Rosario who can become immediate impacts for almost any team. However, I don’t think they can help Ginebra unless they unload Japeth since Greg is definitely their best player. Parks or Thompson or Sumang would be better choices to fill their small forward and backcourt needs. To make this work, more rotational players need to sit or get traded/released.

Enzo Flojo 2:26pm
In that case, who would you ship out? I say there are just too many guards. Ship out two out of the following: Jayjay Helterbrand, Emman Monfort, Josh Urbiztondo, and Joseph Yeo. Maybe in exchange for two more picks (2nd round 2015 and 1st round 2016)? I say Dorian Pena is also maybe too old already (don’t tell him I said that because he might just sit on me).

Rolly Mendoza 3:36pm
I believe we talked about something like this earlier in the year [READ: How to Fix Ginebra]. My idea is to ship either Helterbrand or Caguioa. I know they did a lot of things for the Barangay before, but they haven’t been as productive and as effective. It’s time that they move on so that new faces can bolster this lineup.

They should consider trading Japeth too if they are planning to draft a big man. As for their PG, Tenorio might be a good candidate to move as well. Heck, there were rumors already that Stanley Pringle for Tenorio was a possibility. I hope GlobalPort does NOT agree to that.

Don’t you find it funny that Joseph Yeo said that the San Miguel Beermen played “larong mayaman” but that mentality might be creeping into the Ginebra locker room? Plus, SMB won a championship without Yeo.

April 5, 2015
Enzo Flojo 3:43pm
Yeah, Yeo spewing what turned out to be really ironic words right there. Wait, are you saying Ginebra should part ways with Caguioa?! That’s like Purefoods without Yap or Ping. Like the Lakers without Kobe, or Minnesota without KG — oh wait, that did happen.

Don’t think Ginebra will ship out Caguioa even if the apocalypse happens. They would be crucified by their fans, for sure. The Japeth thing is intriguing because he doesn’t fit perfectly in a Ginebra team that gets big imports every time it’s the Commish Cup. Trade him for another first round pick, and that could work wonders for this team. It would also make room for Troy Rosario or any other marquee big man to fit in.

Having said that, I’m more concerned about these constant coaching changes for Ginebra. For me, dapat patient lang sila. I doubt if Frankie Lim can win a title in his first, second, or even third conference with this team. These things take time, and the franchise just has to be patient.

Rolly Mendoza 5:09pm
You’re probably right that Ginebra won’t trade Caguioa, but they should really explore unloading Helterbrand and/or Aguilar for players who can be utilized more.

I guess the roster also depends on the system that new coach Frankie Lim will employ. Tama ka na dapat patient ang management ng Ginebra. They’re also to blame for changing coaches way too early. Medyo unreasonable kasi to ask for a championship kaagad.

Enzo Flojo 6:04pm
The thing is, Ginebra being Ginebra, the expectations, by default, are unreasonable. Every game, every conference, feels like Ginebra is swimming in desperation, kaya puro desperate measures din ginagawa nila. Dapat siguro nagpatalo na lang sila sa Commish Cup ng todo para yung import nila sa Govs’ Cup sobrang laki tapos pwede pang kumuha ng Asian import. Yun sana mas ok. One step back, three steps forward.

Rolly Mendoza 10:58pm
Ah, interesting take on tanking to get a bigger import for the Governor’s Cup. However, they need a productive wingman (you mentioned this too) instead of a low post presence.

In any case, I think the fans need to preach patience to each other so that management does not panic and make hasty changes. In summary, Ginebra fans need to take it easy and just hope for the best. Too much pressure to win immediately ain’t helping the Gin Kings.

April 6, 2015
Enzo Flojo 5:09pm
Wait wait wait!!! This just in what about Ginebra dealing away Billy Mamaril for Dave Marcelo?!

Rolly Mendoza 7:11pm
Hmmm the Gin Kings swapped a tough and defensive-minded Mamaril for someone who can sometimes hit an outside shot. Marcelo is a better scorer and if he gets to play, he should be able to spread the floor.

Enzo Flojo 8:12pm
That’s the key e. Mamaril’s minutes went down. I don’t really see Marcelo playing a lot, but because he used to play for Lim, malay natin haha

Rolly Mendoza 8:17pm
Maybe Coach Lim likes the intangibles that Marcelo brings and he can play within whatever system Ginebra will operate with next conference. I like that Ginebra is tweaking the roster but they need to trade someone who plays more minutes.

Do you agree or disagree with the Hoop Nut tag team? Sound-off in our Comments Section

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Raymond Almazan ejected in return



Photo by PBA Images

It was supposed to be a redemption game for Raymond Almazan after he was benched last Wednesday for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters against the Phoenix Fuel Masters, for disciplinary reasons. But unfortunately, it went the the other way around.

The six-foot-eight center was ejected in the Elasto Painters’ match versus Kia Picanto on Friday evening at the Cuneta Astrodome, following a near-brawl that took place between him and opposing big man Eric Camson.

The incident took place with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter, with the Picanto ahead 34-31. Almazan and Camson were both inside the paint looking for position to grab the missed three-pointer of Jeremy King.

Things then went chippy afterwards, as Camson elbowed Almazan. It did not sit well with the latter and he retaliated, leading to the near-brawl that saw both players swing their arms at each other.

Almazan and Camson had to be separated by their teammates and officials. Moments later, both of them were whistled for a flagrant foul penalty two and were ordered to leave the playing court for good.

Almazan finished with six points and three rebounds in six minutes and 10 seconds of action, while Camson exited the bout with 10 markers, five rebounds, and four assists in over 16 minutes of playing time.

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Fired-up Von Pessumal on Kiefer Ravena incident: ‘I’m not here to make any friends’



Will bridges be burned?

Von Pessumal was heavily-scrutinized Friday evening after an incident with fellow Ateneo lifer Kiefer Ravena.

It took place with 9:50 left in the final frame of the San Miguel Beermen’s highly-charged tilt against the NLEX Road Warriors. After Marcio Lassiter launched a trey, Pessumal looked like he was aiming for the rebound. Instead, he simply charged towards Ravena and pushed him down.

Lassiter’s three-pointer counted, while Pessumal, who was blocked by Ravena in a fastbreak and then received a staredown moments prior, was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul.

It was a surprising sight to see considering the amount of time he and Ravena have spent together — a bond that started ever since they were in high school. Even the second-generation star admitted that he did not expect that from his former running buddy.

“I did not expect that at all,” said the NLEX rookie.

But Pessumal downplayed such incident despite attempts by scribes to make him elaborate what had really transpired during that moment.

“It’s part of the game. It’s part of the game,” the league sophomore said after the match which they won 109-98. “I don’t wanna say anything, I’m sorry.

“It’s part of the game. Whatever move on. Not a big deal.”

Asked if he was motivated to face Ravena, whom he had shared three UAAP juniors titles, two UAAP seniors crowns, and a SEA Games gold medal with, the 24-year-old shared that he approached Friday’s bout the way he usually does.

“I wouldn’t say motivated [versus Kiefer], I mean, it’s just like any other game. When I play, I don’t see who’s guarding me, I just play,” said the 6-foot-2 swingman.

“I play to win all the time.”

The incident he and Ravena figured in shadowed his performance of 10 points on 50 percent shooting off the bench — the second time he had scored in double figures this season. After Friday, Pessumal is averaging 8.25 points.

“We have to sustain the level of excellence that they (starters) have. Our job is — I wouldn’t say support, but — when we get in, we should bring the level higher so when they come back, the game is easier for them,” he said.

Pessumal was then asked if he and Ravena met each other after the buzzer sounded as the two did not even shake hands after the contest. But, through a short yet strong response, the 24-year-old said that they did not.

“I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t know, after the game?,” he expressed.

“I’m a professional basketball player, I’m not here to make any friends.”

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Yeng Guiao denies using racial slur against Chris Ross



During the post-game of the San Miguel Beermen’s victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, reigning Coach of the Year Leo Austria said that NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao had called Chris Ross the “N” word, which had caused the commotion.

According to Chris, tinawagan siya ng nigger or ganiyan,” said Austria. “I don’t know but that’s what he explained to me because I confronted Chris Ross because he’s one of the most important players in my team.

“But that’s the thing he doesn’t want to hear so nag-flare up yung bata so I cannot blame him.”

However, Guiao denied that he blurted out racial slurs against San Miguel’s Chris Ross.

“Hindi. Hindi ko tinawag na N-word. Ewan ko kung may nakarinig. Pero hindi,” clarified the fiery tactician moments after their 98-109 defeat, their third straight after starting the 2018 Philippine Cup with two straight wins.

That tussle, according to Guiao, was just filled with trash talking against each other, as he had felt the need to retaliate. In fact, Guiao was even caught by the TV camera saying “son of a bitch” towards the Filipino-American point guard.

“Daldal siya ng daldal eh. Eh sa akin naman kapag ganon, siguro respeto nalang. Lumayo ka nalang tutal mananalo naman na kayo,” he said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying, what he was talking about.

“Nakipagtrash-talking din ako sa kanya.”

Furthermore, the 58-year-old was also caught by the cameras flipping the bird — in one quick motion — also directed at Ross.

“Oo. Kasama na rin yun.

“Pero ano naman eh, it’s part of, siguro, psychological warfare. Malakas din siya mang-asar. Hindi lang naman sa amin. Everytime naman na mga ganoong skirmishes, he also knows what he’s capable of,” the seven-time champion coach furthered.

But more than this scuffle, it has been a stressful time for Guiao and the Road Warriors. They have now gone down to 2-3 in the team standings, and the mentor sees an urgent need to end this slump immediately.

“We have to arrest it very soon. Ang susunod na laro namin ay versus Rain or Shine sa Friday. So we need to go back to 50 percent win-loss level para at least may chance ka na maka-playoffs. That’s going to be a crucial game for us,” he stressed.

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Kiefer Ravena shocked with Von Pessumal’s shove: ‘I did not expect that at all’



Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal have been teammates ever since they were in high school, winning three UAAP juniors crowns together. They won two championships together in the seniors level and even played together in Gilas. They were inseparable.

Friday evening however, they were playing for separate camps.

Ravena admitted that he never expected a shove to come from Pessumal during the NLEX Road Warriors’ clash with San Miguel Beermen.

In an off-ball situation, Pessumal charged at Ravena, sending the rookie down to the floor with 9:50 remaining in the final frame. He was then whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul, and Ravena sank one from the line.

“I did not expect that at all,” admitted Ravena after the match in which they lost, 98-109 — their third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. “But hopefully Von doesn’t take it personal.

“I’m just doing my job. They won the game.”

Ravena insisted that there wasn’t any physicality between him and Pessumal prior to that, but he thinks that his former Gilas teammate may have gotten irked by his staredown after blocking him on a fastbreak play early in the fourth.

“When that fastbreak happened — the same exact possession na I challenged him, I looked at him, and after that yun na yung nangyari,” said the 23-year-old guard. “But I never instigated something to provoke Von to do that.

“Probably nung tinignan ko siya.”

Moreover, the second overall pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft felt that that incident “started all the commotions during the end game (laughs). Yun yung pinaka-una eh. And with that, the team got fired up and it worked for them.”

He may be right, for the game saw more skirmishes after that: from teammate Michael Miranda kicking Chris Ross to the groin, and with his head coach Yeng Guiao figuring in a heated verbal war also against Ross.

But then, Ravena made it clear that it was never a plan of his to put down somebody, especially someone like Pessumal who he sees as a brother for life.

“You know, Von and I, we go way back. Things like this hopefully don’t become too personal.

“I have no intention na ipapahiya yung tao or sasaktan mo yung tao. Wala namang ganun. Laro-laro lang,” said NLEX’s leading scorer.

It was somehow a night to remember for Ravena, but for all the wrong reasons. After Friday’s loss that sent their card to 2-3, the veteran internationalist now sees the need for him and the Road Warriors to push the panic button.

“‘Di na pwedeng sabihin palaging kailangan namin matuto eh. Pangatlong sunod na,” the second-generation cager expressed.

“Kailangan siguro naming umaksyon.”

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