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Hoop Nut One-on-One: Is Stanley Pringle the answer to GlobalPort’s prayers?



[nextpage title = “Is he the answer?”]
By any standard, GlobalPort sucked last season. The Batang Pier were hoping to rectify that by drafting former Penn State Nittany Lion Stanley Pringle using the top overall pick in the 2014 PBA Draft. In this edition of the Hoop Nut One-on-One we’ll see if GlobalPort is, indeed, on the mend, and whether Pringle has been a big part of that or not.
[/nextpage] [nextpage title =”Rolly: YES!”]

Rolly says:

GlobalPort Batang Pier won a total of 7 games out of 32 games played during the 39th season of the PBA. They managed a lone win in each of the import-laden conferences (Governor’s and Commissioner’s Cups). They failed to advance in 2 of the 3 tournaments, and their highest finish was 7th place out of 10 teams. Suffice to say, GlobalPort was NOT very good last season. They needed an infusion of new talent. Welcome to GlobalPort, Stanley Pringle!

Stanley Pringle was the consensus #1 overall pick during the 2014 PBA Draft. He is a Filipino-American player who played collegiate ball in the USA. He also has experience playing professional ball in Asia. Now, he has the chance to become an elite player in the PBA and raise Batang Pier from obscurity. A successful stint during the Philippine Cup should do wonders for GlobalPort and Pringle.

In his first 2 games, Pringle averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He is also shooting over 50% from the field. He has been as good as advertised. This guy can do everything on the court. He has solid range, good handles, and his basketball IQ is above average compared to a regular rookie. Furthermore, his best asset is his ability to rebound the ball like a forward, then bring the ball up like a guard to start the transition offense (or fastbreak) going for Batang Pier. How many forwards can bring the ball up and initiate the break? Not many. How many guards can rebound the ball with ferocity? Only a handful. Pringle can do both jobs with ease.

Some have likened Stanley Pringle to Jayson “The Blur” Castro of Talk N Text. Both are powerful guards that can bang with some bigger guys while still being able to run nearly as fast as smaller guards. Castro is a much better shooter and playmaker at this stage of his career while Pringle is still learning the ropes in the PBA. However, Pringle has the physical edge over Castro since he is taller and bigger than The Blur, about 2-3 inches height advantage. Pringle is also about a year younger and has “fresher” legs because he did not compete with Smart Gilas unlike Castro.

On the other hand, Pringle needs to improve his defense. He cannot simply rely on his athletic skills to recover on defense like when trailing his guy off a screen. He also needs to avoid gambling too much on passing lanes. A more conservative (and better) approach is to stay with his guy and deliver intense off-ball and/or on-ball pressure. Pringle has the strength and ability to become an excellent defender once he focuses more on those aspects of his game.

Offensively, Pringle can already drive to the hoop with relative ease and he can finish even with contact. However, his outside shot needs more work and more consistent three-point shot will do wonders for his penetrating style. In addition to that, Pringle should also try to incorporate post-up moves in his arsenal. His size and strength will always give him the advantage in the post on most (if not all) guards in the PBA.

Overall, Pringle has been impressive in his first two games in the PBA. But can he be consistent throughout the season? More importantly, can he help GlobalPort win more than 7 games for the whole season? We will have to wait for the answer, but, if you ask me, it is a resounding Y-E-S!

[/nextpage] [nextpage title =”Enzo: Not Enough!”]

Enzo says:
The first time I really saw Pringle play was back when he was still playing for the Indonesia Warriors in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). He formed a potent pairing with Indon playmaker Mario Wuysang and led the Warriors to their first and, so far, only ABL title. Even then, he already flashed the moves that are slowly making him highlight reel material in the PBA.

This is a guy who could leave his defender in the dust with wither his wicked first step or his killer crossover. He’s a deadly shooter from long distance and can finish strong around the basket. He also possesses great court vision and can hit teammates in easy scoring spots. In short, he has the skill-set to be a star on practically any level of basketball.

Has he shown that so far in the PBA? Well, as Rolly asserts, his numbers have been eye-poppingly impressive. By now, any and all PBA observers certainly know he can do damage from anywhere and in a plethora of ways. In his latest game, he had to match-up against former Gilas point guard Mark Barroca and though GlobalPort lost, Pringle held his own with 20 points, 5 boards, 4 dimes, and 3 steals.

Needless to say, if he can consistently put up similar stats, then he’ll definitely deliver on the promise of being the consensus Rookie of the Year favorite. I the stays true to form, he should be an All-Star as well.

But, and this is a pretty big but, is that enough to lift GlobalPort from the cellar of the PBA?

I say no.

On his own, despite how talented he is, in this league, I don’t see Pringle carrying GlobalPort into the upper echelon. Sure, he, along with Terrence Romeo and Alex Cabagnot, completes a terrifying troika of guards for coach Pido Jarencio, but I don’t believe even their combined firepower will be enough to compensate for the fact that their frontline is pretty shallow and they lack lockdown perimeter defenders.

I mean, yes, Pringle is awesome, but what he gives the Batang Pier is something they already had in spades anyway — great perimeter scoring and playmaking. Drafting him made sense from a best-player-available standpoint, but it didn’t plug the team’s holes.

Case in point, in the Batang Pier’s first game of the season, they were matched up with the NLEX Road Warriors. In that game, Pringle, Cabagnot, and Romeo scored a total of 70 points, but they still fell short. For most that encounter, in fact, GlobalPort seemed to be well in-control, leading at the half and heading into the fourth period. When the final frame commenced, however, the Road Warriors exposed the Batang Pier’s hole in the middle as Asi Taulava dominated at will. The big Fil-Tongan scored a dozen fourth quarter points and got to the free throw line with impunity as nobody on the Batang Pier’s frontline could stop him. Wing scorers Mac Cardona and Aldrech Ramos also did well in this game, combining for 36 markers, with Ramos making all three attempts from long range.

Interpretation? GlobalPort might as well be the PBA’s version of the Phoenix Suns. They have great guards who can do wonders on offense, but they don’t have the kind of interior presence and overall defensive toughness that would elevate them alongside the true title contenders.

So, is Stanley Pringle just what the doctor ordered? As good as he is, as jaw-droppingly awesome as I think he will be in the very near future, I just don’t think he’s the be-all, end-all answer to GlobalPort’s woes.


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Calvin Abueva rejuvenated with return of physical play: ‘Masarap maglaro’



Photo by PBA Images

For Calvin Abueva, it feels great to play in the PBA nowadays.

The Beast, who has always been known as one of the league’s most physical players since entering in 2012, was all praises for the way the officiating has changed this 43rd season — by just letting all the players play.

“Mas gumanda yung tawagan ngayon, naging physical nga. Naging exciting para sa mga tao, mas marami na nanonood ngayon eh,” said Abueva moments after their 97-83 victory over the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Sunday night.

As has been said many times, physicality had become something controlled over the last two years. Abueva knows it too well, having been a casualty, as he has paid a bevy of penalties during that time.

And now that it is a thing of the past, the 6-foot-2 bruiser feels much better, knowing that he can display his brand of basketball once more.

“Masarap maglaro, talagang pisikalan,” said the 29-year-old forward from Angeles, Pampanga. “Siyempre makikita naman natin kung sinasadya o hindi, basta katawan lang.

“Pisikal. Yun yung magandang laro di ba?”

Aside from the comeback of physicality, what makes Abueva beam even more is the way the Aces have been playing in the 2018 Philippine Cup. After a 0-2 start in the tourney, they have now booked their third straight win.

“Nung 2017 parang nilubog na namin yung losing streak namin doon. Ito 2018 na at panibagong destination na naman yung ina-ano namin,” said Abueva, who had nine points, nine rebounds, and five assists against Ginebra.

“Sustain muna namin ‘to… Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘tong winning streak namin.”

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Alaska takes advantage of Greg Slaughter’s absence



For the streaking Alaska Aces, their stunning 97-83 victory over the favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday night was partly made possible by the absence of one key player: seven-foot behemoth Greg Slaughter.

The 28-year-old center, who was averaging 20.67 points and 10.3 rebounds prior to Sunday, did not play against the Aces due to a hamstring injury. How he incurred the injury has yet to be determined.

“There’s a small person named Greg Slaughter who didn’t play; I think he has an impact on the game,” quipped coach Alex Compton after the match.

“[They missed] a guy who I think is gonna win an MVP soon in Greg Slaughter.

“Sometimes dito sa liga natin, you have to take advantage when opportunities come your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt [though],” added Compton.

With Slaughter out of the way, the Aces’ big men feasted.

Vic Manuel top-billed with 18 points and five rebounds, and elder statesman Sonny Thoss turned back the clock with a 17-point, four-rebound outing.

“Malaking bonus na rin sa amin, kasi wala nga si Greg kaya nakuha namin yung panalo,” said Manuel.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” added the six-foot-seven Thoss, who shot 6-of-12 from the floor and made four of his freebies.

“He’s a big guy, he’s a big presence inside so it took one big guy off our shoulder.”

Slaughter was approached and asked by scribes regarding his injury, but he was not in the mood to comment. No one can blame him, though, since the Barangay have slipped to their second straight defeat after a 2-0 start.

“I’m always there in practice, going over our gameplans. But it’s better if you ask our PT,” he said.

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Alaska completes turnaround at Greg Slaughter-less Ginebra’s expense



Photo by PBA Images

A strong second half surge was all the Alaska Aces needed to turn back the heavily-favored Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 97-83, and book their third straight victory, Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The Aces, who have yet to lose this 2018, have now improved to 3-2. Meanwhile, the Barangay absorbed their second straight loss and have dropped to 2-2.

“I was telling the guys na parang ang dami nating iniisip, hindi natin ginagawa yung ginagawa natin noong nakaraang dalawang linggo. Sabi ko relax lang tayo,” said coach Alex Compton, sharing what he told his wards that sparked the win.

Vic Manuel led the Milkmen with 18 points and five rebounds. Sonny Thoss turned back the clock as he made 17 markers on 6-of-12 shooting, while Chris Banchero supplied 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

The Aces were trailing by eight, 36-44 at the half, but it became a different ball game come the third chapter as they outscored the Gin Kings, 37 to 19, to erect a favorable 73-63 cushion heading into the game’s final 12 minutes.

From there, Alaska kept their foot on the gas to sustain their lead, which grew to as much as 18, 85-67, after their 6-0 spree — punctuated by Banchero’s lay-up plus a foul — with 6:14 remaining in the final frame.

Ginebra still tried to make one last push as they inched within 10, 75-85, but baskets by Thoss and Kevin Racal propelled Alaska to an 89-75 lead with 3:42 left to play — more than enough to knock out their counterparts.

“I was glad to come away with the win,” added Compton. “Sometimes, we have to take advantage of opportunities coming your way. You don’t want anybody to get hurt but when two number one picks on the other team aren’t playing… There.”

Jvee Casio had 13 markers for Alaska, while Calvin Abueva nearly had a double-double of nine points and nine boards along with five assists in 20 minutes.

Aljon Mariano had 15 points, nine rebounds, and three dimes for Ginebra, who — despite having Sol Mercado back in the fold after ankle issues — missed the services of Joe Devance and Greg Slaughter due to injuries.

Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Kevin Ferrer each scored 12 for the Barangay, with Thompson adding five assists. The trio combined for 15 of Ginebra’s 43 rebounds.

Alaska will aim to extend their streak versus the Blackwater Elite on Saturday, January 27 at 4:30 PM, while Ginebra will look to end their slump against the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 PM. Both games are at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Alaska 97 — Manuel 18, Thoss 17, Banchero 14, Casio 13, Abueva 9, Teng 9, Cruz 5, Enciso 3, Potts 3, Exciminiano 2, Magat 2, Racal 2, J. Pascual 0.

Ginebra 83 — Mariano 15, J. Aguilar 12, Ferrer 12, Thompson 12, Caguioa 8, Cruz 8, R. Aguilar 5, Tenorio 5, Mercado 2, Taha 2, Wilson 2, Jamito 0.

Quarterscores: 26-23, 36-44, 73-63, 97-83.

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Frustrated Jared Dillinger admits ‘he’s getting sick’ of Meralco’s bad PH Cup runs



It’s no secret that the Meralco Bolts have struggled in the Philippine Cup for the last three years. During the last two seasons, the eight-year-old franchise’s win-loss tally is four wins and 18 losses.

And in the 2018 edition, the narrative has been the same, with little to no hope of it turning the other way around.

The Bolts bowed to the TNT Katropa, 99-81, Sunday night — their third straight defeat after winning over Blackwater Elite in their opener last December. If things continue as they are, it looks like another poor all-Filipino tilt run is looming.

“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” said Jared Dillinger, who had 14 points and five caroms in the match at Ynares Center in Antipolo. “It’s a long season though… We [shouldn’t] panic but it’s not fun right now.

“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every damn Philippine Cup we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it.”

In this game, Meralco missed the services of top forwards Ranidel De Ocampo and Cliff Hodge due to injuries. But for Dillinger, those issues shouldn’t be excuses.

“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up,” asserted Dillinger, who has been with the franchise since 2013.

“It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being smart.”

Asked what went wrong in this particular loss versus their sister team, where they shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and had committed 17 turnovers, the 10-year veteran lamented the poor effort that the Bolts put up.

“TNT didn’t do anything much, given that they played well. But they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, and they got open shots,” added the 10-year pro, as TNT made 23 assists and shot 18 triples.

“Our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”

Meralco have a chance to end their slump against the Kia Picanto this Wednesday. Dillinger sees it as a do-or-die affair, warning that it will be a grind-out affair knowing that the Picanto is coming off a skid-ending win over Rain or Shine.

Do-or-die ’cause that’s gonna be a playoff game. Thank God they beat Rain or Shine ’cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a 0-16 [team]. You don’t want to play teams like that,” stressed the all-around forward.

“Nothing to take away from Kia though. It’s gonna be tough.”

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