For years, seven-time PBA champion coach Yeng Guiao has been known to be unconventional. From the way he shuffles his players to his hard-nosed defensive schemes, Guiao has always worked outside of the norm.
But a controversial trade between the Kia Picanto and the San Miguel Beermen during the tail-end of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup shook the conventional. Kia shipped the first overall pick in the 2017 PBA Draft for San Miguel’s bench players.
“Don’t get me wrong, Christian Standhardinger is a great player. The boy has big potential,” shared Kia team manager Joe Lipa about the trade. “It just so happened that our philosophy is to play an unconventional type of basketball. As much as possible, we would like to play beyond the book. Example, we would like to shift to our philosophy which is there will be no positions.
“We would like to be competitive that’s why we thought of this idea of playing unconventional basketball.”
Playing with a chip on their shoulder is what makes Kia dangerous believes Guiao. And even with a loaded line-up that features the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, the fiery head coach is not going to take things lightly come December 20 at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
“The problem with that is Kia has something to prove especially after the controversy,” said Guiao. “A team that has something to prove is always dangerous and that is something that we have to be careful of. Some people think that Kia is an easy assignment but it’s not.
“I think it’s still going to be better than the team it was last season.”
Guiao has a lot to be worried about Kia as last year, the then-Mahindra Floodbuster defeated them twice last season, 96-106 in the Philippine Cup and 81-89 in the Commissioner’s Cup. With the addition of veterans Jay-R Reyes and Ronald Tubid, the Picanto might have found the leaders they needed to stun the Road Warriors anew.
“Certainly, Reyes and Tubid will be able to help them,” Guiao furthered. “Ang tanong lang naman diyan is sino ba ang mas makakatulong, yung grupo nila ngayon o pag kinuha nila si Standhardinger? But I guess, what is certain is, either way nakinabang ba sila? Ang tanong lang naman is mas makikinabang ba sila pag si Standhardinger ang nandiyan?
“But definitely they will be a better team than last year. That’s what we have to prepare for.”
Moreover, Guiao is in the dark as to what Kia’s “unconventional” style will bring to the game. All he can do is focus on what he can control.
“Hindi pa nga namin nakita kung ano yung unconventional na sinasabi nila. We are also going to be in the dark because that might be the weapon they are talking about,” Guiao shared.
“Everybody is curious kung ano ba talaga yung tinatago nila na unconventional na sistema.”
Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest
Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.
In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.
Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.
Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.
Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.
After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.
In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.
With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.
Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates
Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.
And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.
The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.
“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.
But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.
“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”
Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.
TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,
With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting
Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.
But, as they say, good things must come to an end.
Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.
“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.
“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”
It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.
“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.
“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”
But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.
“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”
Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.
“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.
“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”
Kelly Williams rides Angkas to make it to TNT game
The TNT Katropa almost played shorthanded when they took on the Blackwater Elite Wednesday evening at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Early in the afternoon, a fire broke out in C5 that caused major traffic in the area. One of the people that was stuck was TNT’s 12-year veteran Kelly Williams.
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) January 17, 2018
“Coming from the South, I got to Taguig in about two and a half hours and I heard there was a fire on C5 and I was like, ‘Oh my god what am I going to do?’,” recalled Williams.
“I considered running, I considered jogging. Whatever you got to do, crawl, walk or run.”
Panicking, the 6-foot-6 Filipino-American was adviced by his driver to download Philippine-based mobile app Angkas — a motorcycle service provider. And it was one heck of a ride for the big man.
“My driver said check Angkas, an Uber for motorcycles. Okay. Quickly got out of the car in the middle of the C5, the middle of traffic, found this guy under the overpass, he was surprised to see me,” narrated animatedly by Williams.
“I got my helmet on, jumped on the bicycle and we got here for about 40 minutes,” he furthered. “Every stoplight, the other motorcycles pull up, double take, ‘Oh, what are you doing here?’, ‘Hi guys!’ It was fun, it was actually pretty fun but never again, make sure you plan ahead guys if you possibly get stuck in traffic.
“But it was a good experience for me. You get to see Manila in a different light.”
Around midway through the first quarter of the game, Williams finally arrived. Though relieved to see him, coach Nash Racela and the rest of the Katropa made sure to let him know that he was late.
“Good experience, I apologized to the team, I owe them a team lunch or something and I told coach I won’t do it again,” the 35-year-old expressed.
“Let’s pray that it doesn’t happen again.”
Williams compensated for it by giving TNT quality minutes. During their 92-83 win against the Elite, he tallied six points, six rebounds, and four blocks in just 17 minutes of action.
“You got to come out there with extra effort after coming in late like that. But it’s always my intention to come out and do whatever I have to do,” he expressed.
“Luckily, I was in a good position to get some blocks and it worked out that way.”
And he owes a lot to his driver Richard, who got him to the venue just in time.
“It was a good experience though, thank you to the cyclist, I think his name is Richard or something like that, he’s a lifesaver.
“I tipped him very handsomely. It was about a hundred but I’m sure I paid with whatever was in my pocket because I was very grateful,” he quipped.
Still, he knows that he also owes a lot to his team. He plans on making it up by treating everyone to lunch during their next practice.
Lesson learned for Kelly.
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