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Stats Don’t Lie: Are we in for a new San Miguel Beermen dynasty?



After winning two titles in season 40, we can officially say goodbye to Petronovela.

The Beermen finally put the pieces together and came up with championships in both the All Filipino and Governor’s Cup behind strong performances from everyone on their roster.

With that said, I can’t help but ask: could we be in for a solid run of titles similar to what we saw in early 2000’s? That group of Beermen ended up making several Finals appearances, winning 5 titles in a span of three seasons.

The similarities are hard to ignore.

The San Miguel Beermen from the early 2000’s From:

Danny Ildefonso, a back-to-back MVP recipient, led the Beermen during his era while the current iteration is led by the Kraken, Junemar Fajardo. At the forward position, we have legit jump shooting scorers in Danny Seigle and Arwind Santos.

The 2000 edition had the legendary Olsen Racela manning the point. This year, the comebacking Alex Cabagnot showed us why he is one of the most dangerous point guards in the league. Add in gunner Marcio Lassiter – arguably the best two-guard in the league and by far the best shooter – and underrated guards Chris Lutz and Chris Ross, and the Beermen have the best roster on paper and on the floor in the league. To think, they’ve got guys like Tubid, Espinas, Semerad, and former #3 pick Ronald Pascual (don’t sleep on this guy – he could be quite solid in a few years) manning the bench.

Lassiter in particular is the one guy who just elevates the team to a whole new level. Yes, Junemar and Arwind have won MVPs and Alex is the running the show, but Marcio is the PBA’s Ray Allen. The site of seeing him wide open in the left corner…

…or coming off a staggered screen…

would make any Rain or Shine or Alaska fan just cringe.

By the end of the eight games he played in the semifinals and finals, Marcio shot a blistering 49.1% from 3, including an insane 64% on corner threes.

By game 3 of the Finals, Alaska finally figured out that they would play the percentages and take their chances letting San Miguel shoot 3s from the wings – where they were shooting a much lower percentage – or letting lesser shooters beat them.

This, for the most part, worked but the only problem though of course was that Beermen still had Fajardo and Reid to feed the ball to and get them bucket after bucket.

And that’s what makes the Beermen so dangerous. They have at least five guys who can play for the National Team. In the past, having this many solid superstars has worked against them. Now however, these guys have largely put aside their egos (namely, Santos and Cabagnot) for the betterment of the team.

It’s clear that Alex’s leadership role is growing, as he consistently is teaching his teammates on what to do and what to expect next. Add in his mastery of the ball screen (51%FG on ball screens during the semis and finals) and his control of the game on the court, it’s clear that his teammates are letting him take the lead.

He’s the engine that makes them go, as he can create for himself:

Or set up his teammates for wide open jumpers

Meanwhile, Santos has taken a backseat and to play off of Fajardo and Cabagnot – rightfully so though – to allow the two to maximize their games. We’ve heard rumors in the past of Santos and Cabagnot having an internal power struggle in the locker room, but I suppose what they say is true: winning solves everything.

PBA-Governors-Cup-Leo-AustriaThis is a credit to Coach Leo Austria, who’s proven that he more than belongs and “can compete” in the big league. He’s gotten some of the biggest superstars in the league to buy into his system. To think, there were rumors that after the poor performance in the Commissioner’s Cup, right after they had just won the Philippine Cup, management was considering replacing Austria.

And that’s where a lot of the drama has started – not on the court, but in the meeting room. For years, SMC management has been working on the premise that if it ain’t working, fix it by changing coaches and rosters without letting them to grow. Just take a look at what’s happening to Ginebra now. Now that Ginebra has gotten Tim Cone in fold, will they be the focus of SMC management? Could this dip into the resource pool of players/coaches they have at hand and deter San Miguel Beer from winning more championships?

Regardless of what happens with management and the other SMC teams, if everything remains the same, it would appear that the Beermen have a legit window to keep adding championships to its trophy room. The average age of the Beermen is just 29.9 years old, including Fajardo and Lassiter who are just 26 and 28 respectively, and are just entering their primes. Super import Arizona Reid has hinted that he’ll comeback next season after initially suggesting that he would retire this year.

As for the competition, Ginebra will definitely be entering a transition period as they still have to learn Cone’s system. Star may or may not be in disarray mode following the coaching change. Alaska should continue to contend, but they’ve got an aging roster and without any means of adding a superstar, they will ll have to rely on the growth of rookie head coach Alex Compton and a little luck in signing up the right import. ROS will always be good, but their lack of personnel who can match up with Fajardo will always be a problem.

pba4The biggest threat will most likely be Talk ‘N Text, who are looking to add reinforcements with the number one and two picks in this year’s draft.

Nevertheless, with the current core in place, and the championship experience gained this year, it’s starting to look like San Miguel Beermen will be the favorite to win it all the next few years. Can someone say Grand Slam?

1 Comment
  • Jayskie Ender

    The picture was not the San Miguel team from early 2000. As you can see Cortez, Pennisi, and Tugade were already there. Take a close look at Olsen’s shoes (Hyperize) and Don-don’s(Kobe V), they were released before the 2009-2010 season.


Perpetual escapes upset-hungry EAC



Fighting off a sluggish start, the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Lady Altas came alive late to slip past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14, 23-25, 15-13, and remain on pace for a spot in the NCAA Season 93 Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Taking on a struggling EAC side, Perpetual head coach Michael Cariño knew that there was a possibility that his squad would relax. His team has had trouble starting and finishing off matches, as evidenced in their first set performance and lack of finishing push in the fourth frame.

“May tendency talaga ‘yung team ko na mag-relax. Sabihin na nating hindi kasi sobrang lakas ng kalaban. Pero alam naman natin sa volleyball na wala namang team na ibibigay sa’yo ‘yung panalo, kailangan kunin mo talaga,” Cariño lamented.

The fifth frame came down to late breaks. The Lady Altas broke a 13-all tie with back-to-back transition conversions from Cindy Imbo and Lourdes Clemente.

“Siyempre, nage-expect ako nang mas maganda pang performance sa team ko. Alam din naman nila na mas may ibubuga pa sila kaya kailangan mas maganda ang ipakita namin sa mga huli naming laro,” the NCAA champion mentor added.

Imbo tallied a game-high 17 points, while Clemente and Maria Aurora Tripoli added 15 points, apiece. The Lady Altas needed all of their 11 aces and 11 blocks to offset their season-high 42 errors.

Aira Binondo was the only Lady General in double-digits with 13 points.

The Lady Altas (3-1) next face the Jose Rizal University (2-2) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (0-4) will look for their first win on Monday against the College of Saint Benilde (2-1).

The Scores

UPHSD (3) – Imbo 17, Clemente 15, Tripoli 15, Sangalang 11, Llorente 10, Versoza 4, Estanislao 1, Gual 1, Umandal 0, Medalla (L)

EAC (2) – Binondo 13, Tongco 9, Pablo 8, Lumbao 7, Magbanua 7, Reyes A. 3, Reyes K. 3, Tasis 2, Yongco 1, Medina (L)

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Altas steamroll Generals for fourth win



The University of Perptual Help System DALTA Altas maintained top-billing in the NCAA Season 93 Men’s Volleyball tournament after cruising past the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals, 25-14, 25-19, 25-11, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Last season’s runners-up dominated right from the first point and never let the Generals sniff the lead. The Altas outclassed the San Marcelino-based program in every scoring category, tallying a season-high 13 blocks to EAC’s three.

The Altas also maintained their solid passing this season, a trend that delighted head coach Sammy Acaylar.

“Isa ‘yun sa mga bagay na tinututukan ko talaga sa kanila kasi we know na we can be good at attacking and blocking. We just need to be consistent on floor defense and reception,” said Acaylar, as the Altas were 58 percent on excellent receives.

“Kahit maganda ang nilalaro namin ngayon, alam naman ng mga bata ang end goal namin which is to win a championship. So kailangan isa-isa lang ang tingin namin sa mga laro kasi marami pang challenges na darating bago namin makamit ang championship,” the decorated mentor added.

Graduating team captain Rey Taneo towed the Las Piñas-based spikers with 12 points coming off seven attacks and five blocks. Joebert Almodiel added 11 points.

Open hitter Joshua Mina was the lone bright spot for the Generals, scoring 13 points.

Perpetual (4-0) look to keep streaking when they face the struggling Jose Rizal University (0-4) on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. EAC (2-2) take on the defending champions College of Saint Benilde (2-1) on Monday, also at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

The Scores:

UPHSD (3) – Taneo 12, Almodiel 11, Rosales 10, Muhali 8, Ramos 8, Atentar 1, Solamilo 1, Bateon 0, Catipay 0, Salo 0, Taneo S. 0, Kalingking (L)

EAC (0) – Mina 13, Lim 5, Ilano 4, Rasing 2, Castelano 0, Garcia 0, Panoy 0, Magadan (L)

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Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest



Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

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.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric



Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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