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Stats Don’t Lie: The Rocket Refueled

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Imagine a 6’4” forward who graduated from one of the biggest basketball programs in college basketball. Add above-average athleticism, decent basketball I.Q. and an explosive offensive game. Throw in a beautiful actress/model/host for a wife. You’d think you’d have your classic PBA superstar right?

Yes… but not quite.

JC Intal is a good basketball player. But ask any PBA fanatic, and I’m pretty darn sure you wouldn’t classify him as a “superstar”, like you would a Marcio Lassiter and Jeff Chan – guys who are asked to do what superstars normally do – which is score. That’s pretty much summed JC’s career so far – a supreme athlete, gifted with superb talent, but one who hasn’t figured it out quite yet.

He owns career averages of 6.78 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 1.2 apg in just 18 minutes per game. The numbers are ho-hum, and don’t necessarily scream BUST, but, for many people, it is somewhat disappointing given his “potential”.

Don’t look now though, but it seems that he’s finally found a home at Barako, and is putting his talents to good use. As of March 23, JC has averaged 13.7 ppg 4.5 rpg and 2.25 apg this conference.

These numbers are also comparable to other scoring wings when you compare per-36 figures:

PLAYERPPGRPGAPGUSG%eFG%Net Rating
Intal15.65.72.423.0%45.9%3.1
Lassiter12.44.32.219.1%41.8%5.2
Chan14.24.12.821.0%42.7%1.6

(shout out to our buddies from HumbleBola.com for these stats)
*USG% is the percent of possessions that a player uses, while he’s on the floor
* Net rating = how many points per 100 possessions a player contributes to his team while on the floor

You might be saying, how can you compare Intal to Lassiter/Chan – those guys are flat-out SHOOTERS. I can’t argue with you there – those guys have their reputations for a reason. The reason I made this comparison is because they’re all asked to do the same thing, which is score.

Furthermore, one of the reasons why JC’s game has picked up is his outside shooting. In this conference so far, Intal’s hit 35% of his shots from behind the arc, which is far above his career average of 26.4%. Intal shotchart (For the record, Lassiter and Chan are shooting 30.8% and 32.3% from 3 this conference)

What’s even more impressive than the improvement in his 3-point shooting, is that he’s hit 44% of his pull-up jumpers – often regarded as one of the weaknesses of his game.

Moreover, it isn’t as if this is just a one conference blip. Last All-Filipino, JC put up per-36 numbers of 16.0 ppg, 6.4rpg, and 2.0 apg with a usage rate of 23.2%, a figure just slightly above that for the Commissioner’s Cup.

With all this in mind, does this mean that Intal is finally ready to accept the mantle of being a “superstar”? IntalxLassiterxLutz The stats suggest that yes, The Rocket is ready to take on a bigger role. His only problem is that he’s playing on Barako, widely regarded as a “farm team” of San Miguel. The only other “star” on the team is Sol Mercado, who’s actually only played two games for the Energy, and has bounce around the league more times than a star probably should.

On one hand, you can argue that JC’s situation is simply a case of a good-stats-on-a-bad-team body of work. After all, somebody has to take the shots. Why not Intal? Even a dude like Reil Cervantes was SECOND in the league in scoring last conference, while playing for the PrideSorento … Carnival. Shouldn’t it be easy to put up numbers on a team full of “cast-offs” and “projects”?

On the other hand, you can say that this actually makes Intal’s job that much harder. Imagine being Marcio Lassiter, who is sometimes the FIFTH option on offense if he’s on the floor with Fajardo, Santos, Cabagnot, and Lutz. Or what about Chan?

Chan lee belga He’s got fellow Gilas members Lee, Norwood, and Belga to help ease the scoring duties.

All that being said, I think what we’re seeing is a transformation in JC’s game, but perhaps on the wrong team. Yes, JC’s being allowed to develop and grow his game, but with his demeanor and style of play, he’s best-suited not being the focal point of an offense. Think of somebody like a Scottie Pippen or Kawhi Leonard. Somebody who’s good enough to be the main man, but doesn’t have to be.

Imagine JC strutting his wares at GlobalPort as the third option behind guards Romeo and Pringle ,or wreaking havoc in the open court with Calvin Abueva and Cyrus Baguio on the wings. He can be a game-changer on the right team, in the right situation. Unfortunately, a superstar he is not, but that’s okay. He’s taking the right steps towards making his mark on the PBA.

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Basketball

Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool

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SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ third session for the second leg of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers ended early on Monday evening.

Prior to the end of the practice, head coach Chot Reyes talked to team veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo. The outspoken mentor told the seniors of the team that he is cutting Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan from the pool.

“The reason why we’re dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is because they haven’t showed up,” lamented Reyes.

“It’s already our third practice at hindi pa sila nagpapakita. It’s simply a matter of disinterest.

“I guess they’re not interested so we have to move on we can’t wait for those guys,” he pointed out.

Both Abueva and Almazan were part of the teams that competed in the 2017 SEABA Championship, the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup, and the first window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Only 10 players from the pool showed up for the team’s third session. And with the second leg exactly one month away, Gilas cannot let a slip up happen especially against Australia.

“Aside from those two we don’t know where Matt Wright is, while Allein [Maliksi] is attending a wedding in Australia. Other than that it’s really just an issue of Calvin and Raymond if they don’t want to be a part of the pool.” expressed Reyes.

“That’s the reason we’re dropping them for the second window.”

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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

23 for 2023 cadets fill up Gilas practice

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With just 31 days until the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, only 10 players from the pool attended the team’s third session, Monday evening at the Meralco Gym.

Suiting up in the session presided over by Coach Chot Reyes were June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Troy Rosario, Jio Jalalon, Mac Belo, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, and Roger Pogoy. Carl Cruz and Jayson Castro were in attendance but were in street clothes.

Not present were Matthew Wright, Japeth Aguilar, and Allein Maliksi. Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan have yet to attend practice.

Joining the seniors team to prep them up for the World Cup Qualifiers were 10 players from the 23 for 2023 pool.

Ateneo Blue Eagle Matt Nieto attended his first Gilas practice. Joining him were teammates Isaac Go and Thirdy Ravena.

Completing the night’s cast were CJ Perez, Abu Tratter, Will Gozum, J-jay Alejandro, Arvin Tolentino, and Juan Gomez de Liano. Joshua Sinclair watched from the sidelines as he is still recovering from an ACL injury.

Gilas will take on Australia in Melbourne on February 22. The Philippine will then host Japan three days later at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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CSJL

San Beda fends off Letran for back-to-back wins

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With seasoned setter John Carlo Desuyo steering the wheel to near perfection, the San Beda College romped to their second straight win.

The Red Spikers pulled double-digit outings from four players to upend archrival Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-22, and register their fourth win of the season, Monday early evening at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

It was the Knights, however, who started on the right foot, overhauling a 4-10 deficit to snag the first set. Better passing from liberos Aljune Centeno and Johnsen Timbreza resulted in kills from captain Bobby Gatdula.

Nonetheless, San Beda picked up the service game in the next three sets to ultimately finish off the blue-shirts.

Despite the win-loss record they currently sport, the Red Spiker playmaker admitted that t

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Basketball

Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual

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Photo by PBA Images

Michael Calisaan poured 20 points as he captained newcomer Che’Lu-San Sebastian Revellers to a decisive 83-70 win over the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA Altas to start their voyage, Monday evening at the Pasig City Sports Center.

Doing it all for the Revellers, the veteran forward provided the stability for his side as he shot 8-of-15 from the field while also hauling down nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the conference-opening win.

But it wasn’t all Calisaan as Che’Lu got contributions from all over its roster.

Samboy de Leon chimed in 16 markers and nine boards. RK Ilagan went 2-of-5 from threes to collect 13 points, eight dimes, and three rebounds, while big men Alfred Batino and Jeepy Faundo combined for 20 in the victory.

Despite the triumph, coach Stevenson Tiu gave all the praise to his players, noting the team’s lack of time preparing for the tourney.

“Nanalo kami dahil sa talent ng players. Medyo mali ko rin kasi nahirapan pa ako mag-adjust sa players. Hopefully, we play much better in the coming games,” he said.

The Revellers used a 16-4 run to finally break away from the Altas, taking a 77-60 lead with 4:03 to play as they punished their foes for their turnovers, turning Perpetual’s 30 miscues to 28 points in their favor.

Prince Eze anchored the Altas with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in their first game under new head coach Frankie Lim.

Che’lu-San Sebastian look to make it two in a row when they take on the Wangs-Letran Couriers on Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm. Perpetual, on the other hand, hope they can notch their first win when they take on Mila’s Lechon Mighty Roasters.

The Scores:

Che’lu-SSCR 83 — Calisaan 20, De Leon 16, Ilagan 13, Batino 10, Faundo 10, Bulanadi 6, Costelo 6, Calma 2, David 0, Lao 0, Santos 0, Valdez 0.

UPHSD 70 — Eze 15, Coronel 13, Villanueva 13, Jimenez 9, Charcos 7, Peralta 7, Gallardo 5, Pido 1, Antonio 0, Aurin 0, Tamayo 0, Tongco 0.

Quarterscores: 17-22, 34-38, 59-53, 83-70.

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