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Willie Miller making invaluable impact on and off the court



Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson wasn’t happy at all after Willie Miller gave Chico Lanete the open lane for two straight possessions in the second quarter.

Miller did it for the third time, and after Lanete scored, Johnson finally had enough.

“Let’s play some defense! You’re better than that,” Johnson shouted in the face of Miller, venting his ire while feeling there is no reason to let up even with the Tropang Texters ahead by more than 20 points.

Johnson’s facial expression was full of wrath that he would have just smothered Miller if he wanted to, but by halftime, the two were seen laughing excessively, as the former two-time PBA Most Valuable Player once again cracked a joke:

“Sorry man, it’s an off night for my defense.”

Laughter ensued.

In the second half, Miller instigated even more fun to happen while on the bench. It is the Tropang Texters’ ritual to do “high-threes” (a variation of the high-five where the players are forming a three sign) whenever the team knocks down a triple. For each trey the Tropang Texters’ hit, Miller gets on his feet, roams around the entire bench to slap fingers with the rest of his teammates.

On some occasions he even shoves his hand to his teammates’ faces, showing them they hit a three, literally.

“Touch as many players as you can while having the three sign. Automatic kulitan yun. Masaya e. Minsan sa tenga, minsan sa mukha,” Miller shared, smiling as usual.

Talk ‘N Text went on to crush Barako Bull, 127-97 to punch a ticket to the semi-finals. Johnson had 35 points and 15 rebounds, nailing six of his 11 attempts from deep. Miller meanwhile, was scoreless and missed his only attempt in limited play.

Being in a heated affair with an import due to his funny antics is nothing new for Miller. Rafe Bartholemew once detailed in his book Pacific Rims how former Alaska import Roe Ellis got angered by Miller’s jovial attitude, accusing him of not taking practice and the championship series seriously. In the end, Alaska would win the 2007 Fiesta Conference title, with Ellis and Miller having their photos taken together.

“Kailangan e. Kailangan buo kayo. Pagdating ng laro kailangan maayos ang chemistry niyo and it starts naman sa labas e. May time na masaya, may time na kailangan magseryoso ka,” Miller said on why he acts that way ever since.

Now 37 years old and with multiple championships and individual accolades across his storied PBA career, Miller doesn’t wow people with his numbers anymore. After all, he doesn’t have to and it is not just because they have guys like Jayson Castro and Kevin Alas. He doesn’t have to impress because his impact goes way beyond the boxscores and what is seen on television.

He’s no thriller on the floor. He is glued to the bench and is averaging only 6.3 PPG in 16 minutes a game. But how he affects the team stretches as far as where his team goes — the dugout, the practice facility, the restaurant where they will have their team dinner, and much more.


Talk ‘N Text team manager Jimmy Alapag, a long-time teammate of Miller during the 2000s, understands what value Miller brings whether it is on the floor or not.

“He is a winner and that is the most important thing. Anytime you can bring in a two-time MVP whose won multiple championships in the PBA, he knows what the coaches are all about. I’m always lucky enough to have a chance to play with him,” he said.

“There has to be balance, and Miller knows that. In practice, we have work to do, and he is one of the first ones to arrive. Now that we are preparing for the semis, having someone with his capability will only help us.”

The Tropang Texters will be in for a tough grind against the Purefoods Star Hotshots, but people can expect Miller to be his usual goofy self. It’s how he wants to be part of the fun.

“Hindi pa rin [ako magiging seryoso lang sa semis]. Mas masaya kung mas relaxed ako. Pag hindi ako nangungulit, parang tense yung laro. Mas mahirap, hindi ako nakakagalaw.”

Whether it’s on or off the court, Miller is still making an impact.

1 Comment
  • BenJo Cueto

    galing mo na magsulat sir..


Calvin Abueva, Raymond Almazan cut from pool



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



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



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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Michael Calisaan tows Che’lu-San Sebastian past Perpetual



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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