Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 26, 2014

RR Garcia and Carlo Lastimosa led Barako Bull in routing Blackwater, while Purefoods had to scramble to get past an inspired Kia side in 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup action last night.   

Top: RR Garcia dropped a big game against Blackwater.
Bottom: Playing-Coach Manny Pacquiao back from his victorious fight.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

BARAKO BULL ENERGY over BLACKWATER ELITE, 97-82
Barako Bull, behind sizzling shooting performances from sophomore guards RR Garcia and Carlo Lastimosa, eliminated expansion team Blackwater after picking up a third win via a 97-82 rout on Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City. Garcia, a former UAAP MVP, finished with 16 big points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter. Lastimosa provided a spark off the bench, likewise scoring 16 in just over 17 minutes of play. He shot 7-for-11 from the field and dropped eight of his points in the lopsided fourth period. Rookie Jake Pascual added 13 points for the Energy. Barako Bull improved to 3-6 for the season, making it mathematically impossible for Blackwater (0-9) to crack the top 10 with only two games remaining in their schedule. Big man Bryan Faundo paced the Elite with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Cebu product Brian Heruela added 19 markers and 6 dimes in the losing cause.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#NBA2015: Power Rankings: Week 4

While LeBron and the Cavs are struggling in Cleveland and the Bulls are encountering early injury woes, the Raptors and Wizards have taken full advantage to sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. Both Toronto and Washington were projected to be playoff teams but not a lot (including me) thought they would be #1 and #2 this early. Of course, there's still a lot of games to be played so the Cavs and Bulls can easily overtake them during the course of the season.  

Meanwhile in the West, the Grizzlies and Warriors are tied in the loss column but the slight edge goes to Memphis due to having more wins. The Blazers and Rockets are also in the thick of things in the ultra-competitive West.    

The standings are current up to November 26, 2014 (Manila time).

The rankings from Last Week refer to Week 3.

Please hit the comments and follow me on Twitter @rolly_hoopnut


Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors are the best team in the East
(Image from: USA Today Sports)
1. Memphis Grizzlies | 12-2 | Last Week: 1 | Same
The Grizzlies manhandled the Clippers with Marc Gasol leading the way with 30 points and 12 boards. Gasol looks lighter and faster. He is averaging a career-high 20 ppg and is one of the early candidates for MVP. 
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#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 25, 2014

San Miguel Beer made quick work of GlobalPort to tie Alaska at first place, while Paul Lee broke NLEX’s hearts in the second game of tonight’s 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup double-header.     

Arwind Santos and Paul Lee stepped up to lead their respective teams to victories tonight.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

SAN MIGUEL BEER over GLOBAPORT BATANG PIER, 95-69
The San Miguel Beermen dominated the second quarter as they cruised to a lopsided victory over GlobalPort, 95-69, to climb back into a share of the PBA Philippine Cup lead. San Miguel outscored GlobalPort by 23 points in a furious second period as they opened up a huge lead that they would never relinquish on their way to a league-best 7-1 record, tied with Alaska. Arwind Santos led the way with 19 points, while reigning PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds in another double-double performance. Chris Ross and Ronald Tubid each added 12, while Chris Lutz had 10. It helped that the Beermen were able to put the defensive clamps on GlobalPort’s star trio. No. 1 pick Stanley Pringle scored 11 points on 5-for-17 shooting from the field, while Alex Cabagnot had 10 points on 4-for-17 shooting. Meanwhile, Terrence Romeo, who has averaged 28 points in the past two games, finished with just seven markers. Pringle and Romeo combined to shoot 0-for-10 from three-point range as the Batang Pier fell to 4-5.
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Five Impact Players So Far in the Current PBA Season

One glance at the current PBA standings will reveal an interesting and surprising fact — Alaska is the league’s best team right now. And the biggest reason for that? Calvin Abueva. 

We’ll talk about him here, of course, but he’s not the only one who’s made a really big impact on his team early this season. In this particular post, we’ll look at five guys who’ve been able to stamp their class on their respective teams and, to some degree, helped their squads become competitive in the race for spots in the second round of the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup.

Five big impact players so far this season.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 22-23, 2014

Two nights after upsetting Ginebra, Meralco was sunk by the Hotshots, while both the Aces and the Tropang Texters got wins of their own this past weekend in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup.    


Top: Jayson Castro tore the Barako Bull Energy defense to shreds in a big TNT win.
Bottom: Yousef Taha unloaded a career-best game to lead Purefoods past Meralco.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

ALASKA ACES over GLOBAPORT BATANG PIER, 87-84
The Alaska Aces avoided suffering another upset loss in a tough, out-of-town victory over GlobalPort, 87-84, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan De Oro. Calvin Abueva scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the second half as he helped lead Alaska to a double-digit lead before they held off a late GlobalPort charge to notch their seventh win in eight games. JV Casio added 14 points, while Sonny Thoss and Cyrus Baguio each added 10. With the win, they moved back into the solo lead, slightly ahead of San Miguel (6-1). GlobalPort, meanwhile, dropped down to an even 4-4. The Aces went on a big 19-4 run bridging the third and fourth quarters that gave them a lead of as high as 14 points in the final period. They needed to stave off a big rally from the Batang Pier late, though. The Batang Pier stars came out with big performances but could not get much from their supporting cast in this one. Terrence Romeo scored 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting to lead the way while Alex Cabagnot added 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Pringle finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Top Five #PBA2015 Rookies Right Now


We all know who’s at #1, right? Right, but the rest of the field is a little difficult to gauge, since nobody has really stood out in a consistently big way. Still, there have been some great neophytes so far this season, and they’re all worth mentioning.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five rookies of the 2014-2015 PBA season as of November 23, 2014 (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by PBA-Online.net):

Stanley Pringle is no surprise, but how about the others? 

5. Anthony Semerad (GLO) - 8.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 1.2apg, 1.0 triples per game, 41.7 3pt%, 85.7 FT%, 21.8 EFF
- In GlobalPort’s short two-game winning streak (they beat Kia and Blackwater in succession before dropping a close one to Rain or Shine), Semerad was pretty solid, averaging 14 points, shooting 56% from the field, and 40% from rainbow country. His season stats are a little less stellar, but the 6’5 combo-forward still looks to be a serious contributor for the Batang Pier. If he can keep this up, he has an outside shot at maybe being the next J-Wash or RDO.
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Asian Basketball Journal - November 23, 2014

Here in the Philippines there is no site (or person) really dedicated to the Asian hoops scene, which is why this series exists. Through this series of Asian Basketball Journals, I hope to address just that void. I believe that Asian basketball is such a vibrant source of stories, and I think this should be shared with hoop nuts here in the Philippines and beyond.

Like in previous posts, I won’t be going into a lot of detail. I’ll use mostly images and then just add captions to each one that will, hopefully, capture the essence of the latest developments in Asian hoops.


Another awesome week in Asian hoops, especially since the IBF Superleague already started!


Here are the highlights of this past week in Asian hoops:
- The Liaoning Flying Leopards remain unbeaten in the CBA, while the Beijing Ducks and Guangdong Southern Tigers aren’t far behind. Also, Andray Blatche’s Xinjiang squad has lost two straight!
- The Wonju Dongbu Promy continue their strong showing in the KBL, and Kim Min-Soo is named Player of the Week after posting great numbers for the Seoul SK Knights.
- In the NBL, the Hitachi Sunrockers remained on top in the East after a tough double-OT win over the Toyota Alvark, while the Aisin Seahorses continue undefeated after beating the Link Tochigi Brex.
- Oh, and the Iranian Superleague has started, too! As expected, powerhouses Mahram Tehran and Petrochimi Bandar Imam continue to dominate with a combined 7-0 slate. 
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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Top Five #PBA2015 Centers Right Now

Centers are ruling the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup, with the top three slotmen among the five most efficient players in the league. June Mar Fajardo just dropped a huge game, ditto with Asi Taulava, and Greg Slaughter has been consistently great. Who are the other two, though? Well, you might be surprised.

Too many good big men in the PBA right now.


Without further ado, here they are – the top five centers of the 2014-2015 PBA season as of November 21, 2014 (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by PBA-Online.net):

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#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 21, 2014

NLEX leaned on a curious-looking Asi Taulava to beat Blackwater, while Meralco bounced back by handing Ginebra another big setback in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup.  

Asi Taulava rocked the Ynares Center with a pair of... low-cut CHUCKS!!!

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

NLEX ROAD WARRIORS over BLACKWATER ELITE, 104-84
The NLEX Road Warriors, behind another vintage performance from ageless star center Asi Taulava, cruised past old PBA D-League rival Blackwater, 104-84, to end a three-game losing skid. Taulava scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 5 assists in a strong performance for NLEX, which improved to 3-4. He also shot 8-for-11 from the field and 8-for-11 from the free throw line. Mac Cardona added 21 points, 16 in the first half, along with seven boards and five assists for the Road Warriors, while three other NLEX players finished in double figures. Villanueva scored 17 points while Aldrech Ramos, who completed a rare four-point play in the fourth quarter, added 16. Mark Borboran finished with 10. Blackwater (0-8) was led by Ogie Menor, who scored 15.
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

#NBA2015: Power Rankings: Week 3

Three weeks done and 3 different teams have reached the #1 ranking in the Power Rankings. The games have been exciting and competitive. Buzzer-beaters that are game-winners have occurred at least once a week, maybe more.  

The standings are current up to November 20, 2014 (Manila time).

The rankings from Last Week refer to Week 2.

Please hit the comments and follow me on Twitter @rollzter


The Big Bad Grizzlies are off to a hot start
(Image from: isportsweb.com)
1. Memphis Grizzlies | 10-2 | Last Week: 3 | +2
Notwithstanding their latest loss to the Raptors, the Grizzlies are perfect at home (6-0) and they are 2nd in least points allowed. They are unbeaten in the West, however, both losses have come from the East.

2. Golden State Warriors | 8-2 | Last Week: 1 | -1
Klay Thompson's stint with Team USA has certainly improved his performance. Klay is already the early candidate for Most Improved Player. Lost in GSW's early success has been the injury to David Lee. They will need him eventually.

3. Toronto Raptors | 9-2 | Last Week:4 | +1
The Raps gave a video tribute to Vince Carter and that was sweet of them. Next, they went on to beat the West-leading Grizzlies. They've played the most games at home (8) and the true test will begin once they hit the road. 

4. Chicago Bulls | 8-3 | Last Week: 6 | +2
Impressive wins by the Bulls over the Clippers and Raps but the ongoing injuries to Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol have to be major concerns. They cannot reach their full potential with nagging injuries to their primary players. 

5. Dallas Mavericks | 9-3 | Last Week: 10 | +5
The Mavs are leading the league in points scored and have won 5 straight. Dirk is averaging only 28 minutes which is by design. That is his lowest output if you ignore his rookie season. The Mavs are also sharing the ball well even without a dominant PG.

6. Portland Trailblazers | 8-3 | Last Week: 11 | +5
The Blazers have won 5 straight including a solid win over the Pelicans. Damian Lillard has found his shooting stroke over the past 5 games. He shot 53% during that span and averaged 24 ppg to go with 8 apg and 5 rpg.

7. Houston Rockets | 9-3 | Last Week: 2 | -5
The Rockets have lost 2 straight and the injury to Dwight Howard hurts. Howard has been in the center of trash talk topics since Kevin Durant called him a wuss during a Thunder-Rockets game. Do you remember that Kobe also called him soft?

8. San Antonio Spurs | 7-4 | Last Week: 7 | -1
The Spurs continue to beat LeBron James regardless of which team he plays for. The champs had enough to beat the Cavs on the road. The Spurs are not yet at their efficient pace when it comes to offense but their defense is already in peak form (3rd-best).

9. Washington Wizards | 7-3 | Last Week: 8 | -1
Bradley Beal is back and his wrist looks fine. He immediately scored 21 points in a close loss vs Dallas. Meanwhile, John Wall is playing excellent basketball. He is 3rd in assists while also tops in steals. 

10. Los Angeles Clippers | 6-4 | Last Week: 12 | +2
The Clippers have been alternating wins and losses over the past week. They are playing inconsistently and their effort on the glass is lacking. Even with DeAndre Jordan grabbing 12 boards per game, they are 29th as a team.

11. New Orleans Pelicans | 6-4 | Last Week: 15 | +4
The early season MVP has to be Anthony Davis. He is a 25-11 guy plus #1 in blocks and #2 in steals. Davis has a PER of 36.12! More importantly, the Pelicans are winning more games than losing them. 

12. Phoenix Suns | 7-5 | Last Week: 14 | +2
Isaiah Thomas will surely win the Sixth Man award unless he gets hurt or gets elevated as a starter. The Suns have great scoring balance and depth with 6 players averaging double figures. However, who gets the ball with the game on the line?

13. Miami Heat | 6-5 | Last Week: 5 | -8
Chris Bosh struggled shooting and scoring in their last 5 games. Miami promptly dropped 3 of their past 4 especially with D-Wade already ailing this early. They're pretty thin at backup SG with Chalmers becoming the starter when Wade is out.

14. Sacramento Kings | 6-5 | Last Week: 9 | -5
Their hot start has lost some steam but they still have a solid record in the West. They battled tough vs Memphis and managed to beat the Spurs but a bad loss to OKC hurts. DMC is the other guy to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

15. Cleveland Cavaliers | 5-5 | Last Week: 13 | -2
The Cavs are only 5-5 but LBJ is already advocating to play less minutes for himself, Irving and Love. Their Big 3 is within the top 8 in minutes played. LBJ is starting to get more engaged but Love is having difficulty being relegated as the 3rd option.  


16. Milwaukee Bucks | 7-5 | Last Week: 20 | +4
The Bucks are surprising a lot of teams with early wins over the Heat and Knicks. The most important game so far was the thrilling and fulfilling win over the Nets in triple OT. Giannis has been impressive offensively with 5 straight games in double digits.

17. Atlanta Hawks | 5-5 | Last Week: 18 | +1
The multiple injuries to Horford made him a less impressive player than before. This has allowed Paul Millsap to shine and establish himself as their best player. DeMarre Carroll missed their last 4 games but he is expected back soon.

18. Charlotte Hornets | 4-8 | Last Week: 17 | -1
The Hornets faced 4 tough West teams and promptly dropped 3 of those games. Then, they suffered a goose egg vs the Pacers. Al Jefferson is not operating with his usual double-double prowess while Stephenson has struggled offensively.

19. Utah Jazz | 5-7 | Last Week: 21 | +2
Utah didn't get their 5th win last year until game 24 around mid December. It helps that they won thrilling games that could have gone either way. Kudos to Hayward for sinking the Cavs 2 weeks ago while Trey Burke hit a game-winner vs the Knicks.

20. Indiana Pacers | 5-7 | Last Week: 27 | +7
The Pacers are winning more games than expected thanks to Donald Sloan and Solomon Hill. Who knew they had bench players capable of winning games? In reality, the Pacers will still not make the playoffs.

21. Orlando Magic | 2-5 | Last Week: 25 | +4
Orlando is experiencing some injury woes with Aaron Gordon being out indefinitely and Evan Fournier is DTD. Fournier has been a great addition with his 17 ppg. Harris and Vucevic are playing extremely well. 

22. Brooklyn Nets | 4-7 | Last Week: 16 | -6
The soft schedule is over and the Nets now have a 5-game losing streak including a 3OT loss to the Bucks. Bojan Bogdanovic is starting to heat up. He made 8 threes over his last 2 games. Brook Lopez is rebounding like a SG, at only 5 rpg.

23. Boston Celtics | 4-6 | Last Week: 22 | -1
Boston almost beat the Cavs but a poor decision to have Rondo isolate against LBJ cost them the game. In any case, Rondo is threatening to average a triple-double for the year. He's getting 10 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.

24. Denver Nuggets | 4-7 | Last Week: 26 | +2 
The Nuggets are showing some life with wins over the Cavs and OKC. Ty Lawson has picked up his play over the last 5 games. He is getting 20 points and 10 assists during that span. They can score but these guys need to play defense.

25. Minnesota Timberwolves | 3-7 | Last Week: 19 | -6
Andrew Wiggins is starting to score more points but his passing and assists need major improvement. Wiggins is still susceptible to "wasted minutes" wherein you would forget that Wiggins is on the court due to his lackluster effort. 

26. Los Angeles Lakers | 3-9 | Last Week: 28 | +2
Kobe passed 32K points earlier in the week. He is doing it all for the Lakers with some help from the healthy NIck Young. Still, the Lakers have a miserable record and how long will Kobe wait before asking for a trade?

27. Detroit Pistons | 3-9 | Last Week: 24 | -3
Andre Drummond is off to a slow start. He played for Team USA and the expectation was a breakout season. So far, he has been okay with 9 ppg and 11 rpg but last year he averaged 13 and 13 so this season has been a down year. 

28. New York Knicks | 3-10 | Last Week: 23 | -5
The Knicks are 1-9 in their past 10 games but with games against the Sixers and OKC coming up, their fortunes might change. The 3rd most paid player on the Knicks after Melo and Amare, Andrea Bargnani might play over the weekend.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder | 3-10 | Last Week: 26 | -3
They are bravely trying to stay competitive even without Russ and KD. So far, it hasn't been working. Westbrook is still about 2 weeks away from playing while Durant still has no timetable. Reggie Jackson (20 ppg) is trying his best to win games.

30. Philadelphia 76ers | 0-11 | Last Week: 30 | Same
They are last in points scored and last in point differential which is a whopping -16.4 points. At this rate, they will finish 0-82. A bit of good news, Michael Carter-Williams is back and playing well but Nerlens Noel is struggling. 

Biggest Jump of the Week: Pacers +7

Biggest Drop of the Week: Heat -8

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