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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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 19, 2014

June Mar Fajardo unloaded a monster of a game last night as the Beermen throttle the Sorento, while the Aces had their first taste of defeat at the hands of Barako Bull in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup.

June Mar Fajardo starred for SMB, while Denok Miranda
stole the show against Alaska last night.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

BARAKO BULL ENERGY over ALASKA ACES, 85-78
The Barako Bull Energy scored a big upset win, handing erstwhile unbeaten Alaska its first loss of the season, 85-78. Denok Miranda scored 21 points, 16 in a big first half for Barako Bull, while RR Garcia added 18 as they improved to 2-5. Miranda finished with an 8-for-10 shooting clip from the field and 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. The Energy dominated the the Aces in the first half, leading by 18 at the half on the strength of a 29-13 second quarter. They had to hold off a fourth quarter charge from Alaska, though, but got a clutch basket from Miranda, who knocked down a pull-up jumper over JV Casio that made it 81-73 with 50 seconds left. Jake Pascual also impressed for Barako, chipping in 12 points and 9 rebounds. Alaska was plagued by 19 turnovers and poor shooting from the field (39%), which offset the Aces’ rebounding edge, 50-45. Calvin Abueva led Alaska once again with 16 points, 12 boards, and 7 assists, but he did commit 6 turnovers. Other guys who scored in double-digits were Vic Manuel and JV Casio, who rattled in 15 and 13 markers respectively.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 18, 2014

Left: PJ Simon continues to lead the Hotshots early this season.
Right: Terrence Romeo broke out of his slump big time against TNT.

The big story last night in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup was Terrence Romeo’s explosion leading to a monumental upset by the GlobalPort Batang Pier of the Talk N Text Tropang Texters.. Meanwhile, in the first game, the Purefoods Star Hotshots tagged their third win in six games after disposing of the Blackwater Elite.
                                                                  
Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS over BLACKWATER ELITE, 90-82
The Purefoods Star Hotshots evened out their win-loss record with a 90-82 victory over gutsy expansion club Blackwater. Peter June Simon scored 18 points, Joe Devance added 16, and reserve Allein Maliksi chipped in with 11 points off the bench as the Grand Slam champions improved to 3-3 for the season. Marc Pingris finished with just seven and James Yap had six, but the pair combined to score eight of the team’s last 12 points in the game. Blackwater, now at 0-7, was led by Bryan Faundo and Sunday Salvacion, each of whom scored 14 points. The Hotshots were grossly outrebounded here, 39-54, but they compensated by forcing 23 Blackwater turnovers and going to the line 26 times. Purefoods also shot much better from the field compared to the Elite — 49%-39%.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Andray Blatche Tearing It Up in China

By this year’s end, former New York high school phenom Andray Blatche will probably remember 2014 because of fresh starts and new adventures. In the span of just a handful of months, the former Washington Wizard and Brooklyn Net has become a naturalized Filipino citizen, has played in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and, very recently, has been tearing up the competition in the Chinese Basketball Association’s (CBA) 2014-2015 regular season.


Gilas Pilipinas big man Andray Blatche has been impressive in the CBA.
(image from OSports.cn)


After his impressive stint with Gilas Pilipinas in #Spain2014, Blatche was hoping to get signed by an NBA club. You see, he didn’t push through with the contract extension offered by the Nets as he was probably hoping to land a sweeter deal for the new NBA season. No team, however, bit the bait, which prompted Blatche to look elsewhere to ply his trade.
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#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 15-16, 2014

Jake Pascual broke out in a big way to help Barako Bull earn win #1, and June Mar Fajardo came up big in SMB’s win over Ginebra in 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup action last night. Also, the Elasto-Painters frustrated the Meralco Bolts in Davao this past Saturday.

Top: June Mar Fajardo carried the Beermen past the Kings.
Bottom: Jake Pascual stepped up big time for the Energy.
                                                                    
Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS over MERALCO BOLTS, 107-79
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Asian Basketball Journal - November 15, 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.


Action in Asian pro hoops continues to heat up!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: November 14, 2014


Last night’s 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup action saw the Alaska Aces continue their unbeaten run, while the Purefoods Star Hotshots gained some ground after drubbing the NLEX Road Warriors.

Calvin Abueva put up monster numbers again, while PJ Simon topscored for his
club in PBA action last night.
                                                                   
Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

ALASKA ACES over BLACKWATER ELITE, 69-56
The red-hot Alaska Aces remained undefeated in the PBA Philippine Cup after cruising to a 69-56 victory over winless expansion team Blackwater for their sixth consecutive win. Veteran forward Eric Menk, filling in for Sonny Thoss inside, had a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way. Alaska star Calvin Abueva added 13 points, while Vic Manuel had 10. Abueva struggled from the field, but he played a crucial role in a fourth quarter run, scoring twice to help the Aces put the game away. Blackwater was led by Larry Rodriguez, who scored 10 points, while JP Erram and Ogie Menor each added 9 markers. Alaska and Blackwater are now off to completely contrasting starts to the season, with the Aces at the top of the heap ta 6-0 and the Elite at the bottom with a dismal 0-6 slate.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Top Five #PBA2015 Power Forwards Right Now

Power forwards have been tearing it up in the 2014-2015 Philippine Cup, scoring heavily and rebounding with impunity. Japeth Aguilar, in particular, has been quite impressive, while Arwind Santos continues to fill the box scores. Even this early, it sure looks like this will be one of the deepest positions this season.

The PBA's power forwards have been mighty impressive early this season.
Without further ado, here they are – the top five power forwards of the 2014-2015 PBA season as of November 13, 2014 (as always, this is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by PBA-Online.net):

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