Saturday, November 1, 2014

#PBA2015 Roster Review: The Talk N Text Tropang Texters

With the 2014-2015 PBA season’s official rosters released, I found it only logical to look at each line-up and see where each team stands. In this series of posts, I’ll be breaking down each team’s bigs, wings, and floor generals while also looking at what kind of damage they’ll do this season.
Let’s look at roster of the Talk N Text Tropang Texters.

Have the Tropang Texters left their best behind them?

Overall 2013-2014 Record: 33 wins and 16 losses.

Best Finish: Finals in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.

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#PBA2015 Roster Review: The San Miguel Beermen

With the 2014-2015 PBA season’s official rosters released, I found it only logical to look at each line-up and see where each team stands. In this series of posts, I’ll be breaking down each team’s bigs, wings, and floor generals while also looking at what kind of damage they’ll do this season.
Let’s look at roster of the San Miguel Beermen.

Can the Beermen finally deliver on the promise of their deep roster?

Overall 2013-2014 Record: 25 wins and 17 losses.

Best Finish: Semifinals in the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: October 31, 2014

It was a happy Halloween in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup for both Alaska and Purefoods as they notched separate wins! Alaska embarrassed Meralco in the opener, while the Hotshots pulled the rug from under the Batang Pier in the nightcap.

Top: Chris Banchero helped Alaska blow out Meralco.
Bottom: Mark Barroca led Purefoods' fightback in the second half.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

The Alaska Aces, behind a stellar showing from their bench unit, dismantled Meralco and remained unbeaten in three games. Alaska drew 78 big points from their bench – 14 more than the entire Meralco team – as they cruised to the lopsided victory against the Bolts, who picked up their first loss of the season. The Aces were led by reserves Vic Manuel, Dondon Hontiveros, and rookie Chris Banchero. Manuel scored 17 points and grabbed four rebounds, while Hontiveros hit four three-pointers en route to 16 points. Banchero added 11 points and eight assists off the bench. Calvin Abueva was the lone starter to finish in double-figures with 10 points, which he accomplished in just 10 minutes of play. Coach Norman Black had to endure terrible shooting from his club as Meralco connected on just 32% of its field goals and 10% of its threes. Cliff Hodge continued to impress, though, with a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Bolts, while fellow forward Sean Anthony added 11 markers and 7 boards.
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#GilasIssues: Part 4 – Rebooting Philippine Basketball

This piece was supposed to be a little different, but recent developments concerning the Gilas Pilipinas basketball program have conspired, rather serendipitously I might add, to steer this final part of the #GilasIssues series to a slightly different direction.

Right now, Gilas Pilipinas, the team that has captured our collective imagination for the past several years is all but a blank slate. Gilas 1.0 finished top four in the 2011 FIBA Asia. Gilas 2.0 qualified for the FIBA World Cup. How about Gilas 3.0?

Gilas gets a reboot for 2015.

We don’t know just yet.

Right now, the SBP and PBA will go through a selection process for all the members of Gilas 3.0, but, let’s face it, this will be a long and winding road mainly because the issues of the team, which have been detailed in previous posts, go beyond faces and personalities.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumped Up Kicks: The adidas #DRose5 Boost

I’ll start with the bottom-line: GET BOOSTED NOW.

As Derrick Rose makes his return (again) to the Chicago Bulls and the NBA, adidas just released Rose’s new signature shoe — the D Rose 5 Boost. Aside from coinciding with the former MVP’s comeback campaign, however, another thing that make the D Rose 5 pretty special is this: it’s the first basketball sneak to have full-length Boost technology, which makes it reasonable for us to expect that, as advertised, Boost should help provide superior energy return and responsiveness without sacrificing comfort.

Thanks to adidas Philippines, I was given the chance to test a pair and review them to have all you sneakerheads well-informed.

Derrick Rose's new shoe debuts just in time for
the start of the 2014-2015 season!

Here’s what I found:
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#PBA2015 Philippine Cup Roundup: October 28-29, 2014

Alaska and NLEX tripped up separate foes even as expansion squads Blackwater and Kia continued to flounder in the 2014-2015 PBA Philippine Cup these past two days.

An OT game, a buzzer-beater, an upset, and a blowout. That's what
happened these past two days in the PBA.

Game Capsules (adapted from InterAKTV):

The Meralco Bolts needed an extra period for a second straight game, but they came up on top yet again as they escaped expansion team Blackwater. Meralco was forced into another overtime after squandering a 19-point lead in the second half, but gunner John Wilson came up big for them, scoring all nine of his points in the extra period to help seal the win. Cliff Hodge registered a sublime 26-point, 18-rebound, 3-steal line for Meralco, which is now 2-0 to start the season. He was backstopped by fellow forward Rey Guevarra, who tallied 10 points in 19 minutes, while Sean Anthony filled the stat-sheet with 9 markers, 10 boards, and 7 assists. On the other end, Alex Nuyles and Ogie Menor each dropped 14 points to pace the Elite, who have dropped all their three assignments so far. One performance worth noting, though, is back-up center Jason Ballesteros’s. The former Gilas big man registered 13 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 blocked shots.

Line of the Game: Cliff Hodge – 26 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 11/21 FG shooting.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#NBA2015: Players to Watch Part Three

With the 2014-2015 NBA season beginning in fewer than 10 days, I found it just right to look at some players we should all keep tabs on. There are no-brainers like LeBron, KD, CP3, and James Harden, of course, but there are also many other characters on whom we should put the spotlight. In this first of five parts, we’ll take a look at some key guys for the Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Heat, Bucks, and Timberwolves.

Two rookies who will struggle through their team's futility, two point guards who
are looking to make the jump, a forward who'll fall short of replacing the
best player in the world, and a center who can push his team to the top. 

DeAndre Jordan (LAC) - DJ had a breakout season in 2013-2014, averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, steals, blcoks, and field goal percentage while also helping the Clippers advance to the second round of the Playoffs. He averaged a double-double for the first time in his career (believe it or not) and, again, shot an eye-popping 68% from the floor! Who does that?! The 6’11 slotman is no longer just a highlight reel factory content on eating Brandon Knight alive for breakfast. As his numbers suggest, he protects the rim, finishes around the basket, and gets repossessions. One might argue he could be an All-Star this season if makes another jump in his game. If he can actually do that, then look for the Clips to make noise even beyond the second round.
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Monday, October 27, 2014

#PBA2015 Roster Review: The Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters

With the 2014-2015 PBA season’s official rosters released, I found it only logical to look at each line-up and see where each team stands. In this series of posts, I’ll be breaking down each team’s bigs, wings, and floor generals while also looking at what kind of damage they’ll do this season.
Let’s look at roster of the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters.

Can the Painters break through and annex another PBA title?

Overall 2013-2014 Record: 37 wins and 24 losses.

Best Finish: Finals in the 2013-2014 Philippine Cup and 2014 Governors’ Cup.

BIGS: Jervy Cruz, Beau Belga, JR Quiñahan, Raymond Almazan
- All of a sudden, without Larry Rodriguez, the Rain or Shine frontline is just one injury away from signing someone like Big Mac Andaya in desperation. It’s a welcome sight then that young second-year slotman Raymond Almazan has seemingly blossomed into his role as the team’s main man in the middle. Perhaps seeing how contemporaries Greg Slaughter, June Mar Fajardo, and Ian Sangalang have bloomed in the pros, the former Letran Knight is eager to prove his worth as well. He’s currently norming about 15 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 60% from the field. He might not win MVP just yet, but, even this early, he looks like a possible Most Improved Player candidate.
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#PBA2015 Roster Review: The Purefoods Star Hotshots

With the 2014-2015 PBA season’s official rosters released, I found it only logical to look at each line-up and see where each team stands. In this series of posts, I’ll be breaking down each team’s bigs, wings, and floor generals while also looking at what kind of damage they’ll do this season.
Let’s look at roster of the Purefoods Star Hotshots.

Can the Hotshots continue their winning ways in the PBA?

Overall 2013-2014 Record: 41 wins and 30 losses.

Best Finish: Grand slam! The team won all three PBA conferences in 2013-2014.

BIGS: Yousef Taha, Rafi Reavis, Isaac Holstein, Ian Sangalang, Marc Pingris, Ronnie Matias, Don Allado
- Getting rid of the aging Yancy De Ocampo was a great move and acquiring the youthful Yousef Taha has already proven to be inspired as the promising former Mapua big man is currently putting up 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block a game for the Hotshots. Those numbers are bound to go down once Marc Pingris returns, but having Taha is a good insurance for the bitter taste of Ian Sangalang tearing his ACL. Taha should be the main slotman here, especially as Rafi Reavis is also not as spry as he once was and Isaac Holstein’s development hasn’t been moving as quickly as many had hoped. Ronnie Matias and Don Allado are a pair of veterans who should provide quality spot minutes, but nothing much more than that.
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The NBA: 2014 Player Awards Predictions

The Return of the King could result to the return of the MVP trophy on his paws
(Image from:

Most Valuable Player
1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
3. Chris Paul, LA Clippers
4. Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

LeBron James is slimmer (and hungrier for another MVP trophy) on his second tour of duty with his hometown, Cleveland Cavaliers. This current edition of the Cavs might be his strongest and most complete team. However, assurances of a ring are not guaranteed for the Cavs, so the MVP trophy (for the 5th time) might be an easier task for LBJ. Meanwhile, the dynamic duo of Lob City could see Blake Griffin or Chris Paul alternate places as the #2 and #3 candidates for MVP. They will split votes because both need each other to dominate daily. As for OKC, the injury to Kevin Durant should allow Russell Westbrook to garner some considerations for MVP as long as he posts godly numbers and the Thunder stays in the Top 4 of the West. The best floor spacer and shooter in the league, Steph Curry has become a better playmaker and leader. Curry can create and dazzle among the best and this season (if healthy) should catapult him into MVP status.

You can always guarantee that Joakim Noah will defend with passion and energy
(Image from: Bleacher Report)

Defensive Player of the Year
1. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
2. Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
3. LeBron James, Miami Heat
4. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
5. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

The Bulls are an elite defensive team and a major part of that credit belongs to Joakim Noah. He always defends with intensity, hustle and passion. Expect Noah to focus more on defense since Pau Gasol brings an added dimension on offense. However, Gasol is a much better defender than Carlos Boozer so that might minimize Noah's impact on defense or it could elevate Noah into another level if he manages to increase his rebounds and blocks. Meanwhile, the Rockets are a weaker team from last season and it is up to Dwight Howard to be a force defensively. He needs to protect the paint and rotate well on pick and rolls because James Harden CANNOT defend on a nightly basis. As for LeBron James, he is an all-around defender and quite frankly, the best defender on a championship contender. Finally, Marc Gasol and Anthony Davis will be on this list as long as their teams consistently win and defend. Davis is a wildcard and him winning this award depends on how beastly his numbers are during the season.

Jabari Parker (Bucks #12) is expected to lead Milwaukee in scoring and minutes

Rookie of the Year

1. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
2. Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers
4. Dante Exum, Utah Jazz
5. Julius Randle, LA Lakers 

The youth movement in Milwaukee should allow Jabari Parker to play a ton of minutes and accumulate the best numbers. Parker is also the most complete and most polished scorer among this batch of rookies. He should lead all rookies in points scored and minutes played. Over in Minny, the #1 pick Andrew Wiggins is expected to deliver highlight reels but not so much wins and better numbers than Parker. However in the long run, Wiggins is projected to be a better overall player. As for the Sixers, Nerlens Noel had a solid Summer League and if Joel Embiid misses a ton of games, expect Noel to log major minutes and be a solid player on a team lacking decent players. Meanwhile, Dante Exum and Julius Randle are projected to be major players on teams expected to miss the post-season.

Isaiah Thomas (center) is the new addition to the loaded Suns' backcourt
(Image from: USA Today Sports) 

Sixth Man of the Year
1. Isaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns
2. Jamal Crawford, LA Clippers
3. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
4. Lou Williams, Toronto Raptors
5. Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers 

The Suns already had a loaded backcourt even before Isaiah Thomas joined them this summer. His arrival immediately gave the Suns a dreaded 3-guard combo. Thomas will initially come off the bench and it that continues, he should pile up stats similar to a starter, or even better. Next, Jamal Crawford can start for any team but with his age and defensive deficiencies, he is much better coming off the bench and scoring in bunches. Over in Chicago, Taj Gibson thought he might become a starter when Boozer was released but the arrival of Pau Gasol relegated Taj back to the bench. Gibson might receive fewer minutes this year because Gasol could end up playing minutes in the 4th quarter (unlike Boozer). Finally, Lou Williams and Tristan Thompson were former starters who now come off the bench. Thompson is a special case because he lost his starting job due to Kevin Love but Andy Varejao and Love are not exactly durable players so Thompson might get some odd starts here and there.

Kenneth Faried's experiences with Team USA this past summer should help him elevate his game.
(Image from: Bleacher Report)

Most Improved Player

1. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
2. Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
3. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets
5. Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets

Kenneth Faried
had a very productive stint with Team USA over the summer. Faried played well despite having no plays called for him. His endless energy and knack for loose balls served him well. Expect him to improve his numbers and possibly lead the Nuggets in scoring. Meanwhile, Terrence Ross had a 51-point game last season so he can definitely score. The question is his consistency so if he can stay on the court, his numbers should increase. Over with the Bucks, Khris Middleton, is slotted as the starting PF so his minutes and spot on the rotation should be constant. More minutes should ideally translate to better numbers. Next, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had one of the ugliest looking strokes in the league. He had his shooting form refined this season so maybe he becomes more efffective offensively. Lastly, another Team USA guy, Mason Plumlee, should see his production improve as long as he gets the opportunity to play. Kevin Garnett is probably on his last year so Plumlee should get minutes since the Nets see him as their starting center of the future.

Coach of the Year
1. David Blatt, Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
3. Gregg Poppovich, San Antonio Spurs
4. Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
5. Jeff Hornacek, Phoenix Suns

David Blatt is a rookie coach in the NBA but having LBJ, Love and Kyrie will probably result to at least 55 wins in the East. Another rookie coach is Steve Kerr who will pilot a contender in the GSW. Of course Pop will lead the Spurs to the playoffs and possibly another ring. Coach Thibbs will always have the Bulls ready and competing while Coach Hornacek might get this award if he navigates the Suns into the playoffs.

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