Saturday, August 1, 2015

#FIBAAsia2015: The TOP FIVE FIBA Asia Point Guards Right Now

Less than two months remain between now and the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China. As of this writing, most of the perceived title contenders have already begun training for the all-important competition that will reward just one country with an outright berth in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. 

As a run-up to that tournament, I will be posting a series of articles focusing on key players with whom we need to be familiar. These range from the newcomers, the breakout ballers, the tried-and-tested veterans, the local stars, and even the naturalized players. Naturally, we will also look at the top cagers per position, which is what we will do here.

In this post, we will focus our attention on the primary playmakers – the best ones that is – in our corner of this big blue planet. We will look at a position that pretty much dictates the tempo of a game – a position on which the fortunes of a team usually hinge.

Without further ado, I present to you my TOP FIVE FIBA Asia Point Guards right now:

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Friday, July 31, 2015

#FIBAAsia2015: Bright Young Stars to Watch - Part 2

(this earlier appeared on my column on

With only one ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics up for grabs at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, the competition promises to be at a very high level.

Most of the top Asian stars will probably be present in that event, even those who have previously signified their interest in retiring like Fadi El Khatib (Lebanon), Kim Joo-Sung (Korea), and Liu Wei (China).

This should certainly make the action even more heated up.

Another thing to get really excited about, however, is seeing the new breed of Asian cagers who are projected to inherit the mantles of leadership from their respective clubs.

This is something we witnessed at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship as the likes of Kazakhstan's Alexandr Zhigulin, Jordan's Ahmad Al Dwairi, Filipino center June Mar Fajardo, Japanese swingman Yuta Watanabe, Chinese playmaker Guo Ailun, Iranian sensation Mohammad Jamshidi and Indian giant Satnam Singh Bhamara all made their auspicious debuts at the senior level in Manila.

Likewise, at this year's edition of the event taking place in Changsha, China from 23 September-3 October, there will surely be a good number of players in their teens or early 20s who will burst onto the continent's biggest basketball competition for the first time and strive to make good impressions.

Last week, in the first of this two-part series, we looked at Behnam Yakhchali (Iran), Wael Arakji (Lebanon) and Saad Abdulrahman Mohamed (Qatar).

In this week's second part, we look at emerging players from India, China, Chinese Taipei and the Philippines.

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#FIBAAsia2015: Bright young stars to watch - Part 1

(this earlier appeared on my column on

With most domestic leagues already done and a few more wrapping up their respective seasons this month, much of the focus of Asian basketball fans will shift to the top basketball tournament in the continent - the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. The joust is expected to be extremely competitive since the winning team will get a ride to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Another reason to get very excited about the event in Changsha, China (23 September-3 October) is seeing which young players will rise up the ranks and make significant impacts for their teams.

At the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, several young studs made their marks. Foremost among them was Korean spitfire Kim Min-Goo, who ended up being named the tournament's best shooting guard after averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Another Korean, Lee Jong-Hyun, also impressed as he ranked second overall in blocks with 1.7 swats per outing. Saudi Arabian wingman Ayman Al Muwallad came out of nowhere to finish fourth best in scoring at 15.3 points per contest, while then 19-year-old Wang Zhelin stamped his class with averages of 10.2 points and 6.0 boards per game.

In this year's edition, there will certainly be a host of young players who will be raring to burst onto the scene and make their presence felt. These are players projected to play in their first senior men's championship. Over the next two weeks, I'll take a look at some of these promising young talents.

In this first of a two-part series, we’ll focus on emerging players from Iran, Lebanon and Qatar.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Top 5 Rookies of #PBA2015

The 2014 draftees gave a very good account of themselves this past season, and many of them have the makings of future stars. Stanley Pringle, of course, stands out in a big way, especially since he’s the newly-minted Rookie of the Year. And how about the other neophytes? They weren’t too shabby either. 

Without further ado, here they are – the top five rookies of the 2014-2015 PBA season:

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Top 5 Shooting Guards of #PBA2015

Terrence Romeo had a coming out party in the 2014-2015 PBA season, emerging as one of the league’s best all-around scorers. Was it enough to propel him to the top as the country’s best shooting guard, though? We’ll see as old-timers like James Yap, Gary David, and Mark Caguioa may have something to say about that, while young gun  Marcio Lassiter has also been turning a lot of heads. 

Without further ado, here they are – the top five shooting guards of the 2014-2015 PBA season:

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by
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The Top 5 Point Guards of #PBA2015

The 2014-2015 season was a great year for point guards in the PBA. Gilas boys Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, and LA Tenorio were all impressive, while a couple of standouts rose from the roster of rookies. Veterans like Alex Cabagnot, Mark Barroca, and JV Casio also did well, while returnee LA Revilla made waves. Clearly, this is one position where the Philippines is not short on talent, but who were the cream of the crop?

Without further ado, here they are – the top five point guards of the 2014-2015 PBA season:
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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Top 5 Centers of #PBA2015

The PBA has long been dominated by guards. From 2006-2012, all but one season MVP were guards (James Yap - twice, Willie Miller, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, and Mark Caguioa). Kelly Williams was the only exception, bagging the season MVP in 2008. In the past three seasons, however, big men have ruled, what with Arwind Santos being MVP in 2013 and teammate June Mar Fajardo bagging the prized plum back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. Aside from the 6’10 Cebuano, however, other marquee slotmen continue to put their stamp on the league, and we’ll list down the best of ‘em here.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five centers of the 2014-2015 PBA season:

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Top 5 Power Forwards of #PBA2015

Many of today’s great players are power forwards, which explains why this is one of the most crowded positions in the league. One interesting thing about PBA PFs, though, is that there are very different kinds out there. We have classic bruisers like Marc Pingris, Reynel Hugnatan, and Gabby Espinas — guys who score off open chances and grab rebounds. We also  athletic freaks with long limbs who block shots better than actual centers — guys like Cliff Hodge and Japeth Aguilar. Lastly, we have those stretch 4s who space the floor with their perimeter game. Who were the best overall power forwards of this past season, though? Let’s see.

Without further ado, here they are – the top five power forwards of the 2014-2015 PBA season:

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by
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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Top 5 Small Forwards of #PBA2015

The small forward spot has been quite an interesting position to watch this past season in the PBA. It remains to be populated by some of the most versatile players in the country — from do-it-all players to sharpshooters to high-flyers to defensive specialists. Gone are the days, too, when 6’0-6’2 guys played swingman. In this day age, the default size seems to be around 6’3-6’5, with some even being as tall as 6’7 (Hello, JDV!). Here we list down the five most productive SFs of this past season. The top dog here may not surprise you, but a couple might make your head shake or make you raise your brows. 

Without further ado, here they are – the top five small forwards of the 2014-2015 PBA season:

*This is based on the Player Efficiency ratings as calculated by
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Friday, July 17, 2015

#PBA2015 Govs Cup Finals: San Miguel sweeps Alaska all the way to the title!

The San Miguel Beermen completed a series sweep of the Alaska Aces and copped the 2015 PBA Govs’ Cup crown after winning in Game 4, 91-81.

Game recap (adapted from Interaksyon):

Box scores.
The San Miguel Beermen completed a four-game sweep of Alaska after a 91-81 win in Game Four that clinched the franchise’s 21st championship on Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

(image from

Arizona Reid scored 33 points, while back-to-back PBA MVP and Finals MVP June Mar Fajardo dominated for 19 points and 21 rebounds as they led the Beermen to a 4-0 sweep of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals.
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