Saturday, November 28, 2009

Defending PCCL Champs Fail to Adavnce

  • The DLSU Green Archers failed to reach the Elite 8 in the PCCL after winning it all last year as they were defeated by an undermanned Letran Knights, 83-72. The Knights led by double figures in the 1st half behind the 12 points of Kevin Alas and Archers' horrible shooting. The Archers then went on a run anchored by Joshua Webb at the end of the 1st half to diminish the lead of the Knights to a solitary point by halftime. It looked like the Archers were ready to take over the lead in the 2nd half but they struggled to manufacture points once again as they could not knock down a shot from the outside. At the Knights end of things, Jaypee Belencion and Reymar Gutilban started to wax hot from the outside. It was like a replay of the 1st half. The Knights were up big and the Archers could not buy a basket. But like in the 1st half, the Archers made a furious run and came as close as 5 in the 4th quarter. The Knights were coughing up a lot of TOs and Arvie Bringas was starting to get hot. Jaypee then came back in and hit a couple more shots and Bringas was taken out of the game because of a cut in his face. Suddenly the Archers, could not score once again. The Knights reestablished their double-digit lead and did not look back at that point. Both teams played full-court press defense for most of the game(if not the whole). Much of the offense of the Archers came from transition play while Knights got a lot of shots from escaping the Archers' press defense. The Knights played w/o their top 2 players, RJ Jazul and Rey Guevarra. Jaypee Belencion just shot the lights off as he finished with 36 points and a PCCL-record 10 3-pointers. And it wasn't like he did not have a hand in his face when he shot the ball. Coach Franz Pumaren put on different defenders on Belencion to try stop him but to no avail. I believe he's still in his 2nd year so look for more from him in the next couple of years. Kevin Alas carried the Knights in the 1st half as he scored all of his 12 points in the 1st half. This kid just has a lot of dirty tricks. He was caught a couple of times and he even fouled-out when the refs saw him intentionally trip Yutien Andrada. He's fun to watch but the refs need to watch out for him. He will the main man for Knights next year and it seems like he's ready to fill in the shoes left by RJ Jazul. Joshua Webb scored 15 points in the 1st half but he only managed to score 3 points the rest of the way. He did show some flashes of brilliant passing. He will need that next year as he will now be the main man of the Archers. Bringas looks more comfortable in the system. His soft touch inside will make him one of the primary options of DLSU next year. Maybe he can be the Nico Salva of DLSU but his consistency is still a big issue. Simon Atkins was back in action after missing most of the last UAAP season. He did a great job in throwing out outlet passes but unfortunately, his teammates were not able to convert his passes to points. He still needs to work on his shooting but his mere presence on the court definitely helped the Archers. PJ Barua was a non-factor as he finished the game with only 2 points and 1-10 shooting. Joel Tolentino was still quick as a cat and did a great job pushing the tempo but like Atkins, he failed to manufacture easy shots for his teammates. The Archers played w/o James Managahas and Bader Malabes. The Archers sorely need a perimeter who can create a shot for himself and his teammates. Kevin Alas was supposed to be that guy but he choose to play for his father in Letran. Kiefer Ravena surely fits the bill but I believe it's still a long shot that he will choose DLSU over ADMU. The Archers will also need to work on their outside shooting. Watching these Archers, I realized how lucky the Eagles to have a guy like Jai Reyes.
  • In the other game last Wednesday, the ADMU Eagles advanced to the Elite 8 as they disposed the ISAA champions, Lyceum Pirates. It wasn't a blowout from the get go as the Eagles needed some time to heat up. The Eagles started the rampage in the 2nd quarter and continued it up to the 3rd quarter. They led as much as 27 but the Pirates capitalized on the Eagles' complacency as they came as close as 8 in the last quarter. Nico Salva led the way for the Loyola-based squad as he finished the game with 17 points including 10 in the 3rd quarter. Jai Reyes played with poise as usual with his clutch baskets and leadership. They will surely miss his presence next year as Eman Monfort has yet to develop the presence on the court that Jai was able to give Coach Norman Black. Current RP Patriot Nonoy Baclao and Smart-Gilas member Ryan Buenafe played but Finals MVP Rabeh Al-Hussaini did not. ISAA MVP Jospeh Abaya looked very impressive as he led the Pirates with 17 points. His fade-away jumper from top of the key is very deadly and reliable.
  • There have no upsets so far in the 2009 edition of the PCCL. All the higher ranked teams have won their assignments. The Letran win over DLSU might be branded as an upset considering the Knights did not have their top 2 players but the Knights were still given a higher seeding in the tournament for the their Final 4 finish in their tournament compared to the Archers who did not reach the Final 4 in their mother league.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the PCCL Games Begin...

  • The FEU Tamaraws started out on a good note as they defeated the AU Chiefs, 79-69 in the first game of the 2009 edition of the PCCL. It was a game of runs as FEU couldn't take the Chiefs totally out of the game. The Tams led as much as 14 in the 1st half but the Chiefs came as close as 1 in the 3rd quarter. In the end, AU just did not have enough weapons against a very talented Tams team. The AU Chiefs just could not manufacture any points in the half court and were dependent on their transition play. I did not see any set plays at all. The Chiefs were relegated on giving the ball to Gio Ciriacruz and hoping that he could muster enough points to get a W. On the defensive end, the Chiefs settled for different variations of the zone defense. The zone defense was effective at times as it prevented the Tamaraws from attacking the basket but it wasn't able to stop the outside shooting of the Tams. Coach Glen Capacio's boys moved that ball with so much patience and it resulted to good quality shots. Paul Sanga and RR Garcia knocked down 2 3-pointers a piece in the second half when the Chiefs were employing the zone defense. Both JR Cawaling and Aldrech Ramos played in the game despite their commitment to Smart-Gilas. Ramos was his normal self getting rebounds and scoring on inside incursions. JR Cawaling still looked passive. He was passed good looks and it resulted to a couple of TOs. I know he's trying to be a leader by setting his teammates but FEU needs him take over the reigns of Mark Barroca and he needs to be a little bit more aggressive. RR Garcia surely is not suffering from the absence of Barroca as he scored 17 points and blocked 3 shots.
  • In the second game dubbed as a catfight, the San Beda Red Lions proved to be too much for the SSC-R de Cavite Baycats as they blew the Baycats out of the gym 91-50. The Baycats were known to be a run-and-gun team but so are the Lions. The Lions definitely took the Baycats to school on how to run fastbreaks as they got multiple opportunities for wide open lay-ups in the open court. The Baycats were trying their luck from the outside all game long but only couple of their attempts connected. The Lions also imposed their authority inside as they used their height advantage to get easy and multiple looks inside the paint. Bam-Bam Gamalinda finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists. He still missed a couple of open jumpers but I'm pretty sure this was how Coach Frankie Lim envisioned him to play back in the NCAA. He was just barely a factor in last couple of games in the eliminations up to the NCAA Finals. But hey, he still has a chance to prove his worth in the PCCL. The Lions also played minus Jay-R Taganas, Dave Marcelo, Chico Tirona and Borgie Hermida but they did not need them in this game.
  • Both SBC and FEU will now advance to the Elite 8. SBC will face the winner in the UV-Mapua game while FEU will await the winner of the UE-UC game.
  • The next games will be on Wednesday. DLSU Green Archers will face off with CSJL Knights in a very exciting match at 2PM while the ADMU Blue Eagles square off with the Lyceum Pirates. The DLSU-CSJL game will most likely be a treat to watch but I can't say the same for the ADMU-Lyceum game. What is up with the PCCL management scheduling the better games at 2PM? Really ADMU-Lyceum and SBC- SSC-R de Cavite at 4PM? And DLSU-CSJL at 2PM? WTH.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nate Robinson, shoots it at the wrong rim

With just 0.5 seconds left on the clock during the 1st quarter, Nate
Robinson for some strange reason shoots it at the wrong basket
which enraged his coach Mike d' Antoni.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ron Artest throws away Ariza's Shoe after loosing it

Trevor Ariza accidentally lost his shoe during a play when Ron-Ron was
there and threw it away. Defensive tactic or unsportsmanlike behavior or
simply hilarious? You'll be the judge. Well I he'd not apologize in the
same manner as to what he did to Paul Pierce which was quite hilarious.

Monday, November 16, 2009

S-Jax Finally Traded

Looks like Stephen Jackson will finally be dealt to another team but he won't be on a team on his wishlist as he will be headed to a lottery bound Charlotte Bobcats. The Warriors will send their former captain along with Acie Law for Vladimir Radmanovic and Raja Bell. The move does give the Bobcats a scorer that they have sorely needed since the start of the season but dealing for Jackson can not solve their scoring problems completely. They should have gone the route commonly taken by most rebuilding teams. They should have been more patient with developing their younger players in DJ Augustin and Gerald Wallace, cleared cap space and improve through high 1st round picks. The Bobcats might earn a couple more wins and they might even contend for a playoff spot this season but this move doesn't put them in a better position for the future at all. Raymond Felton will be an unrestricted free agent next season and they won't have any cap space at all until after the 2010-11 season. The move might also mean that the Bobcats will only receive a mid 1st round pick in next year's draft. As blaze said, this move doesn't do anything for the Bobcats other than getting more points on the board and around 5 more wins. S-Jax's a fantastic complementary player on a contender but is a mediocre go-to-guy on a playoff spot contender in th East. I'm not sure if Jackson will be willing to play for 'Cats. Another trade? Highly unlikely but I hope so. For the Warriors, this move is a little shocking but not unbelievable. There have some rumors that Bobcats might be interested in Jackson in the past. Don Nelson has said they will do his best to send Jackson to a team on his wishlist(any Texas team, NY, Cleveland) but maybe no one was willing to pay the next 4 years on Jackson's contract. The move will create more flexibility for the Warriors as Bell's contract expires this season and Radmanovic's expires next season. Both are also quality shooters and are compatible with Nelson's system.

Ball Points (11-16-2009)

  • As expected, the DLSU Green Archers have booked the final ticket to the PCCL Sweet 16. ADMU, UE, FEU, UST, SSC-R, SBC, JRU, CSJL have also booked seats in the Sweet 16 for advancing to the Final 4 in their respective leagues. The UV Green Lancers have also qualified for winning the latest edition of CESAFI. Contrary to what I predicted, it was the SSC-R Cavite Baycats who advanced by beating out the Adamson Univeristy in their zonal qualifier for having a better quotient. Other teams that have adavnced through their zonal qualifiers are University of Cebu, Mapua, Arellano U, University of Manila and University of San Carlos. The league is set to start on November 23 and will be broadcasted at Studio 23. My early bet is the FEU Tamaraws. That is if the Gilas boys, JR Cawaling and Aldrech Ramos, will play in the tournament. If not, look for DLSU Green Archers and SSC-R Golden Stags to make some noise. Still, we can not count out teams like ADMU, UC or UV. ADMU still has one of the better coaches in the collegiate ranks in Norman Black. They might not use veterans Nonoy Baclao, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Jai Reyes but they are still a very talented team.
  • The RP Patriots have notched their 4th win in the ABL as they defeated the KL Dragons in the Dragons' home court 73-63. This is the Patriots' 3rd straight win since Nonoy Baclao and Elmer Espiritu have been included in the lineup. Looks like the defense of the former UAAP stars is just what the doctor ordered for the Patriots.
  • There are some rumblings that Emeka Okafor might be on the move once again. There isn't anything imminent and there have been only discussions. If the deal does push through, that would mean that NO Hornets might be entering into rebuilding mode. They recently fired Byron Scott due to the horrendous 3-8 start and replaced him with GM Jeff Brower. I don't like this move at all. Scott is a good a coach and I believe he's being used as a scapegoat. Whenever you're paying $14M to a shooter who is currently shooting 38% from the field, you can't expect to win a lot of games. I actually like the Okafor-for-Chandler swap as it gives them another guy who can create shots for himself but its has not translated into more wins. They're already 3rd to the last in the Western Conference with Chris Paul and now that he will be out for 3-4 weeks. That might result to their burial in the Western Conference. CP3 might not come back in time to save their season and it might prompt management to start rebuilding. If they do decide to rebuild, I'm pretty sure CP3 will not want any part of it. Right now, I think they just have to be patient. Find a coach who can work with their star PG and get a guy who can create off the dribble and shoot. The Golden State Warriors have stars who want out in Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson and the Hornets might want to start calling up Don Nelson about those guys. It will hard for them to upgrade their current roster though as they hardly have any assets. They're stuck with the 2 years and $29M on Peja's contract. The most sizeable expiring contract they have is Hilton Armstrong's $2.8M deal. The only young player that other teams might have any interest is Julian Wright and he has not been productive at all. The Hornets were considered contenders in 2007 but they fell short to the SA Spurs. Last year, there were a lot of expectations for the team but they did not even get past the 1st round with only the 7th seed in the Western Conference to show. 2007 was a fluke? Maybe. But Peja and Tyson Chandler were still productive in 2007. Maybe you can partly attribute their success in 2007 to the fact that not a single team was ready for them. Hurricane Katrina might have also motivated them to play extra hard. Fluke? Sort of. But I still believe they can still get out of their current situation but they they will have to be extra creative now.
  • What about the LA Lakers losing 2 straight after the Boston Celtics lost 2 straight. The Rockets beat the Lakers in their home court today behind Aaron Brooks 33 points and Kobe Bryant's 5-20 shooting. Kobe is shooting 34% shooting in his last 2 games and the woeful shooting could be blamed to his groin injury. He has said that he will be resting his groin but don't expect him to sit out games. Aaron's domination justifies the fact that the Lakers can not guard guard quick point guards. Jordan Farmer will have to show up sooner rather later if the Lakers still intend to defend their championship. I guess the possibility of a 70-win team is dwindling down. Maybe we should stop dreaming the feat accomplished by Chicago Bulls in 1995-96 will be done again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sick Dunk by Ty Lawson

This is definitely the exclamation point of beating the LA Lakers received from the Denver Nuggets as the commentators said. This guy was one of most productive players in the USA collegiate basketball as he led his team, the UNC Tar Heels, to a NCAA championship. Despite his production, he was only the 18th pick because most teams did not want any part of him because of his size or the lack of it. That didn't stop the Denver Nuggets from getting this guy. The Nuggets have been high on this kid since last year. There were a lot of rumors that the Nuggets gave him a promise they would use their 2008 2oth overall pick to draft him but Ty Lawson eventually decided to back to school and the Nuggets traded their pick when they found out that Lawson was no longer available. This year, the Nuggets traded for the T-Wolves' 18th overall pick to draft Lawson.

So far he has been one of the most productive players as he is averaging 10.3 ppg and 3.2 apg. His aggressiveness, speed and athletism have helped him to be one of the better players in his class. He's also in a very good situation playing behind a very big PG in Chauncey Billups and he's with a team that believes in him. Do I think he can eventually replace Chauncey and be the PG of the future of the Nuggets? Not yet. But this kid has game and he can produce in the grandest stage of basketball if given the chance.