Who is this guy? Read on and find out.
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After the JUMP, you'll find some bullets on DLSU's new coach (Gee Abanilla), San Beda's double-whammy, an intriguing Fil-American prospect, the PBA's resurgence, Pinoy Hoops' only hope, and the most-watched sports melodrama of the past few months (the NBA lockout).

Gee Abanilla, seriously?

Can Gee Abanilla hack it? Only
one way to find out.
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Gee Abanilla wasn't exactly the kind of player who'd make the earth tremble with his every step, but that doesn't really matter when it comes to coaching. He didn't exactly turn the CSB program around by winning just 4 games in his 1 year of coaching in the NCAA, too. He hasn't exactly been in the radar screens of hoops fans for, well, maybe ever? And now he's coaching the DLSU Green Archers. 

Coming from the blue side of things, I'd be all too happy to see the Greenies continue underachieving, but because I have a lot of great friends from Taft, and they feel sad when DLSU loses, I also wouldn't mind seeing Abanilla turn things around. But I don't think it'll happen, or, at least, not because of him. 

Instead, I think it will come down to 3 people: 1) Mr. SMB Danding Cojuangco, who has taken the responsibility of becoming for DLSU what MVP is to Ateneo and Beda, 2) new wingman/guard coach Tyrone Bautista, who was a lefty Mark Cardona back in the 90s, and 3) new big man coach Jun Limpot, who was awesome in green (both the DLSU and Sta Lucia varieties), though he reportedly enrolled in Benilde and not at  DLSU "main."

It'll also be awesome if DLSU can sell more tickets to its alumni during the once-historic AdMU-DLSU games. The 3 aforementioned guys should help ensure that. Perhaps now my green friends will have reason to hope again. As for Abanilla, he'll either take credit for Cojuangco's deep pockets and the tutelage of both Bautista and Limpot, or take the fall for another early September exit.

San Beda reels in a double
The Red Lions beat the Stags. The Red Cubs blunted the Junior Blazers. Double championship. Two years running.

Lions roar loud and strong again.
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MVP is happy.

Beyond the double-awesomeness, though, the more significant thing for me is Beda did it without an import. The "Beda only wins because of Ekwe/Sudan" argument can now be thrown out the window. Beda won. That program is awesome. 

And next year they'll have Ola Adeogun.

Oh, man. Good luck on trying to get your seniors crown Kevin Alas.

John Usita -- the Next BIG Thing?
Props to Matthew Manotoc and his sports management/representation agency for bringing in this Fil-American. 

He's 6'8" and 275 lbs.

He bangs bodies down low.

And the most bad-ass thing about him that makes him a shoo-in for Gilas 2.0?

He has a ton of tattoos that could make Asi Taulava cry himself to sleep.

John Usita -- the new Asi Taulava,
or the new Alex Crisano?
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The hitch? It seems like he'll be playing for SMB in the Asean League. This means he'll be in the backyard of Danding Cojuangco. This means fat chance he'll see action for the National Team as long as it's named Smart-Gilas.

But he could be the next BIG thing. Keep tabs on this guy.

PBA filling the void
The PBA is active (AKTV) again. Pun intended.
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No Yahoo! NBA Fantasy leagues. No preseason games. No faux reality TV shows assuming fans really care about how the Nuggets are stretching at 10 in the morning. No team-by-team previews with the jibber-jabber of Rick Kamla, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. We'll also see much less of Riki Flores on BTV (boo!).

But at least the PBA is back in our collective basketball mindset. They're on-track for a banner season, and, if the lockout continues, which it will, we might even see Javale McGee in a Meralco uniform or Marcus Douthit as a Tropang Texter or even a mid-level salary earner like, umm, Jordan Crawford (who, BTW, thinks he'll be better than another Jordan we know) as a Clicker (Clicker? Who the hell thought of that anyway?).

As long as the NBA is out, and now that the UAAP & NCAA are done, the PBA will be THE league to watch on the tube. 

What Pinoy Ball really needs
BUT the thing that will also make even the most die-hard of NBA fans feel lukewarm (at best) about the PBA, and eventually make us forget about it this time next year altogether, is that there just isn't enough juice in the local league to seize our imagination.

We need our own version of Mike. Or Kobe. Or Wade. Or LBJ before he succumbed to the dark side.

We need a guy who'll thrash the competition in the All-Filipino/Philippine Cup, thrash the imports in the Commissioner's/Governors/Fiesta/Whatever Cup, and then thrash Yi Jianlian's face in the FIBA-Asia games. 

We need a guy who'll finally lead us to a win over those dang Koreans. We need a guy who'll seize our imagination like Allan Caidic or Samboy Lim. We need someone who'll stitch Recah Trinidad's grill. 

If Chito Loyzaga had just a tenth of his dad's basketball talent,
he would've been the first Pinoy in the NBA. Not!
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Asi Taulava is way past the possibility of being that guy.

LA Tenorio is too streaky to be that guy.

James Yap is too showbiz to be that guy.

Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, Arwind Santos, or Gabe Norwood? Let's face it -- these guys are awesome, but none of them will be THAT GUY.

We need a Pinoy version of Lebanon's Fadi El-Khatib or Iran's Samad Nikkhah-Bahrami & Hamed Haddadi. Someone who'll get a real shot at the NBA (and not just rumors). Someone who'll get a training camp invite. Someone we can see on BTV wearing a New Orleans Hornets training jersey while warming the bench or playing the dying minutes of a blown Las Vegas Summer League game.

Someone who'll be the undisputed face of Pinoy basketball. 

Again, we won't have an NBA season
Both sides keep on bickering. Players are turning on each other. Hunter is bound to get his ass whooped from both ends. Stern will eventually get his way (as if he's not right now). 

Who are we kidding? The owners won't change their stance, and, frankly, I don't think they should. It's all on the players now. They can "stand by their principles" and sit out the season and then eventually cave in mid-2012, or they can just swallow their pride, lessen their paychecks a bit (as if guys like KG or Kobe or even Rashard Lewis will feel the brunt anyway), and pave the way for, honestly, a better system long-term.

Give up the crown and the throne, players.
You're toast. Save us all the misery.
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So come on, players, stop the infighting and just cave. Then play. Then you can withdraw your hundreds of thousands and millions from your fat ATMs again. Then the parking lot attendants and arena food vendors can earn their millions, too (yes, yes, you can sense the sarcasm). Then I can get my behind whooped in my officemates-only Fantasy League and, in turn, hand out the whoopin' in my random beginners-only league. 

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