PBA Roundup: 2012 Commissioner’s Cup Opening Weekend

Willie Miller led Barako Bull to an opening day win.
*Unless otherwise specified, all images are by Paolo Papa/PBA.ph 

Some First Impressions:
-       Of the imports who debuted over the past weekend, I was most impressed with Ginebra’s Chris Alexander and Petron’s Nick Fazekas. Alexander seemed a bit more athletic and more of the inside operator while Fazekas showed more versatility. I posit these two guys will butt heads again as both the Kings and the Boosters will probably make the playoffs.
-       This early, we can see how Ginebra really benefitted from the big offseason trade a few weeks ago. Kerby Raymundo seemed like a good fit for the Kings, despite his age. JC Intal, meanwhile, appears to need more adjustment time with the Llamados. His 10–point production was nice, but playing sparingly in the second half was the most glaring thing from his first game in the B-Meg uniform.
-       Adam Parada still looks like an imposing force, but the former Mexican NT mainstay just seems out of shape. The TV commentators mentioned how he hadn’t played ball for a few months prior to coming to Manila. I think keeping him is a big risk for the Aces. He’ll probably have a couple of good nights, like the one against ROS, but the norm will probably his mediocre play against Barako Bull on opening day.
-       I expect a lot from DerMarr Johnson. I remember him teaming up with Kenyon Martin for the Cincinnati Bearcats in the US NCAA, and how they were ranked #1 nationally for some time. He probably doesn’t have the same hops he once had, but I’m sure an NBA lottery pick can show more than 19 points in a PBA game.
-       I think Mac Cardona is just going to kill in this tournament. Having Paul Artadi and Chris Ross run the break and feed him the ball will do wonders for his scoring (as if he needed it). Whether it translates into the Bolts advancing or not is another story altogether.
-       It’s really quite interesting how ROS remaind to be a severely undersized team. Duke Crews is no way taller than Asi Taulava, or even Don Allado, but he is a bully on the floor. Still, up against the sequoias of the other teams? The Painters will have to wax hot from range to harbor any chances of winning. They did that consistently in the Philippine Cup, but I have a feeling the law of averages will catch up to them soon.

After the JUMP, scores and game recaps from the opening weekend of the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup:

Barako import DerMarr Johnson, who was drafted sixth overall in 2000 by the Atlanta Hawks, shot just 1-for-9 from 3-point range and had only 8 rebounds, but the figures hardly mattered as Willie Miller unloaded 25 points and the
Energy zapped the Alaska Aces to open the new conference.

Miller, the two-time MVP, went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, had 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes. Meanwhile, Ronald Tubid played his first game after getting traded by Barangay Ginebra and added 10 points.

The Aces put up forgettable numbers: 1 of 12 from 3-point territory, 31 of 84 from the field, 15 of 22 from the line, and 19 turnovers. They were beaten in the perimeter, 56-17, and gave up 70 points on Barako Bull jump shots, many of them open looks.

BBE 98 – Miller 25, Johnson 19, Najorda 10, Tubid 10, Allado 10, Pennisi 9, Salvador 6, Aquino 4, Sorongon 3, Arboleda 2, Gatumbato 0, Lanete 0, andaya 0, Pena 0.
ALA 78 – Parada 16, Baguio 13, Baracael 11, Custodio 9, Tenorio 8, Thoss 8, Reyes 5, Salamat 3, Eman 3, Bugia 2, Gelig 0.
QS: 17-16, 39-34, 72-51, 98-78

LA Tenorio tries to dribble his way out of the
Barako Bull trap.
Dorian Peña and the rest of the Energy's frontline
were able to limit Adam Parada's production.

B-Meg import Denzel Bowles turned out to be as good as advertised – at least in his first game. The 6-foot-10 European league veteran churned out 27 points and 11 rebounds in a solid PBA debut, leading the Llamados to a win over the Meralco Bolts on opening night.

He obviously got tired playing 36 minutes, but still played tough and helped the Llamados survive versus Jarrid Famous and his Meralco teammates.

James Yap and the other key B-Meg local players provided the needed support as the Llamados got off to a winning start following their sorry fold-up in the Philippine Cup. The Llamados, topping the Philippine Cup eliminations only to be eliminated by the Powerade Tigers in the first stage of the playoffs, had a rollercoaster ride, emerging victorious in regaining control towards the end of the third period. Bowles, Yap and Josh Urbiztondo stood at the forefront of B-Meg’s bid as they overcame 11-point deficits in the third period and led by as many as 13 in the fourth.

Meralco’s Mac Cardona led all scorers with 32 points, while Famous produced 24 points and 15 rebounds. Prior to the game, Famous worked out with the Bolts for just three days, being a mere replacement to the injury-hit Jelani McCoy.

New Meralco acquisition Paul Artadi contributed 13 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound while Chris Ross, coming back from an injury, finally played extended minutes, chipping in 9 rebounds, 7 points and 5 assists.

BML 96 - Bowles 27, Yap J. 18, Urbiztondo 10, Intal 10, Simon 10, De Vance 7, Yap R.7, Pingris 5, Barroca 2, Reavis 0, De Ocampo 0.
MER 93 - Cardona 32, Famous 24, Artadi 13, Ross 7, Borboran 6, Hugnatan 6, Macapagal 3, Espinas 2, Timberlake 0, Taulava 0.
QS: 33-18, 43-46, 73-71, 96-93

James Yap drives past Mark Borboran on his way
to 18 big points.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/PBA.ph)
Jarrid Famous slams one home with authority!
Mac Cardona gets all cozy with B-Meg's Denzel Bowles.

Cyrus Baguio scattered 25 points and import Adam Parada had 24 points to go with 20 rebounds as the Aces hurdled the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters for an early bounce-back win. Baguio also added 7 assists.

ROS’s Duke Crews debuted with a game-high 34 points, and he also added 11 rebounds. The import is a high-flyer, but clearly undersized at just about 6-foot-5 and may not be the kind of reinforcement Rain or Shine wanted. The Bowie State U product scored his first three points off charities before making his first field goal on a short baseline jumper at the 5:02 mark of the opening period. Initially, however, he failed to adjust to the physical plays offered by Sonny Thoss, JR Reyes, Sam Eman and Parada and committed five of his six turnovers in the first half.

Crews did show some flashes of brilliance, helping the E-Painters charge back from as much as a 15-point deficit and tie the game up at 93. They even took the lead at 97-96 after four straight points by Crews.

But LA Tenorio and Baguio would not let the game slip away by hitting the crucial shots down the stretch that propelled Alaska to the win.

Jeffrei Chan had 18 points and Paul Lee 11 for Rain or Shine, which was handled by Caloy Garcia as head coach Yeng Guiao was out of the country.

ALA 109 - Baguio 25, Parada 24, Tenorio 19, Custodio 12, Thoss 8, Salamat 7, Eman 6, Baracael 4, Reyes 4.
ROS 102 - Crews 34, Chan 18, Lee 11, Cruz 8, Arana 8, Norwood 6, Belga 6, Quinahan 4, Buenafe 3, Jaime 2, Ibanes 2, Matias 0.
QS: 28-20, 55-49, 85-74, 109-102

Sonny Thoss (R) tests the defense of Duke Crews (L).
Cyrus Baguio led the Aces with 25 big points!
Unlike most of his fellow imports, Duke Crews
appears to be more of a slasher than a post player.

Jayjay Helterbrand created an incredible winning play in the last 3.9 seconds as Barangay Ginebra squeaked past Petron Blaze to start its campaign in the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The 2008 MVP awardee eluded defender Alex Cabagnot then scored on a twisting shot off 6-foot-10 Nick Fazekas at the buzzer as the Kings got off to a winning start in the mid-season tourney after a sixth-place finish in the Philippine Cup.

It was an amazing game marked by several amazing plays including the one run by the Boosters to tie the count at 82 with 3.9 ticks left. In their final possession with 20.1 seconds left, the Boosters showed so much patience, working the ball around before eventually finding Fazekas who banged away a game-tying three-pointer. The two teams figured in a fierce battle at the finish after the Boosters gallantly fought back from a 22-point deficit in the first half.

Ginebra import Chris Alexander produced 21 points and 24 rebounds against Fazekas’ 37 markers and 18 boards in a classic showdown.

A legitimate former NBA player with stints with the Dallas Mavericks and the LA Clippers, Fazekas showed great touch, going 2-of-2 from the three-point area, 11-of-25 from the two-point zone and 9-of-10 from the stripe. Alexander, meanwhile, did what was expected of him.

Mark Caguioa led the Ginebra locals with 17 points that went on top of 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Helterbrand finished with 11 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while Kerby Raymundo debuted as a Ginebra player with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Chris Lutz paced the Petron locals with 13 points.

BGK 84 -Alexander 21, Caguioa 17, Helterbrand 11, Raymundo 10, Hatfield 7, W. Wilson 4, Mamaril 4, Labagala 3, Cortez 3, Ababou 2, Canaleta 2.
PBB 82 - Fazekas 37, Lutz 13, Santos 8, Cabagnot 8, Miranda 6, Ildefonso 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Reyes 0, Yeo 0, Tugade 0.
QS: 27-14, 47-34, 64-62, 84-82

Jayjay Helterbrand emerged hero anew as the Kings
nipped the Blazers in the clutch.
Former rivals Rico Villanueva, Rico Maierhofer, and
Niño Canaleta look on as the Kings win.
Chris Alexander (L) and Nick Fazekas (R) will probably
meet again somewhere down the road.

Source: Game recaps were compressed and compiled from PBA.ph
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