2012 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: October 10-12, 2012

Cliff Hodge has been the highest-performing rookie
of the past two weeks.

For me, the biggest PBA story for the past few days has been the great play of Meralco rookie Cliff Hodge.

The #4 overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft has proven to be Meralco’s most consistent Bolt in its first two games. The former Hawaii Pacific Sea Warrior is currently averaging 19.5ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.0spg, and 1.0bpg in 39.0mpg for the Manny Pangilinan franchise.

In sum, he has been the most productive rookie thus far. He’s #8 in points, #9 in rebounds, and #2 in minutes for the whole league, and by far #1 among rookies in statistical points (37.5 SPs). The next closest freshie is Kelly Nabong with just 27.0 SPs.

Those stats are much better than those of the three guys taken before him in the draft. As of this writing, top pick June Mar Fajardo has accumulated only 20.0 SPs, while #3 pick Alex Mallari has just 13.0 SPs. Calvin Abueva, the #2 pick, has yet to play for the Alaska Aces because the NCAA wars are still ongoing.

Game Recaps:

Look who’s taking up the scoring cudgels for the Meralco Bolts.

Rookie Cliff Hodge showed he’s more than just an energy guy as he led the Bolts with a double-double performance and steered his squad to a 93-86 triumph over the Alaska Aces in the PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Hodge finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, doing practically everything on the floor while fellow newcomer Kelly Nabong also stepped up, grabbing 11 boards on top of six markers.

“It’s unusual to have a rookie dictate our effort level, but we’re fortunate to draft Cliff Hodge,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “We thought in the beginning, he’s there to provide us excitement and do the dirty work, but he’s been scoring as well and has been averaging close to 20 points in his first two games. It’s a good relief to have him.”

Hodge and Nabong, two hardworking forwards, provided plenty of the energy and rebounding that the team needed after losing stalwart Asi Taulava before the start of the season.

“We’re playing center by committee in the absence of Asi,” said Gregorio. “Sometimes it’s Jay-R Reyes, sometimes it’s Carlo Sharma or Nabong. It’s a good thing we were able to pull it through.”

Hodge pumped in 12 of his total output in the third period when the Bolts pulled away. The Bolts established their biggest lead, 63-48, on a putback by Sunday Salvacion with still 7:04 left in the third.

High-scoring guards Mac Cardona, Ronjay Buenafe and Sol Mercado took the backseat for the streaking Hodge.

Cardona made up for his sub-par performance against Talk ‘N Text in their opener, tallying 16 points. Buenafe contributed 13 while Mercado and Sunday Salvacion added 10 apiece for the Bolts, who played minus injured starting guard Chris Ross.

“He had a tear in his right meniscus, so he’s day-to-day right now. Hopefully, he will recover sooner or later. The good thing is no surgeries needed. Just rehab. He wants to play, but if his future is in jeopardy, we’re not risking it,” added Gregorio.

MER 93 – Hodge 20, Cardona 16, Buenafe 13, Mercado 10, Salvacion 10, Hugnatan 8, Nabong 6, Reyes 4, Borboran 2, Sharma 2, Artadi 2, Belencion 0
ALA 86 – Baguio 19, Thoss 17, Espinas 15, Casio 12, Hontiveros 9, Baracael 4, Bugia 4, Dela Cruz 4, Reyes 2, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Cablay 0, Belasco 0
QS: 24-24, 50-44, 76-64, 93-86.

Sunday Salvacion and Cyrus Baguio get tangled
up on the floor.

JV Casio drives past Sol "The Sol Train" Mercado.


Petron Blaze banked on its run and gun game to notch its first win of the season.

The Boosters unleashed 30 fastbreak points to run roughshod over the Barako Bull Energy Colas, 98-89, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Chris Lutz, still recuperating from his old injury, led the way for the Boosters with 22 points but it was Alex Cabagnot’s clutch performance that bailed Petron Blaze out of trouble as they withstood a late rally made by Barako Bull.

Cabagnot had two triples in the last six minutes, including his last one that gave the Boosters a 93-82 lead with only 2:40 left in the game.

“We made adjustments on the transition,” said rookie coach Olsen Racela, who picked up his first career win as coach in the PBA. “Last game, we had difficult time with our halfcourt set and we felt that 102 points was too much to give to any team, so we also stepped up in defense.”

Arwind Santos added 18 points while Cabagnot contributed 16.

Petron’s fast-paced attack produced a positive result for the squad, but visibly affected the game of 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo, who struggled for only three points and seven rebounds.

The top overall rookie pick attempted five times, missed four shots and split his two free throws.

But Racela’s first victory was nearly threatened when the Energy Colas climbed back from 20 points down.

The lead was cut down to as low as five by Enrico Villanueva’s split charities early in the fourth period, 82-77.

But Cabagnot kept things at hand for the Boosters as his two three-pointers touched off a crippling 13-5 spurts by Petron Blaze, which pulled away anew, 95-82, in the final two minutes.

“Nag-relax kami. We have to play consistently for 48 minutes because any team in the PBA once given an opportunity can come back from big deficits,” said Racela.

PET 98 – Lutz 22, Santos 18, Cabagnot 16, Duncil 8, Miranda 8, Yeo 7, Mallari 4, Washington 4, Ildefonso 4, Pena 4, Fajardo 3
BAR 89 – Urbiztondo 17, Pennisi 16, Villanueva 13, Anthony 10, Kramer 10, Tubid 10, Najorda 5, Seigle 4, Alvarez 2, Cruz 2, Yap 0
QS: 24-20, 53-40, 80-68, 98-89

Sean Anthony goes up for a ballerina shot against Petron.

Chris Lutz let the Boosters in a decisive win
over the Energy.


Incoming Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black was in a jubilant mood, and his Tropang Texters didn’t let the GlobalPort Batang Pier spoil the fun.

Ranidel De Ocampo banged in a three-pointer that put the game out of reach with 9.2 seconds left, allowing Talk ‘N Text to escape with a thrilling 108-104 victory over GlobalPort in the Philippine Cup Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Tropang Texters needed big baskets from Jayson Castro, who scored 30 points, to turn back the winless Batang Pier and give Black a triumphant welcome. The win comes a day after he piloted the Ateneo Blue Eagles to their fifth straight UAAP title.

The 10-time PBA champion coach said he had intended to leave interim coach Nash Racela at the helm, but couldn’t resist taking a more active role as GlobalPort looked to steal a victory from Talk ‘N Text.

The two teams battled in a tight first half, before a fiery third quarter had the defending champion Tropang Texters threatening to break the game wide open. A 12-2 run capped by a Larry Fonacier three-pointer gave Talk ‘N Text an 86-70 advantage.

But GlobalPort battled back with its own 16-2 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters to cut the Talk ‘N Text lead to just two points, 88-86. The two teams exchanged blows before a Vic Manuel jumper gave GlobalPort a one point lead, 94-93, with seven minutes left.

The Batang Pier were still up, 104-101, with less than three minutes remaining when Castro scored four straight points to give Talk ‘N Text the lead for good. GlobalPort came up empty in its next possessions in the clutch, allowing De Ocampo to seal the game with his clutch hit.

Ryan Reyes and Larry Fonacier added 19 points apiece for Talk ‘N Text, which won its second straight nailbiter. It defeated Meralco in overtime, 112-10, in its first assignment last Friday.

Willie Miller scored 22 points and rookie Vic Manuel added 21 to carry the fight for GlobalPort, which missed Gary David due to injury. Rabeh Al-Hussaini, a former Black protege at Ateneo who was benched in Batang Pier’s last game, added 17 points.

Black, who has been handling for a month, said Talk ‘N Text is still a team in transition.

“It’s still a work in progress for me,” said Black. “Players are still learning my system offensively.”

He noted that he had missed several Talk ‘N Text practices over the past weeks as he concentrated on Ateneo’s playoff run, which would explain the Tropang Texters’ defensive struggles. Prior to taking over as coach, Black had served as Talk ‘N Text’s consultant, playing the role of defensive coordinator for the squad.

Black, who is making his return a decade after his last PBA head coaching gig, promised the best is yet to come for Talk ‘N Text.

“It’s only a matter of time before I turn this into a smooth running machine,” he said.

TNT 108 – Castro 30, Reyes 19, Fonacier 19, De Ocampo 15, Williams 11, Alapag 5, Peek 4, Carey 3, Gamalinda 3, Raymundo 0, Alvarez 0
GLO 104 – Miller 22, Manuel 21, Al-Hussaini 17, Salvador 9 Vanlandingham 8, Deutchman 7, Guevarra 6, Yee 6, Mandani 4, Cruz 2, Antonio 2, Lingganay 0
QS: 32-31; 57-52; 86-78; 108-104

TNT Head Coach Norman Black plunged straight into action
a day after he won his 5th UAAP title with Ateneo.

Jayson Castro loops one over Global Port's
AJ Mandani.

Willie Miller tries to elude the defense
of Ryan Reyes.


Jeff Chan scored a career-high 35 points, including the go-ahead basket with 15 seconds left, to lift Rain or Shine to a tense 99-98 overtime victory over Air 21 in the Philippine Cup Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

With the shot clock winding down in extra period, Chan found himself against the smaller Wynne Arboleda. The southpaw hotshot drove right, sidestepped to his right, before fading away for a baby jumper that trickled in to give the Elasto Painters the victory.

Air 21 had one final opportunity to steal the win, but Rain or Shine hounded Arboleda into an airball on his attempt and stripped the ball from KG Canaleta off a rebound play to preserve the win.

“We’re lucky we got a good game from Jeff. His offense carried us for most of the game,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao of Chan, last year’s Most Improved Player who is off to a blistering start this season. Over his first three games, the sharpshooter from Bacolod City has averaged 26.7 points, despite getting little offseason rest after leading Rain or Shine to last season’s Governors’ Cup title and playing for SMART-Gilas Pilipinas in two international tournaments.

Chan’s brilliant performance bailed out the Elasto Painters, who looked like they had the game in the bag in regulation. Rain or Shine led Air 21, 93-88, with just 23 seconds remaining in the game. But it allowed Nelbert Omolon to score a three-point play with 10 seconds left to cut the Elasto Painters advantage to a single basket.

Air 21 sent Beau Belga to the free throw line in the ensuing possession, and the Rain or Shine center split his foul shots to give the Elasto Painters a three-point lead, 94-91. Arboleda raced down the court and shoveled a pass to Canaleta, who hit a 25-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Gabe Norwood and Jervy Cruz added 12 points apiece for Rain or Shine, which won its second game in three outings. Air 21, which lost for the second time in three games, was paced by John Wilson who scored 21 points.

Rain or Shine dedicated the game in honor of late assistant coach Roehl Nadurata, who succumbed to lung cancer last Tuesday. Nadurata, who has been part of Guiao’s coach staff for 20 years, was a key member of the Rain or Shine brain trust during its Governors’ Cup title run.

ROS 99 – Chan 35, Cruz 12, Norwood 12, Belga 8, Quinahan 8, Ibanes 7, Arana 5, Tang 5, Jaime 3, Matias 0.
A21 98 – Wilson 21, Canaleta 13, Isip 12, Omolon 11, Arboleda 10, Sena 8, Baclao 8, Escobal 6, Taha 4, Ritualo 3, Atkins 2.
QS: 18-26, 43-48, 75-68, 94-94, 99-98.

Jeff Chan sizzled for a career-best 35
versus the Express.

Nino Canaleta tries an air reverse shot
against the ROS defense.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble.)

Images: All images are from InterAKTV. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa & Paul Ryan Tan) 
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