2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: February 8-10, 2013

The 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening weekend was quite eventful, to say the least. All the favored teams were beaten by lower-seeded squads, former San Miguel Corp players reminded their former teams what made them so valuable in the past, an import was fined 40K, another import missed his first game due to food poisoning, and prodigal PBAer Japeth Aguilar has impressed well beyond expectations.

Let’s see, Global Port beat Petron and Barako beat San Mig Coffee on Day 1, Alaska beat ROS and Meralco beat TNT on Day 2, and, lastly, Barako zoomed to the top of the standings after snatching victory against Global Port, while Air21 defeated Ginebra on Day 3.

Right now, the Energy Cola, bannered by the dynamic duo of Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva, both former SMC/B-Meg playmakers, are sitting pretty at #1 with a 2-0 slate. Meanwhile, both Philippine Cup finalists and all three SMC teams are bringing up the rear.

Aside from Urbiztondo and Villanueva, John Wilson and Mike Cortez, both formerly of Ginebra, unloaded great games against their former team. It almost looks like the former players of the SMC trinity are extra-motivated to go up against their ex-squad.

Perhaps the biggest story of the first weekend, however, has been the awesome play of former #1 pick Japeth Aguilar. Aguilar, fresh from his efforts to break into the NBA D-League, is currently the second-most efficient player in the conference, right behind Ginerba’s Mark Caguioa. Aguilar is averaging eye-popping numbers – 19.5ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.5apg, 2.0bpg, and 1.0spg while shooting 46% from the field and 80% from the line. He’s also playing a career-high 38 minutes per game.

Hey, maybe he was right to demand more playing time after all?

Japeth Aguilar shone for the Batang Pier over the
past weekend.

Game Recaps:

GlobalPort could have given up after import Justin Williams was ejected from the game early in the third quarter.

But instead of rolling over, the Batang Pier came from behind to fashion out an impressive 94-92 victory over the Petron Blaze Boosters, 94-92, Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to open their 2013 Commissioner’s Cup campaign.

“I begged the players to play defense, hang on and make the game close because I thought we can pull off an upset,” said GlobalPort coach Junel Baculi.

Gary David scored 28 points while new acquisitions Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar added 17 and 16, respectively, for GlobalPort, which bucked the disqualification of reinforcement Justin Williams with 8:18 left in the third quarter.

Williams still finished with an impressive line of 18 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocked shots before he was called for a flagrant foul penalty two after elbowing June Mar Fajardo, leading to an automatic ejection.

Mercado’s free throws with less than three minutes left gave GlobalPort the lead for good. GlobalPort was still up, 93-92, when Arwind Santos’ long-range attempt failed to hit the mark, forcing Petron to foul Aguilar with 1.8 seconds left.

Aguilar split his free throws, giving Petron one last crack. But Ronald Tubid was unable to get off his final shot, preserving the GlobalPort victory.

Aguilar added nine rebounds and three blocks while Mercado had 11 assists for the Batang Pier, which tied its win total from the Philippine Cup with the victory.

GLO 94 – David 28, Williams 18, Mercado 17, Aguilar 16, Yee 8, Salvador 3, Nabong 2, Miller 2, Deutchman 0, Lingganay 0, Juntilla 0, Aljamal 0, Adducul 0.
PET 92 – Balkman 23, Santos 15, Tubid 12, Cabagnot 11, Lanete 9, Washington 7, Miranda 6, Fajardo 5, Yeo 2, Pena 2, Lutz 0.
QS: 19-16, 39-45, 64-69, 94-92

Sol Mercado seems to be fitting in well with his new team.


Last season, Josh Urbiztondo and Jonas Villanueva helped the B-MEG Llamados win the Commissioner’s Cup.

One year later, the point guard duo was winning at their old team’s expense, as they led Barako Bull to a tight 79-75 victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Urbiztondo, who was traded to Barako Bull prior to the start of the season, posted 17 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Villanueva, who joined the Energy Colas after the Philippine Cup, had 16 points and five assists, including a key pass to Danny Seigle for a three-pointer that pushed the Barako Bull lead to five points, 76-71, with 30 seconds remaining.

Import Evan Brock added 18 points and 12 rebounds for Barako Bull, which took advantage of San Mig Coffee playing without reinforcement Matt Rogers. The Mixers import was confined in the hospital prior to the game because of suspected food poisoning.

“This is an important win for us,” saidBarako Bull team consultant Rajko Toroman. “I have five or six players on injured list and the rotation was so small. But we played good defense.”

Despite playing with a handicap, San Mig Coffee kept the game close led by James Yap, who scored 19 points but suffered an injury late that kept him on the bench for key stretches of the fourth quarter.

BAR 79 – Brock 18, Urbiztondo 17, Villanueva 16, Macapagal 8, Seigle 8, Maliksi 7, Pennisi 5, Duncil 0, Kramer 0, Allado 0.
SMC 75 – Yap 19, Reavis 13, Simon 11, Najorda 8, Devance 6, Pingris 6, Mallari 5, Barroca 4, Alvarez 3, Gonzales 0.
QS: 16-19, 38-36, 55-52, 79-75

Former backcourt mates Jonas Villanueva and James Yap meet anew.


Cyrus Baguio hit a fastbreak layup in transition to beat the buzzer and give the Alaska Aces an 83-81 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Saturday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Baguio’s basket capped a thrilling endgame comeback for the Aces, who needed a desperation 25-foot three-pointer from Calvin Abueva to tie the game at 81-all with 10 seconds left in the game.

Rain or Shine set up a play for import Bruno Sundov for its final possession. But the attempt of the 7-foot-3 Croatian was foiled at the basket by Abueva, leading to a loose ball.

Alaska made the loose ball recovery and got the ball to Baguio, who raced downcourt past three Elasto Painters to score the game-winning layup.

Import Robert Dozier led the Aces with 21 points and 16 rebounds in his PBA debut.

“Bruno Sundov, I believe, is the barometer among the imports playing and it’s nice for Robert Dozier to step up in the second half,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, who earned his first career victory against Rain or Shine.

Sundov caused major problems all game long for Alaska, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. But Dozier came alive in the second half, scoring 16 of his 21 points after the break. Sonny Thoss added 17 points for Alaska while Abueva had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Aces.

The game will be broadcast over AKTV at 10 p.m. Saturday.

ALA 83 – Dozier 21, Thoss 17, Casio 11, Baguio 9, Abueva 8, Espinas 6, Ramos 5, Jazul 4, Hontiveros 2, Reyes 0, Dela Cruz 0, Belasco 0.
ROS 81 – Sundov 30, Lee 8, Norwood 8, Chan 8, Tang 6, Arana 6, Matias 5, Belga 5, Cruz 2, Quinahan 2, Tiu 1, Rodriguez 0.
QS: 24-23; 40-47; 66-66; 83-81


Eric Dawson has served notice.

The Meralco import scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bolts to an impressive 99-92 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the Commissioner’s Cup Saturday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Dawson added 14 rebounds and four blocks for the Bolts, who squandered an 18-point first half lead before recovering in time to turn back the Tropang Texters.

“We played Talk N Text at the right time. They didn’t have extensive practice together and they have two new guys on their roster,” said Ryan Gregorio.

“We, on the other hand, were practicing a long time. Eric has been practicing for us for the past three weeks.”

Ronjay Buenafe and Mac Cardona added 19 and 16 points, respectively, for the Bolts. Chris Ross, starting at the point guard spot in place of the traded Sol Mercado, scored just two points but had nine rebounds and eight assists for Meralco.

“This is definitely a brand new franchise. It’s nice to win this game against the champs,” added Gregorio.

“I like the unpredictability of our game right now. We can go to the post and we can go off screen.”

Despite the team effort, it was Dawson who sealed the deal for the Bolts, scoring 11 of his team’s final 13 points. He drew the sixth and final foul of Talk ‘N Text import Keith Benson with more than three minutes remaining, taking the fight out of the Tropang Texters.

Benson led Talk ‘N Text with 25 points, while Jimmy Alapag added 18, 14 of which came in the second half. Jayson Castro had 15 of his 17 points in the second quarter, but played sparingly in the second half because of an apparent injury.

MER 99 – Dawson 37, Buenafe 19, Cardona 16, Manuel 8, HugnaTAN 8, Hodge 4, Borboran 3, Guevarra 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Artadi 0.

TNT 92 – Benson 25, Alapag 18, Castro17, De Ocampo 9, Fonacier 7, Reyes 6, Dillinger 4, Raymundo 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Aban 0, Ferriols 0.
QS: 27-14; 48-41; 68-62; 99-92


Barako Bull’s finish kick was so strong, the GlobalPort Batang Pier didn’t quite know what hit them.

The Energy Colas finished the game on a 22-2 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime period, hacking out a 98-88 victory over GlobalPort Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Barako Bull looked dead in the water trailing by 10 points, 86-76, heading into the two-minute mark of regulation. But the Energy Colas locked down on defense and finished the fourth period with a 10-0 run capped by a three-pointer by a corner three-pointer Mark Macapagal to force overtime.

It was Macapagal’s only conversion from beyond the arc, and it came at exactly the right moment.

“We’re waiting for that the whole game and it came at a right time,” said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos.

Barako Bull finished the job in extra time, outscoring GlobalPort, 12-2, for their second straight victory and an early spot atop the Commissioner’s Cup team standings.

“It’s a great thing to win this kind of game. We showed character in winning our last two games,” said Barako Bull team consultant Rajko Toroman.

Import Evan Brock led the charge with 25 points and 18 rebounds, while Josh Urbiztondo added 24 points on six three-pointers for Barako Bull, which saw five players — Brock, Urbiztondo,, Macapagal, Jonas Villanueva, and Allein Maliksi — logging at least 35 minutes with a shorthanded roster missing five key players.

Villanueva chipped in 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Danny Seigle added 16 points, including a slam dunk over GlobalPort import Justin Williams in the fourth quarter that fired up the Energy Colas.

The loss spoiled the fine efforts of GlobalPort’s top guns.

Japeth Aguilar led GlobalPort in scoring with 23 points and added 10 rebounds. Sol Mercado finished with 19 points and 16 assists, while Williams posted 12 points and 27 rebounds before leaving the game in overtime because of an apparent leg injury.

“Our strategic plan was not to give Sol Mercado the penetration and not allow Gary David and Willie Miller the outside shot,” said Toroman.

Gary David added 19 points for GlobalPort, whose win-loss record dropped to 1-1.

BAR 98 – Brock 25, Urbiztondo 24, Villanueva 18, Seigle 16, Maliksi 9, Macapagal 6, Kramer 0, Pennisi 0, Allado 0.
GLO 88 – Aguilar 23, Mercado 19, David 19, Williams 12, Miller 7, Yee 5, Salvador 3, Deutchman 0, Juntilla 0.
QS: 21-19, 35-38, 60-58, 86-86, 98-88

Mark Macapagal waves to the crowd after sending the game to overtime.


Air 21 got the kind of debut it needed from import Michael Dunigan, who finished with 26 points and 19 rebounds as the Express outlasted Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 74-70, in the main game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.

Dunigan scored 18 points in the second half to rescue Air 21 as he completely outplayed his counterpart Herbert Hill, who scored 17 points but shot a woeful 7-of-24 (24 percent) from the field. The Ginebra import also committed six turnovers.

Hill was held to just two points in the first 24 minutes of play, but picked up his scoring in the second half, as the Gin Kings fought their way back from a 12-point deficit.

But Dunigan conspired with former Ginebra stalwarts Mike Cortez and John Wilson, who scored 13 points apiece, to seal the win for Air 21 in the fourth quarter.

“It’s always a nice feeling beating Ginebra, especially because of their star-studded line up,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren.

“If you look at our lineup, man for man, we’re the weakest in terms of local line up because most of the other teams have upgraded their line ups.”

Pumaren said that beyond his scoring, Dunigan has shored up the team’s interior defense. Air 21 allowed just 21 points for Ginebra in the first half.

“We won this game because of defense. Michael is a big factor. His intimidation underneath is a big plus for us and when the time comes we needed to score, he provided it. He just needs to get used with those pushing and shoving in the PBA,” added Pumaren.

The loss spoiled the effort of Mark Caguioa, who finished with 26 points to lead Ginebra.

AIR 74 – Dunigan 26, Wilson 13, Cortez 13, Reyes 7, Isip 7, Custodio 5, Menor 2, Canaleta 1, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Omolon 0, Ritualo 0, Arboleda 0.
GIN 70 – Caguioa 26, Hill 17, Helterbrnd 10, Wilson 7, Ellis 3, Tenorio 3, Baracael 2, Mamaril 2, Taha 0, Jensen 0, Maierhofer 0, Hatfield 0.
QS: 17-13, 31-21, 48-50, 74-70

Michael Dunigan was a tower of power for Air21.

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 and Pranz Kaeno Billones) 
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