2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: February 13-15, 2013

If one looks at the current PBA Commish’s Cup standings, he/she will be forgiven for feeling a little surprised. The Alaska Aces and the Barako Bull Energy Cola are the only unbeaten teams so far, with Global Port at solo third place. A bunch of teams are locked at the 4th-7th spots with 1-1 slates, while the Painters, Gin Kings, and Mixers bring up the rear with winless cards.

Calvin Abueva continues to play well as the
Aces go 2-0 in the current conference.

Needless to say, it seems that, given these standings, the world is off-kilter. One big part of this, of course, is the presence of the imports. Robert Dozier, Evan Brock, and Justin Williams have been surprisingly good so far, while guys like Herbert Hill and Matt Rogers have been a little underwhelming. By and large, however, it is the shocking improvement of some locals and the unexpected chemistry of new acquisitions that have really boosted the top three teams in the league.

In particular, guys like Jonas Villanueva, Sol Mercado, and Japeth Aguilar seem to have revitalized themselves after moving out from their previous clubs. Villanueva has been stellar for Barako, while Mercado is leading the league in assists (THIRTEEN per game), and Aguilar is really proving himself worthy of the added playing time.

It’s still a long way to go, but it’s clear that, based on the early goings, one should expect the unexpected in this year’s Commissioner’s Cup!

Game Recaps:

Alaska import Robert Dozier outclassed his Meralco counterpart Eric Dawson as the Aces carved out an 85-81 victory Wednesday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Dozier posted 27 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocks for the Aces, which grabbed a share of the early Commissioner’s Cup lead with a perfect 2-0 record, tying idle Barako Bull.

Dawson, who scored 37 points in his debut against Talk ‘N Text last Saturday, was held to just 15 points on woeful 5-of-16 shooting (31 percent) by the stifling Alaska defense.

That left the Meralco locals led by Vic Manuel, who topped the Bolts with 18 points, to carry the fight for his team. Meralco stayed within striking distance in the second half, coming within four points on a three-pointer by Ronjay Buenafe with less than two minutes remaining.

The Bolts lucked out after Alaska deadshot JVee Casio missed two free throws in the ensuing play, but neither Buenafe nor Mac Cardona could bring Meralco closer in the next possession.

Cyrus Baguio gave Alaska more breathing room by splitting his free throws with 20 seconds left, before Buenafe hit another three-pointer to move the Bolts closer, 83-81, with 12.8 seconds left.

But Tony Dela Cruz hit two free throws to put more distance between the Aces and the Bolts, and Alaska foiled Manuel’s final attempt to seal the win.

Calvin Abueva added 20 points and eight rebounds for Alaska, while Cyrus Baguio chipped in 16.

ALA 85 – Dozier 27, Abueva 20, Baguio 16, Casio 8, Espinas 6, Thoss 6, Dela Cruz 2, Ramos 0, Jazul 0, Eman 0, Hontiveros 0, Belasco 0.
MER 81 – Manuel 18, Dawson 15, Buenafe 14, Cardona 11, Ross 6, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Artadi 4, Guevarra 2, Borboran 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0.
QS: 26-21, 47-39, 63-62, 85-81

Robert Dozier has been playing solid for Alaska.


This time, there would be no collapse for Petron.

The Blaze Boosters used a furious second quarter run and remained in cruise control the rest of the way for an easy 98-73 victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers Friday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win gave Petron its first Commissioner’s Cup victory after dropping its opening assignment against GlobalPort, which it lost after leading by as much as 18 points in the first half.

Seven players scored at least seven points for Petron, which outscored San Mig Coffee, 28-8, in the second quarter.

That allowed the Boosters to take a 26-point lead at the half, 48-22. Petron never trailed by less than 16 points the rest of the way.

“Playing against San Mig Coffee, we know we have to put up a good defensive effort against a good executing team. We had this mindset of depensa muna bago opensa,” said Petron coach Olsen Racela.

Renaldo Balkman led the charge for Petron with 28 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, apart from a highlight reel dunk in the third quarter over San Mig Coffee import Matt Rogers, who was making his PBA debut after missing the Mixers’ first game due to food poisoning. Jay Washington and Alex Cabagnot added 17 and 15 points, respectively.

“More than the good numbers provided by Balkman, it was the intangibles, the energy and hustle he provided,” added Racela.

Rogers scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but struggled from the field shooting just 7-of-19 (37 percent). James Yap carried the fight for San Mig Coffee with 25 points, but was hampered by an injury late in the game.

The loss dropped the Mixers, the tournament’s defending champion, to a 0-2 win-loss record to start the conference.

PET 98 – Balkman 28, Washington 17, Cabagnot 15, Lassiter 9, Fajardo 8, Miranda 8, Santos 7, Tubid 4, Faundo 2, Lanete 0, Pena 0.
SMC 73 – Yap 25, Rogers 20, Simon 8, Devance 7, Pingris 7, Najorda 3, Barroca 2, Mallari 1, Alvarez 0, Reavis 0, De Ocampo 0
QS: 20-14, 48-22, 70-49, 98-73

Renaldo Balkman had a breakout game against the Mixers.


Keith Benson scored 30 points, including five in the final two minutes, to help Talk ‘N Text survive a furious Air 21 fourth quarter onslaught, 86-83, and book its first win in the Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Benson added 18 rebounds for the Tropang Texters, who had to weather an Express uprising anchored on KG Canaleta’s 20-point fourth quarter explosion.

“It was scary for us in the fourth quarter as KG hit some big treys, but luckily we were able to make stops,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.

Canaleta hit six of his seven three-pointers in the final period as the Express battled back from a 22-point deficit.

A slam dunk by import Michael Dunigan pushed the Express to within one point, 82-81, before Benson responded with a three-point play off a timeout to give the Tropang Texters more breathing room.

“He played much better than the first game, but how can he stay away from foul trouble is a concern for us,” said Black about his import. “That’s something he needs to work on.”

Mike Cortez hit a layup for Air 21, which sent Jared Dillinger to the free throw line in the next play. Dillinger split his free throws, giving the Express one final chance at an equalizer.

But the final three-point attempt by Bonbon Custodio hit the back rim, giving Talk ‘N Text its first tournament victory after losing its opening assignment to Meralco last Saturday.

Ranidel De Ocampo scored all 19 of his points in the second and third quarters, when Talk ‘N Text built its formidable lead.

Dunigan and Cortez added 19 and 11 points, respectively, for the Express, whose win-loss record dropped to 1-1.

TNT 86 – Benson 30, De Ocampo 19, Dillinger 14, Reyes 8, Al-Hussaini 5, Castro 5, Fonacier 5, Wiliams 0, Carey 0, Alapag 0.
AIR 83 – Canaleta 23, Dunigan 19, Cortez 11, Custodio 8, Baclao 5, Ritualo 5, Wilson 4, Menor 2, Reyes 2, Isip 2, Arboleda 2, Omolon 0.
QS: 23-18, 52-33, 72-51, 86-83

Oooooh lala. Jessica Mendoza sizzles for all PBA fans.

Keith Benson slams a nasty one thru the hoop.


Workhorse import Justin Williams posted monster numbers while Sol Mercado registered his third straight double-double performance in a GlobalPort uniform to help the Batang Pier cruise past Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 89-80, in Friday Commissioner’s Cup action at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Williams had 23 points, 23 rebounds, and eight blocks while Mercado finished with 12 points and 13 assists for GlobalPort, which won for the second time in three games.

The Batang Pier bounced back from a tough loss against Barako Bull in its last outing.

“Lessons learned, we bounced back tonight after losing to Barako Bull last time. We didn’t play smart enough in our last game,” said GlobalPort coach Junel Baculi, who also got 22 points from Gary David as well as big contributions from the Batang Pier supporting cast.

“I told my role players that they are as important as the starters. AJ Mandani did a great job playing as backup. He provided quality minutes while Sol was resting,” added Baculi.

The fiery coach was all praises for his hardworking import Williams, who got 27 rebounds against Barako Bull but made some crucial errors down the stretch.

“I told him he has to play smart. He’s learning. The more games he play, the more he will get accustomed to the PBA game,” added Baculi.

Import Herbert Hill paced Ginebra with 22 points and 19 rebounds while Mark Caguioa added 20 points for the Gin Kings, which lost its second straight game to open the tournament.

GLO 89 – Williams 23, David 22, Mercado 12, Aguilar 8, Salvador 8, Mandani 6, Miller 5, Deutchman 3, Yee 2, Crisano 0.
GIN 80 – Hill 22, Caguioa 20, Baracael 8, Tenorio 8, Hatfield 6, Helterbrand 5, Raymundo 5, Ellis 4, Mamaril 2, Jensen 0, Espiritu 0.
QS: 29-15, 46-38, 67-56, 89-80

Gary David dropped 22 as the Batang Pier
won for the second time in three games.

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 Paul Ryan Tan) 
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