2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: March 9-10, 2013

The TNT Tropang Texters, Bgy. Ginebra Gin Kings, and Air21 Express all gained some ground in the race for the 2013 PBA Commish Cup Playoff berths by winning in contrasting styles this past weekend.

In Legazpi City, Albay, Talk N Text handed Barako Bull its fourth defeat, 101-98. Both Larry Fonacier and Rabeh Al-Hussaini of TNT have been having a bad Commish Cup of late, but they stepped up here. Prior to this game, both guys were averaging a combined 11.6ppg only, but they broke out against the Energy Cola. Rabeh made his first 9 shots en route to a game-high 19 points, while Fonacier backstopped him with 18 markers. TNT’s 2012 Commish Cup import, Donnel Harvey, returned to action here, but he was huffing and puffing all the way. Harvey hardly looked like TNT's savior last night, but we have to consider the fact he went straight to Legazpi City after arriving in Manila. He scored just 8 points and was battling cramps late in the game.

In the meantime, can someone give Barako import Evan Brock a free throw shooting coach? The poor guy shot just 4-of-13 from the line! Paging Chip Engeland...

In Sunday’s first game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Air21 Express nailed only its second win in the conference by upending the reeling GlobalPort Batang Pier, 106-94.

Hey Denzel Bowles, you're not the only beastly guy in town! Air21’s Mike Dunigan dropped 35 and 20 -- THIRTY-FIVE POINTS and TWENTY REBOUNDS I tell you! If Dunigan can continue to put up these numbers, then the Ws might just continue to trickle in for the embattled coach Franz Pumaren. Despite the Express’s win, though, they’re still waiting for the real Niño Cañaleta to show up. The current Cañaleta is not the man who shot the lights out for Gilas Pilipinas earlier this year. In this game, he made just 1-of-6 from the floor.

Mike Dunigan rocks the rim as the Express add to
the woes of the Batang Pier.

Things turned from bad to worse for the Batang Pier with new acquisitions Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar compiling a paltry 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 turnovers, and 6 fouls. They shot 5-of-21 from the floor, too. Will this kind of performance be more the norm rather than the exception?

In the Manila Classico main game, the Bgy. Ginebra Gin Kings also notched just their second triumph by beating the San Mig Coffee Mixers, 96-88, mainly because Mark "The Spark" Caguioa showed up to play in this one. The reigning PBA MVP unloaded 25 big ones to go along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists in maybe his best all-around game of the conference. Oh, and let's not forget his FIVE threes!!! #countonCaguioa

Ginebra didn't disappoint its fans as the Kings lit up the scoreboard. Coach Alfrancis Chua's boys shot better than 54% from the field while also handing out 27 assists. Aside from Caguioa, four other Kings scored 11 or more points -- Vernon Macklin with 20, Billy Mamaril surprising everyone with 13, LA Tenorio with 12, and "Air Force" Ellis with 11.

Why did the Mixers lose? They were just outgunned from the get-go. James Yap did hit four triples, but he missed seven other rainbow shots. Overall, he shot just 8-of-22 from the floor. Coach Olsen, I'm still a believer in taking some shots away from Yap and giving them to PJ Simon. #yapistryingtoohardsogetsimonhisshots

Game Recaps:

Rabeh Al-Hussaini played his best game as a member of Talk ‘N Text with 19 points, but it was Jayson Castro who got the job done in the end, scoring the team’s last seven points as Tropang Texters outlasted the Barako Bull Energy Colas, 101-98 in Legazpi City, Albay.

Coming off back-to-back losses, the Tropang Texters found renewed aggression behind Castro, who had two tough penetration baskets to sandwich a dagger three-pointer to give Talk ‘N Text a late 101-96 lead.

Barako Bull fought back, with Danny Seigle scoring inside on a putback to cut the Talk ‘N Text lead to just three points. The Energy Colas then forced a 24-second violation on the Tropang Texters, leaving Barako Bull with six seconds to map out a final play.

But off a timeout, Barako Bull couldn’t set up its shooters for an open look, and Talk ‘N Text tapped the ball out with just a second remaining.

Barako Bull drew up a play for Mark Macapagal, who faked off his defender before making a three-pointer from right corner. The shot went in, but reviews showed he failed to release the ball before the buzzer, allowing the Tropang Texters to escape with the win.

Returning import Donnell Harvey, playing his first game after replacing Keith Benson, scored eight points for Talk ‘N Text.

The Tropang Texters’ win-loss record improved to an even 3-3. Barako Bull suffered its third straight defeat for a 3-4 mark.

TNT 101 – Al-Hussaini 19, Fonacier 18, Castro 18, Alapag 12, De Ocampo 11, Harvey 8, Williams 8, Reyes 3, Carey 2, Aban 2, Dillinger 0, Raymundo 0.
BAR 98 – Pennisi 19, Seigle 18, Urbiztondo 14, Brock 14, Anthony 12, Macapagal 9, Villanueva 7, Kramer 2, Intal 2, Maliksi 1, Duncil 0, Weinstein 0.
QS: 30-32, 61-51, 81-78, 101-98


Michael Dunigan has been putting up monster numbers for Air 21 in the Commissioner’s Cup.

On Sunday, those stats finally translated into a victory, as Dunigan led the Express to a 106-94 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Dunigan posted 35 points and 20 rebounds for Air 21, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

After the game, Express coach Franz revealed where his reinforcement has been drawing motivation for his inspired play.

“His personal trainer is here — his mom,” said Pumaren, who called Dunigan “one of the best imports here.”

Dunigan’s performance atoned for his play in the Express’ last loss to Meralco. In that game, the import scored 40 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but committed a crucial error to allow the Bolts to escape with the victory.

It was Air 21′s second victory after an opening victory against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel. Most of the Express’ defeats came in close matches that saw the young team faltering in the fourth quarter.

“It eases the pain a little from our previous games,” said Pumaren. “At least this time around, we finished strong.

“We’re back in the hunt. Hopefully we can sustain this.”

Debuting import Walter Sharpe acquianted himself well for GlobalPort, scoring 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds despite suffering an injury that caused him to miss chunks of the fourth quarter. Gary David added 20 points for the Batang Pier, which suffered its fifth straight defeat.

A21 106 – Dunigan 35, Isip 12, Cortez 12, Arboleda 12, Omolon 9, Wilson 8, Canaleta 8, Ritualo 6, Custodio 4, Atkins 0, Baclao 0.
GLO 94 – Sharpe 24, David 20, Mandani 13, Miller 12, Mercado 8, Aguilar 6, Aljamal 4, Salvador 4, Yee 3, Antonio 0.
QS: 23-15, 47-50, 78-71, 106-94

Coach Junel Baculi can only scratch his head after
the Batang Pier lose again.

New import Walter Sharpe tumbles against the
inspired play of Mike Dunigan.


In front of the biggest crowd of the tournament, Mark “The Spark” Caguioa shone brightest.

The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel superstar scored 25 points, including two huge three-pointers in the last two minutes, to lead the Gin Kings to a 96-88 victory over the San Mig Coffee Mixers in their Manila Clasico showdown Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win gave the Gin Kings its second win in seven games, coming against their traditional rivals in front of a wild crowd of 16,617.

“Pinakita lang ni Mark Caguioa na he’s still Mark Caguioa,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.

But Caguioa did not do it alone. LA Tenorio quarterbacked the squad masterfully, finishing with 12 points and 13 assists.

“Malaking isda ‘tong nahuli namin,” said Chua.

“They’re taller, they’re stronger than us. Pero mas malaki ang puso nila sa kalaban.”

Import Vernon Macklin added 20 points and 16 rebounds for Ginebra while providing the energy for the squad.

“Gusto siya ng mga players because of his fighting heart,” said Chua. “Yung mga ganun masarap kasama sa laban.”

Ginebra got key contributions from role players Billy Mamaril, who scored 13 points, and Chris Ellis, who added 11.

Denzel Bowles led the fight for San Mig Coffee with 25 points and 16 rebounds, while James Yap added 21.

The loss snapped San Mig Coffee’s three-game winning streak. The Mixers’ win-loss record fell to 3-4.

GIN 96 – Caguioa 25, Macklin 20, Mamaril 13, Tenorio 12, Ellis 11, Raymundo 6, Labagala 4, Baracael 4, Maierhofer 1.
SMC 88 – Bowles 25, Yap 21, Devance 13, Pingris 11, Mallari 4, Barroca 4, Simon 4, De Ocampo 4, Najorda 2, Gaco 0.
QS: 24-17, 48-35, 67-58, 96-88

Chris Ellis and Joe Devance battled mightily
in Manila Classico last night!

Mark Caguioa loves playing on the big stage!

Vernon Macklin continued to impress
for the Gin Kings.

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

Images: Images are from InterAKTV and the PBA. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa) 
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