2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: March 23-24, 2013

Armed with resounding wins, Air21, San Mig Coffee, and Ginebra all rose in the standings even as Rain or Shine tied Alaska at first place. In the meantime, the weekend also saw cellar-dwellers GlobalPort and Barako Bull remain in the quagmire, while TNT continued to blow hot and cold.

Mark Caguioa couldn't play, but the Kings didn't
really need him to.
In Saturday’s curtain-raiser, Air21 beat GlobalPort, 87-72. Niño Cañaleta and Wynne Arboleda hit 4 treys each to underscore the hot sniping of the Express. The duo combined for 26 points as Air21 moved right behind the Tropang Texters in the standings. Import Mike Dunigan uncorked another great outing as Air21 came back from as many 7 down at the half to an 11-point lead entering the fourth. Dunigan flirted with a triple-double, scoring 22 points, hauling down 15 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists in another shining example of his underrated awesomeness.

On the other end of the floor, GlobalPort import Sylvester Morgan's numbers were good -- 23 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks -- but he shot just 6-of-15 from the floor and committed 6 turnovers. Ouch.

In the second game, San Mig Coffee defeated Alaska, 84-83, with Monster Bowles at his beastly best -- 30 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. Yes, he shot just 10-of-25 from the field and 10-of-17 from the line, but the bottom-line is he led the Mixers to another big W. This was in stark contrast to his superstar teammate -- the controversial James Yap, who was nowhere near his big game self. The former Red Warrior made just 2 of his 12 FGs to finish with 5 points. Now that his ex-wife and son are on their way to Europe, perhaps Yap can shift his focus a bit more toward the basketball court rather than the court of public judgment.

I don't know, however, about that endgame jumpball called by the refs. Maybe they should've just stopped Calvin Abueva from taking his free throw seeing as so many guys were already scrambling for the impending rebound inside the restricted area. I don't know if that's even allowed, though. The Alaska team management is arguing that the call should have been made as the shot was taken.

For yesterday’s opener, Bgy. Ginebra overcame Barako Bull, 96-89. Anytime a team makes more than half of its three-point attempts, it’s bound to get ugly for the other club. That's what happened here, as the Kings made 54% of their attempts from rainbow country. Spitfire guard LA Tenorio led all snipers with 5 treys. On the other hand, anytime a team gets outrebounded, it’s bound to get pretty for the other club. The Energy Cola were -16 on the boards tonight, with nobody outside of Evan Brock netting more than 5 rebounds.

Ginebra also got a big lift from import Vernon Macklin. V-Mack contributed 33 points on 50% FG shooting and 22 rebounds to lead the Kings. Just don' talk to him about those free throws (39% this game).

In the weekend’s closer, Rain or Shine won over Talk N Text, 116-85, in what was a statement game for sure. The Painters pretty much did everything right in this one. They outshot the Texters, outrebounded them, and were +11 in assists and +4 in blocks. Is coach Yeng Guiao distracted by the impending elections? Doesn't look like it.

Also, Bruno Sundov continues to be more than just a lanky white guy who can shoot. The Split, Croatia native hauled down 16 boards to go along with 5 assists in an all-around effort. Oh yeah, he also compiled 27 points on 10-of-12 FG shooting including going 2-of-2 from downtown. #efficiency

TNT's starting backcourt -- Jimmy Alapag and Larry Fonacier -- was just thoroughly outplayed here. The duo paired up for just 11 points on 4-of-12 FG shooting in a combined 49 minutes. Alapag had 6 assists, but he turned the ball over thrice, while Fonacier had 3 rebounds and nothing else.

Game Recaps:
AIR21 over GLOBALPORT, 87-72
Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren was unhappy with his team’s defensive effort in the first half of their matchup with GlobalPort on Saturday.

The Express got the message at halftime, kicking off the third quarter with an 18-1 run to cruise to an easy 87-72 victory over the Batang Pier at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to book their fourth straight Commissioner’s Cup triumph.

Import Michael Dunigan once again led the charge for the Express, whose win-loss record improved to 5-5. Apart from scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, Dunigan also dished out eight assists, constantly finding open teammates on the perimeter as the Express shot 12-of-31 (38.7 percent) from beyond the arc.

“Michael displayed his all-around skills,” said Pumaren. “It made everybody contribute from the outside.”

Four local players — KG Canaleta, Mike Cortez, Bitoy Omolon, and Wynne Arboleda — finished in double figures for Air 21, which trailed by seven points, 41-34, at the half.

New GlobalPort import Sylvester Morgan finished with decent numbers, scoring 23 points and pulling down 12 rebounds along with four blocks and two steals. But he was still visibly getting adjusted to playing alongside the Batang Pier local crew, finding little support as only Willie Miller (16 points) and Japeth Aguilar (11) finished in double figures for GlobalPort.

“We were quite lucky again because every time we play GlobalPort, they have a new import,” said Pumaren. Air 21 defeated GlobalPort last March 10 with Walter Sharpe debuting for the Batang Pier. That victory touched off Air 21′s current winning streak.

The Batang Pier moved further down the league cellar, losing their seventh straight game for a 2-8 win-loss record.

AIR 87 – Dunigan 22, Canaleta 14, Cortez 14, Omolon 13, Arboleda 12, Ritualo 6, Isip 4, Wilson 2, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Menor 0, Custodio 0.
GLO 72 – Morgan 23, Miller 16, Aguilar 11, David 9, Mercado 8, Lingganay 3, Yee 2, Mandani 0, Salvador 0, Adducul 0, Antonio 0.
QS: 13-20, 34-41, 62-51, 87-72

Niño Cañaleta was on fire against GlobalPort.

Sol Mercado and the Batang Pier continue to
stumble in the Commish Cup.

Denzel Bowles scored 30 points and grabbed 23 rebounds as San Mig Coffee survived a furious Alaska finish to pull out a thrilling 84-83 victory Saturday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Marc Pingris hit the game-winning jumper over Calvin Abueva with less than a minute left in the game, and the Mixers held through for the victory.

Alaska had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with 12.1 seconds left after Abueva was sent to the foul line.

The rookie forward missed his first free throw. The referees called a double lane violation before his second attempt, resulting in a jump ball.

Alaska recovered the ball, but attempts by Abueva and Cyrus Baguio failed to hit the mark to preserve the win for San Mig Coffee.

But the Aces are putting the game under protest, saying that the violation on Abueva’s second free throw attempt shouldn’t have been called.

“The thing is you have to wait for the shot to happen before you make the call,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo. “You make the players decide.”

Alaska team manager Dickie Bachmann said a protest will be filed by the team to the PBA before noon on Sunday.

San Mig Coffee drew solid games from Mark Barroca (16 point), Peter June Simon (14), and Yancy De Ocampo (10), making up from the poor performance from embattled superstar James Yap, who finished with just five points on just 2-of-12 shooting.

Pingris added seven points, eight rebounds, and six assists for the Mixers, whose win-loss record improved to 5-5.

The loss spoiled a monster game for Calvin Abueva, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds. RJ Jazul added 19 points while import Robert Dozier chipped in 15 points and 20 rebounds for the Aces, who have lost just three times in 10 games, with two of those losses coming against the Mixers.

SMC 84 – Bowles 30, Barroca 16, Simon 14, De Ocampo 10, Pingris 7, Yap 5, Reavis 2, Mallari 0, Najorda 0.
ALA 83 – Abueva 27, Jazul 19, Dozier 15, Baguio 11, Dela Cruz 4, Reyes 2, Eman 2, Belasco 2, Thoss 1, Ramos 0, Espinas 0, Hontiveros 0.
QS: 21-21, 39-36, 61-54, 84-83

James Yap and the Mixers got the better
of Calvin Abueva and the Aces.

Denzel Bowles shoots over Rob Dozier.

Injured foward Joe Devance gets interviewed by
the sultry Jessica Mendoza.

Without superstar guard Mark Caguioa, the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel supporting cast knew they had to step up.

And step up the Gin Kings did, defeating Barako Bull, 96-89, to extend their Commissioner’s Cup winning streak to four games Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Import Vernon Macklin scored 33 points and grabbed 22 rebounds, while LA Tenorio did his best Mark Caguioa impersonation with 27 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

“Without Mark it’s a different ballgame,” said Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua.

“I told them before the game kailangan mag-step up sila. Kailangan lahat sila mag-contribute. Yung bench ko ngayon, medyo malalim yung hinugot ko.”

Macklin and Tenorio got plenty of support as four other players scored at least seven points for Ginebra.

Unheralded guard Rob Labagala also played well despite scoring just a single point, ably quarterbacking the team in the second half as Chua moved Tenorio to the shooting guard spot to fill Caguioa’s role.

With the win, Ginebra moved to an even 5-5 win-loss record after starting the conference with four straight defeats.

“By reaching .500 for the Ginebra team, it’s a big relief,” said Chua, whose team will enjoy a 10-day break before its next game.

“At least medyo masarap ang bakasyon ng mga bata.”

Allein Maliksi had 22 points, while import Evan Brock added 20 points, 12 rebounds, and five steals for Barako Bull, which suffered its sixth straight loss for a 3-7 record.

GIN 96 – Macklin 33, Tenorio 27, Raymundo 10, Baracael 9, Ellis 7, Hatfield 7, Mamaril 2, Labagala 1, Jensen 0, Espiritu 0, Helterbrand 0.
BAR 89 – Maliksi 22, Brock 20, Seigle 12, Urbiztondo 8, Villanueva 7, Macapagal 6, Anthony 5, Pennisi 5, Kramer 2, Allado 2,  Duncil 0, Intal 0.
QS: 25-19, 46-43, 75-67, 96-89

Vernon Macklin had a ball against the Energy Cola.

It took almost a year for Rain or Shine to put one over Talk ‘N Text.

And when they did, the Elasto Painters made it a victory to remember.

Rain or Shine totally dominated Talk ‘N Text for a 116-85 victory Sunday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters began the game with an 18-2 run and cruised to their seventh victory in 10 games, allowing them to grab a share of the Commissioner’s Cup lead along with Alaska.

Rain or Shine made 12-of-24 shots from beyond the arc, led by four from Gabe Norwood who finished with 19 points to lead the Elasto Painters’ local crew

Import Bruno Sundov led all scorers with 27 points, dominating his matchup with counterpart Donnell Harvey.

On defense, the Elasto Painters were likewise unforgiving, holding their rivals to below 33 percent shooting (28-of-86) from the field.

It was the first win of Rain or Shine over Talk ‘N Text since July last year, earning the Elasto Painters a small measure of revenge after the Tropang Texters swept them in the Philippine Cup finals.

“Kung puwede lang paghati-hatiin yung lamang para pambawi sa mga talo,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao in jest.

“But in reality, I didn’t think of (the losing skid against Talk ‘N Text). I didn’t think of it as a factor and didn’t even mention it to our guys that we we lost to them six or seven games because I don’t consider it as a point of discussion.”

Guiao said his team just caught the Tropang Texters at a bad time.

“I think Talk ‘N Text got tired because they’re coming off a hard game last Friday. We also got lucky. I don’t think we can shoot that well every night.

“Not to take away anything from our guys, we played good defense and that started to get the game going for us.”

The 31-point winning margin of Rain or Shine is the biggest in the tournament. The Elasto Painters also the highest total score in the tournament.

ROS 116 – Sundov 27, Norwood 19, Tiu 15, Lee 10, Cruz 9, Matias 6, Chan 6, Rodriguez 6, Arana 6, Quinahan 6, Uyloan 3, Belga 3, Jaime 0, Tang 0, Ibanes 0.
TNT 85 – Castro 19, Harvey 17, De Ocampo 13, Gamalinda 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Alapag 7, Fonacier 4, Raymundo 3, Reyes 3, Aban 2, Williams 2, Alvarez 0, Ferriols 0, Carey 0.
QS: 30-18; 59-42; 94-58; 116-85.

Larry Fonacier couldn't contain his frustration against ROS.
Bruno Sundov was a tower of power for
the Elasto-Painters.

 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, Paul Ryan Tan, and Pranz Kaeno Billones) 
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Zach Graham for Gilas 2014.