2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: March 2-3, 2013

The teams of the San Miguel Inc. went 2-1 this past weekend. Both the Mixers and the Boosters came through with great performances, while the Gin Kings were stymied by the streaking Painters.

In Naga City this past Saturday, Tim Cone's locals seemed to have found their groove as they were the principle perpetrators of the Mixers’ victory over the Batang Pier. PJ Simon, James Yap, and Joe Devance all combined for 49 points to help push SMC to only its second win of the conference. The downside, however, was the fact that Denzel Bowles's foul troubles limited his time on the floor in the second half. He eventually fouled out. This is what really helped GlobalPort get back in the game after they were down by as many as 23 points in the second period. One thing is clear – no Bowles? Big problem. SMC's big cushion prevented a total collapse, but they cannot count on having that luxury every game.

Another thing is also clear –now the Batang Pier are falling fast. After a promising start to the conference, the new-look GlobalPort quintet has hit a snag. They've lost their last three games and have yet to face third-running Rain or Shine and undefeated Alaska. Gulp.

A day later, Ronald Tubid was awesome in Petron’s triumph over Barako Bull. No, he didn't score 20 points or bury someone's face against the hardwood (he can, you know), but he did hit 3 of 4 attempts from beyond the arc (including a rare 4-point play) and helped put the clamps on erstwhile hot-shooting Josh Uribiztondo, who managed just 2-of-8 FG shooting. Tubid also did a helluva job on the glass, rebounding the ball 8 times, which was second only to Renaldo Balkman's total.

On the other hand, the Energy Cola had a really horrible time. It's official now – Barako Bull is on a downward spiral. After securing second place with a win over Air21 last February 22, the Energy Cola have dropped each of their last 2 assignments BY DOUBLE-DIGITS. They were norming about 83ppg in their first four matches, but they've put up only 75ppg in those two losses. They've sunk to .500 with the fast-rising Meralco Bolts and San Mig Coffee Mixers right at their heels.

My question after this game is this: is it too early to declare Balkman the Best Import? Of course it is, but, hey, he's already registered an impressive body of work. I think both Robert Dozier and Keith Benson have been solid, and, of course, Denzel Bowles should really settle into things pretty soon, but, man, Balkman is showing everyone why he made the NBA grade a few years ago. I mean, he's registered a double-double in EVERY game so far, including 33 points (a conference-high for him) and 14 boards against Barako! #whatisdominant

San Miguel Inc.’s only defeat this past weekend came in yesterday’s very physical and free-throw-shooting-ineptitude-marred main game. It was all because of – Big. Bad. Beau. Belga. The burly 6'6 former PCU Dolphin held his own against Ginebra's Vernon Macklin, and, boy, did Belga smack around the opposition. He topped ROS with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He also hit the marginal free throws in the dying seconds to seal the W for coach Yeng Guiao. This is now the Painters' fourth straight victory after dropping their initial assignment against the Aces.

Beau Belga made the Kings feel every ounce of his
extra rice heft last night.

This was Exhibit A in the category "wasted opportunities" for Ginebra. Everything seemed to be clicking offensively for the Kings, not to mention Bruno Sundov of ROS getting saddled with foul trouble all game long. Macklin had another beastly outing, scoring 27 markers to add to his 16 ribbies, while Kerby Raymundo also stepped up with 18 points and 11 boards. Backcourt wonders Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio also did well, pairing up for 35 points, but, alas, miscues in the second half will haunt them for the foreseeable future. Sayang.

Despite the win, one big concern for ROS is this: is Bruno Sundov wearing out his welcome? For the third game in a row, the Croatian center played under 30 minutes mainly because of foul trouble. For the second straight game, too, he fouled out. His total production in 24 minutes? 12 points and 5 rebounds. Yikes. He seems to be the walking, talking version of the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Game Recaps:

Denzel Bowles wasn’t quite the monster in his third game back for San Mig Coffee.

Fortunately for the Mixers, Peter June Simon and James Yap rose to the occasion just when their foul-troubled import needed backup against GlobalPort.

Simon scored 19 points, while Yap hit a dagger three-pointer at the height of a furious late rally by the Batang Pier, as San Mig Coffee grabbed its second straight Commissioner’s Cup win, 91-84, at the Jesse Robredo Coliseum in Naga City.

The Mixers led by as much as 23 points in the second quarter, but Bowles’ foul trouble — he picked up his fifth foul late in the third period — allowed the Batang Pier to come back.

Gary David and Japeth Aguilar tried to lead the GlobalPort uprising, only to fall short. David finished with 27 points while Aguilar added 21.

But the Batang Pier were unable to set up opportunities for import Justin Williams, who scored just 11 points despite Bowles suffering from foul trouble.

SMC 91 – Simon 19, Bowles 18, Yap 15, Devance 15, Mallari 9, Barroca 8, Pingris 3, Najorda 2, De Ocampo 2, Gaco 0, Ponferada 0.
GLO 84 — David 27, Aguilar 21, Mercado19, Williams 11, Yee 3, Lingganay 2, Salvador 1, Miller 0, Deutchman 0, Mandani 0, Adducul 0.
QS: 27-15, 46-33, 68-56, 91-84.


The Petron Blaze Boosters led from wire to wire against Barako Bull to cruise to a 91-78 victory Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

It was the fifth straight Commissioner’s Cup victory for Petron, who drew another stellar game from import Renaldo Balkman. The former New York Knicks draft pick posted 33 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and four steals for the Boosters, who have not lost since dropping their opening day assignment against GlobalPort.

Petron took an 18-point lead at the half before building a 68-47 lead after three quarters. Barako Bull couldn’t come any closer than 12 points in the final quarter to suffer its second straight double-digit loss.

Despite the win, coach Olsen Racela still found things that can be improved about the Boosters’ performance.

“When you’re a coach, a 20-point lead is not enough. Pagka-player, kampante ka na eh,” he said, adding that he still wants his players to continue playing hard and executing the offense even while nursing a big lead.

“I think that’s where we wanna improve as a team.”

Arwind Santos added 14 points for Petron, while June Mar Fajardo and Ronald Tubid chipped in 10 apiece. Tubid, who scored his 5000th PBA career point on a three-pointer in the fourth quarter, again made a huge impact on the defensive end, hounding Barako Bull top gun Josh Urbiztondo to just six points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field.

Import Evan Brock carried the fight with 20 points and 24 rebounds for Barako Bull, whose win-loss record dropped to 3-3.

PET 91 – Balkman 33, Santos 14, Fajardo 10, Tubid 10, Lassiter 6, Miranda 4, Pena 4, Lanete 3, Yeo 3, Washington 3, Sison 1, Faundo 0.
BAR 78 – Brock 20, Seigle 17, Anthony 12, Maliksi 9, Urbiztondo 6, Macapagal 5, Allado 5, Villanueva 4, Weinstein 0, Kramer 0, Intal 0.
QS: 21-16, 45-27, 68-47, 91-78

Renaldo Balkman is all smiles with coach
Olsen Racela after the Boosters' latest win.

Petron zooms to its fifth win in a row!

Jonas Villanueva gets an earful from coach Rajko Toroman.


The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters won their fourth straight game, but not before weathering a late three-point flurry by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 96-93, Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Two free throws by Beau Belga gave Rain or Shine a five-point lead, 92-87, with just 12.2 seconds to go. Mark Caguioa then made a three-pointer in the next play to cut the Ginebra deficit to just two points.

Paul Lee hit two more charity shots for the Elasto Painters, before LA Tenorio nailed another three-point basket to cut Rain or Shine’s lead to a single point.

Belga once again came through for the Elasto Painters from the free throw line with just 3.9 seconds left, and Tenorio’s desperation three-pointer failed to find the target to allow Rain or Shine to book the victory.

Rain or Shine won despite missing Bruno Sundov for most of the second half. For the second straight game, the Croatian import battled foul trouble, playing just 24 minutes and scoring 12 points.

Belga stepped up big for the reinforcement, scoring 18 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and blocking two shots. He also got the best of Vernon Macklin in several plays, faking off the Ginebra import for easy baskets on a few occasions.

Macklin had his best game of the tournament with 27 points — mostly on dunks and free throws — and 16 rebounds. But he was still miserable from the foul line, going just 5-of-11.

Rain or Shine improved its win-loss record to 4-1. The loss, the Gin Kings’ fifth in six games under new coach Alfrancis Chua, sent Ginebra back to last place in the standings.

ROS 96 – Belga 18, Cruz 13, Sundov 12, Ibanes 12, Lee 11, Arana 11, Quinahan 7, Norwood 5, Tiu 3, Matias 2, Tang 2, Rodriguez 0.
GIN 93 – Macklin 27, Caguioa 18, Raymundo 18, Tenorio 17, Baracael 7, Mamaril 3, Espiritu 2, Hatfield 1, Taha 0, Ellis 0, Labagala 0, Maierhofer 0, Helterbrand 0.
QS: 27-23, 51-43, 70-68, 96-93

Elasto-Painter heartthrob Chris Tiu gets mobbed
by fans postgame.

Pint-sized LA Tenorio didn't have problems going around
the bigger Bruno Sundov in this play.

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 and Pranz Kaeno Billones) 
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