2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Roundup: April 13-14, 2013

Quarterfinal positioning is getting nasty as the Elims wind up in the 2013 PBA Commish Cup.

Allein Maliksi stepped up as the Energy Colas
upended the Batang Pier.

In Saturday’s curtain-raiser, Air21 beat Petron, 95-91, in overtime. In this game, Petron's Henry Sims scored much more points, but Air21's Mike Dunigan's hustle made the bigger difference down the stretch. In all, Dunigan tallied 18 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks in spite of a nagging injury. #Respect

In contrast, Alex Cabagnot just cannot find any rhythm this conference. The supposedly big time playmaker missed all but one of his 14 field goal attempts and handed out just 2 assists in 33 minutes. Yikes.

Here’s one big question: why isn't Niño Cañaleta in Gilas? Cañaleta has the perfect skill set to be effective in the international game. He has enough size, speed, and handles to be an effective swingman at both ends of the floor, and, man, his shooting has just gone up a notch or two this season. With Kelly Williams out indefinitely, methinks coach Chot Reyes should give this former Gilas guest player a shot at the real deal.

In the next game, San Mig Coffee defeated Meralco, 97-90. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that's exactly what happened to the Mixers here. James Yap and Marc Pingris were both out of commission, and PJ Simon EVENTUALLY went out as well (thank you, front teeth), but coach Tim Cone's other locals stepped up to the plate. Mark Barroca and Joe Devance combined for 37 points, 9 rebounds, 16 assists, and 4 steals to help the Mixers stay tied for third place with Petron and Ginebra.

Now, I love the fact Meralco’s Chris Ross handed out 12 dimes and hauled down 8 rebounds, but I hate the fact he took only 3 field goal attempts. I mean, everyone already knows he's a pass-first PG, so he has got to develop more consistent scoring and add another dimension to his arsenal.

There were two great imports who really played well here. Meralco's Eric Dawson registered 29 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 1 block. SMC's Denzel Bowles had 27 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 4 assists. No wonder both guys are in the running for the Bobby Parks Best Import Award.

In yesterday’s first game, Barako Bull overcame GlobalPort, 96-87, with Allein Maliksi stepped up big time, hitting 3 treys and all 6 of his free throws, to go along with 12 rebounds. The former Growling Tiger has always had the tools too be successful at this level. He has the size, speed, and shooting reminiscent of someone like… KG Cañaleta, so it was nice to see him break out here.

On the other end of the floor, veteran Willie Miller really seems lost in GlobalPort. This, even without Sol Mercado playing tonight. The former MVP shot just 2-of-9 from the floor to finish with 8 points. He is shooting only 38% from the field for this conference and 64% from the line.

One other noticeable thing -- DJ Mbenga still sucks. The former LA Laker had better numbers this time around, but it's safe to say we won't be seeing him again in our shores. Mbenga, in two games, normed just 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Those are definitely not enough for an import to keep his job here in the PBA.

In the Sunday main feature, Talk N Text won over Bgy. Ginebra, 100-86. The thing is, when the Texters shoot 42% from rainbow country, they're pretty unstoppable. Ranidel De Ocampo, Ryan Reyes, and Jimmy Alapag each made at least two triples to underscore the accurate sniping of TNT.

In contrast, the Gin Kings shot just 3-of-19 from beyond the arc, with LA Tenorio, Jayjay Helterband, and Mac Baracael accounting for 14 misses. Also, V-Mack was in slow-mo mode tonight, shooting just 3-of-12 from the field to finish with a conference-low 12 points. He visibly struggled against the bigger Jerome Jordan. Jordan, the Jamaican 7-footer who last played for the LA D-Fenders in the NBA D-League, was mighty impressive in his initial outing. He scored 23 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and blocked 2 shots as TNT got into a tie for fourth place with Petron.

Game Recaps:
AIR21 over PETRON, 95-91
KG Canaleta scored 37 points, including the go-ahead three-point play in overtime to carry Air 21 to a 95-91 victory Saturday over Petron Blaze that clinched a quarterfinals spot for the Express.

The sweet-shooting forward made the SM Mall of Asia Arena his personal playground, hitting nine three-pointers to key the Air 21 comeback from a big first half deficit.

“In the first half, if he hadn’t shot well, tambak na kami,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren, whose Express rallied from a 54-44 halftime deficit.

Air 21 was still down by five points, 84-79, late in the game, before Canaleta’s three-pointer capped an 8-0 run that gave the Express a three-point lead. Marcio Lassiter, who scored 23 points for Petron, answered with his own three-pointer to tie the game, 87-all, with 25.7 seconds left, before the Boosters made a stop in the final Air 21 play to force overtime.

The game was still tied at 89-all in the extra period when Canaleta scored on a three-point play off Jay Washington that gave the Express the lead for good.

Air 21 won despite missing court general Mike Cortez and getting a quiet scoring game from import Michael Dunigan, who managed just 18 points while struggling with an injury.

“He’s being bothered by his knee,” Pumaren said about Dunigan. “It’s a good thing the other import (Canaleta) was able to respond.”

The Express caught up by holding Petron import Henry Sims to just eight points after halftime. Sims exploded 22 points in the first two quarters.

“He probably got tired, but credit should go to Noy Baclao and the rest of the team,” said Pumaren.

Air 21′s playoff ticket comes at the expense of Barako Bull, which is eliminated from quarterfinals contention. The Petron loss also gave Rain or Shine the No. 2 seed for the playoffs, giving the Elasto Painters a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

Petron’s record fell to 7-6 after losing for the fourth time in their last five games.

AIR 95 – Canaleta 37, Dunigan 18, Custodio 14, Arboleda 10, Baclao 6, Isip 4, Omolon 4, Atkins 2, Sena 0, Wilson 0, Menor 0, Ritualo 0.
PET 91 – Sims 30, Lassiter 23, Washington 15, Fajardo 5, Miranda 5, Lutz 4, Cabagnot 3, Lanete 2, Santos 2, Pena 2, Tubid 0.
QS: 16-29, 44-54, 72-74, 87-87, 95-91

If you ask me, Niño Cañaleta should be in the
Gilas Pilipinas pool. But that's just me :)

Jay Washington tries to drive strong
against the Express.

James Yap was still getting his form back after battling the flu. Marc Pingris missed the game because of an ankle injury. Peter June Simon had to leave the game after getting his front teeth knocked out.

That hardly mattered for the San Mig Coffee Mixers, which used a late run without their stars to dispatch the Meralco Bolts, 97-90, for a crucial Commissioner’s Cup victory Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“We’re really proud of our guys,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “Ping couldn’t play tonight. James, bless his heart, tried, hit a couple of baskets. Poor PJ got his teeth knocked out.”

That left import Denzel Bowles, Mark Barroca, and Joe Devance to carry the cudgels for San Mig Coffee, which used a 12-4 run led by those men in the fourth quarter to break away from a tight 83-80 contest.

Bowles, who capped that run with a fastbreak slam dunk, finished with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and five blocks to lead San Mig Coffee to its third straight victory.

Barroca played his best game of the tournament, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists, and three steals while dealing with Meralco’s pressure defense for most of the second half. Devance added 18 points and six assists for the Mixers, which finished the eliminations with an 8-6 record.

“The character of our team, I really appreciate what they’re trying to do. That character has us on a little bit of a roll,” said Cone, whose Mixers closed the elims with three straight victories.

“I hope this primes us into a good run for the playoffs.”

The win assured the Mixers of a spot in the top six, which means they would not have a twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.

Meralco, meanwhile, lost its second straight match for a 6-7 record, leaving the Bolts in seventh place in danger of having to play with the disadvantage.

SMC 97 – Bowles 27, Barroca 19, Devance 18, Simon 17, Yap 7, Mallari 3, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Ponferada 0, Alvarez 0, Gaco 0, Pacana 0, Gonzales 0.
MER 90 – Dawson 29, Cardona 20, Salvacion 10, Buenafe 9, Borboran 6, Reyes 5, Hugnatan 5, Hodge 4, Ross 2, Timberlake 0.
QS: 22-15, 45-43, 80-71, 97-90

Chris Ross and the Bolts tumbled against
the Mixers.

Denzel Bowles shoots over Meralco's Eric Dawson.

Barako Bull ended its disappointing Commissioner’s Cup campaign on a bright note by overpowering GlobalPort, 96-87, on Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Alein Maliksi had a career-high 25 points along with 12 rebounds, while four other Barako Bull players finished in double figures, allowing the Energy Colas end their tournament campaign with a 5-9 win-loss record.

Josh Urbiztondo contributed 17 points, import DJ Mbenga added 14 and 15 rebounds, Mark Macapagal contributed 12 points, and Danny Seigle chipped in 11 for the Energy Colas.

The Batang Pier absorbed their 11th straight defeat and wound up with the league’s worst record of 2-12.

BAR 96 – Maliksi 25, Urbiztondo 17, Mbenga 14, Macapagal 12, Seigle 11, Monfort 7, Intal 5, Pennisi 5, Duncil 0, Kramer 0.
GLO 87 – David 28, Yee 11, Aguilar 8, Miller 8, Morgan 7, Deutchman 7, Mandani 4, Aljamal 4, Salvador 4, Lingganay 2, Juntilla 2, Antonio 2, Belencion 0.
QS: 20-23, 39-35, 69-56, 96-87

Sel Guevarra is a mighty fine distraction at courtside.

DJ Mbenga. Good ri... okay, fine... good bye.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel import Vernon Macklin had been on a tear coming into his team’s game Sunday against Talk ‘N Text, averaging more than 30 points in his last four games.

But the Tropang Texters shut down the prolific Gin Kings import en route to a crucial 100-86 Commissioner’s Cup victory at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Talk ‘N Text held Macklin to just 12 points. Facing the taller Jerome Jordan, the new Tropang Texters import, Macklin struggled shooting just 3-of-9 from the field and managed to grab just nine rebounds.

“Jerome Jordan was a big help for us in this game defensively,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black. “Jordan did a good job offensively one-on-one.”

The former New York Knicks center wasn’t too shabby on the offensive end either, scoring 23 points apart from grabbing 17 rebounds in his debut PBA game.

Black also praised the Talk ‘N Text offense, which shot better than 45 percent from the field including 8-of-19 from beyond the arc.

“Offensively we’re moving a lot better now. We seem to have more energy than we did at the beginning of the conference,” said Black.

The victory gave the Tropang Texters a spot in the top six, which means they would not have a twice-to-win disadvantage in the quarterfinals.

Talk ‘N Text still has to play one final game against Petron.

“We’ll still try to get the win on Wednesday to try to get some momentum coming into the playoffs,” said Black.

It was the second straight defeat for Ginebra, which could still fall to No. 7 depending on the results of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The Gin Kings finished the eliminations with a 7-7 win-loss record.

TNT 100 – Jordan 23, De Ocampo 20, Castro 14, Reyes 11, Alapag 11, Al-Hussaini 7, Dillinger 5, Carey 4, Peek 4, Fonacier 1, Raymundo 0, Aban 0.
GIN 86 – Raymundo 22, Tenorio 15, Baracael 13, Macklin 12, Helterbrand 12, Ellis 5, Hatfield 4, Maierhofer 3, Taha 0, Jensen 0, Labagala 0, Espiritu 0.
QS: 32-27, 47-37, 70-63, 100-96
Jayjay Helterbrand and the Kings ran smack
into the hard D of the Texters.

TNT gets ready to face tougher tests in the
upcoming quarterfinals.

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 Mark Dimo Dimalanta and Pranz Kaeno Billones) 
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