2013 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: December 20, 2013

In last night’s action from the 2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup, TNT lost yet another big lead, while the Mixers finally strung up back-to-back victories.

Mark Barroca continued to play great basketball
last night for SMC.

In the curtain-raiser, Talk N Text beat Barako Bull, 87-80, behind the superb showing of Ranidel De Ocampo. After playing not-so-spectacular ball in his first two games this season, RDO has really filled up the stat-sheet of late. In this game, the Gilas mainstay reeled in 17 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 6/13 from the field, including 3 triples. After averaging just 5.5 points and 6.0 rebounds and shooting 33% from long range in his first couple of matches, the former St. Francis of Assisi player is now norming 18.5 points and 8.0 boards per outing and has shot better than 54% from beyond the arc in TNT's last two contests.

Another game, another 20-point lead squandered for the Tropang Texters, whose habit of leaving the door ajar for opposing teams to climb rally in the second half is really disturbing. At the end of the day, coach Norman Black acknowledges that, yes, a win is still a win, but he is certainly not satisfied with HOW his wards have been netting these Ws. A statement victory will definitely not hurt at this point.

With a second straight great game, it looks as if JC Intal has regained his once sharp form. The former Ateneo Blue Eagle is averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the Energy Cola's last two games, including putting up a sublime double-double in this one -- 14 points and 11 rebounds on top of 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. If Intal can be consistent with this kind of production, then he might just be an early frontrunner in the league's Most Improved Player race.

In the main game, San Mig Coffee overcame GlobalPort, 83-80, through a great, balanced effort. The Mixers consequently moved up to a tie for sixth place in the team standings. Mark Barroca, continued his impressive playmaking for SMC with 18 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals while also shooting 7/10 from the field. Slowly, the former Gilas point guard has blossomed into one of the league's most efficient floor generals. His current averages are (after 8 games): 16.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 three-pointers per game. He is the Mixer with the highest player efficiency rating right now, and he is #8 overall in the current conference.

Looks like Terrence Romeo has quickly become the PBA's version of a mystery box -- you just don't know what you'll get with him. You have him scoring 30+ points in one game and then practically disappearing in the next. Jekyll-Hyde much? In this encounter, the reigning UAAP MVP neted just 2 points in 23 minutes of play. He chucked 10 shots, making just 1. He did grab 5 rebounds, but it was also balanced out by his committing 2 turnovers. If Romeo will become an elite player in the pros, then he really needs to work on one thing -- consistency.

With the second pick in the 2013 PBA Draft, Tim Cone selected Ian Sangalang. We all knew this kid was good, but did we really expect him to be this good this soon? I mean, he's playing alongside established guys like Rafi Reavis and Joe Devance, not to mention Gilas star Marc Pingris. He shouldn't be averaging 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, especially since he's playing just around 25 minutes per game, right? But he is. Right now, among all rookies, Sangalang has the second-highest player efficiency rating (28.54 EFF), right behind Ginebra's Greg Slaughter.

Game Recaps:
For the second straight game, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters built up a 20-point lead in the first half.

And for the second straight game, they squandered that advantage before pulling out a thrilling victory.

Talk ‘N Text escaped with an 87-80 win in overtime on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena, much to coach Norman Black’s relief.

“We don’t play with the same intensity and the same energy (in the second half) as we do in the first half,” said Black.

“I do consider that something we need to fix. But at the end of the day, a win is a win.”

The Tropang Texters were coming off a close 90-87 win over Rain or Shine last Tuesday, a game that saw them lose a 20-point first half lead.

They built up a 23-point bubble in the first half, before Barako Bull sprung a zone that slowed down the Talk ‘N Text offense.

“We certainly struggled with their zone defense,” said Black. “That nearly cost us the game.”

Barako Bull steadily chipped away at the deficit in the third and fourth quarters, but were still down by five points, 71-66, heading into the final two minutes of the game.

Two-time Most Valuable Player Willie Miller hit a tough jumper to cut the lead to three points with 1:10 remaining.

He followed that up with the game-tying three-pointer with 29 seconds left that sent the match into overtime.

It was still a nip-and-tuck affair in the extra period, with Jayson Castro and Mick Pennisi trading bombs for both teams. Ranidel De Ocampo hit a three-pointer with 1:05 left to break the game’s final deadlock, 83-80.

Miller had a golden chance to tie the game in the next possession after drawing a foul from Larry Fonacier from beyond the arc. But Miller went from hero to goat, missing all three of his shots from the stripe.

Noy Baclao drew a loose ball foul on the rebound play with 36.9 seconds left, and he buried both his free throws to give Talk ‘N Text an 85-80 edge. Talk ‘N Text foiled successive attempts by Barako Bull, before Castro nailed two free throws to seal the win.

Castro finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, quarterbacking the team in the absence of Jimmy Alapag. De Ocampo added 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Larry Fonacier and Kelly Williams chipped in 13 and 10 points apiece.

Miller led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds for Barako Bull, which lost its sixth straight game after winning its first two matches. JC Intal had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

TNT 87 – Castro 23, De Ocampo 17, Fonacier 13, Williams 10, Seigle 9, Carey 6, Baclao 4, Aban 2, Celiz 0, Reyes 0, Poligrates 0.
BAR 80 – Miller 16, Intal 14, Pennisi 11, Jensen 10, Miranda 10, Pena 7, Buenafe 5, Maierhofer 3, Lastimosa 2, Isip 2, Wilson 0, Marcelo 0, Labagala 0.
QS: 18-7, 39-19, 57-44, 71-71, 87-80.

Coach Norman Black isn't too happy with the way his wards
have lost big leads.
Willie Miller turned from hero to goat
in the endgame.

James Yap hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 25.1 seconds left and his San Mig Super Coffee Mixers held on for an 83-80 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Batang Pier had gone on a 7-0 run capped by a Jay Washington putback to take the lead, 80-78, with 35 seconds left. Mark Barroca’s layup attempt in the ensuing play was foiled, but he recovered to loft a pass out to James Yap, who calmly buried the dagger from beyond the arc.

“That’s why he’s James Yap,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.

GlobalPort had a chance to tie the game, but rookie Justin Chua, who was drafted by San Mig Coffee before being traded to the Batang Pier before the season, threw the ball away on the next play. Barroca hit two free throws and the Mixers foiled the Batang Pier’s final attempt to escape with the win.

The victory gave the Mixers their first winning streak of the season, improving their win-loss record to 3-5.

“It’s great to see your faces two games in a row,” said Cone. “It seems like it’s been about two years since we’ve had back-to-back wins.”

Barroca led San Mig Coffee with 18 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals. He dominated his matchup with fellow former Far Eastern University stars RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo, who managed just eight and two points, respectively.

“I love Mark. He plays hard all the time. He’s such a joy to coach,” said Cone. “He’s gonna be the superstar point guard in a few years.”

Yap added 15 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Ian Sangalang, who turned 22 on the day, chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Mixers featured balanced scoring, with Peter June Simon scoring 14 points and Joe Devance adding 13.

The loss snapped the three-game winning streak of GlobalPort, whose record dropped to an even 4-4. Sol Mercado carried the fight for the Batang Pier with 18 points, while Jay Washington added 15 points and 18 rebounds.

SMC 83 - Barroca 18, Sangalang 15, Yap 15, Simon 14, Devance 13, Pingris 4, Mallari 2, Reavis 2, Cawaling 0, Holstein 0
GLO 80 - Mercado 18, Washington 15, Chua 11, Nabong 8, Hayes 8, Garcia 8, Menk 6, Yee 2, Salva 2, Romeo 2, Villanueva 0, Lingganay 0, Salvador 0
QS: 18-19, 41-37, 64-58, 83-80

RR Garcia for the pull-away lay-up.

Joe Devance wiggles free from the defense
of Sol Mercado.

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

Images: Unless otherwise specified, images are from the PBA and AKTV. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan)

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