2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: January 8, 2014

The PBA Philippine Cup had a very interesting Wednesday offering as both Air 21 and Barako Bull came up with upsets to better their respective standings. The Express leaned on Asi “The Rock” Taulava to turn back the Tropang Texters, while the Energy Cola anchored themselves on Dorian Peña’s sterling production to defeat the Petron Blaze Boosters.

Asi Taulava was as dominant as ever against
his former team.

In the first game, Air 21 overcame Talk N Text, 102-100.

It was both Upset Wednesday and Oldies but Goodies Night in the PBA yesterday, and the first upset came in the form of the cellar-dwelling Express dealing the Tropang Texters their fourth loss of the season. Veteran behemoth Asi Taulava continued to defy his age, scoring 23 points and grabbing 18 rebounds while shooting 8/10 from the field. Asi looks really motivated this season, even as younger and bigger centers have entered the league. Looks like The Rock is out to prove something.

In contrast some of TNT's bigs struggled mightily in this game, with Kelly Williams, Sean Anthony, and Harvey Carey dropping just 6 points and 8 rebounds total. TNT was also on the receiving end of a barrage from the Express, who shot better than 52% from the floor overall.

Looks as if Joseph Yeo is getting acclimatized to his new role as chief facilitator for coach Franz Pumaren. Despite not being a natural PG, Yeo has been the major playmaker for Air 21. In this encounter, he came up with 12 assists to go along with 13 points. He's norming a career-high 6.3 assists per game this season. He's currently third overall in assists.

The night's second upset was courtesy of Barako Bull, who beat erstwhile second-placed Petron Blaze, 92-88. Again, it was a veteran big man who stepped up in this one, as Dorian Peña unloaded 18 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, and 1 steal on his former team. Peña's averages in his last four games are 13.ppg and 10.5rpg. #BigDawgIsBack

Once again, size, or the lack of it, was a huge factor in Petron's loss. Without super center June Mar Fajardo, the undersized Doug Kramer had to start at the slot. Kramer's no slouch, but he also ain't Fajardo, who might have done a better job containing the motivated Peña. Other bigs like Yousef Taha and Jason Deutchman had their turns at guarding Peña, too, but twas to no avail.

Denok Miranda, who also was once a Petron Blaze Booster like Peña, played great here. The former FEU Tamaraw reeled in 11 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and handed out 9 assists for the Energy Cola, who moved up to solo fifth in the standings. A lot of people, Miranda included, were surprised when he was moved to Barako Bull this season, but it seems it was for the better as he's averaging career-bests in both points and assists.

Game Recaps:
AIR 21 over TALK N TEXT, 102-100
Facing his old team Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava played like he was 24 years old again.

The veteran slotman scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead his Air 21 Express to a 102-100 upset of the Tropang Texters on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

“Asi really gave us a big lift. He started really strong,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren. “He really dominated the paint.”

The 40-year-old Taulava, who began his career with the PLDT franchise in 1999, began the game on fire, scoring 11 points in the first quarter to help the Express take control of the game.

But the Tropang Texters fought back, taking a 97-91 lead heading into the final minutes of the game behind the hot hands of Jimmy Alapag, who scored 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc.

Instead of folding the Express fought back. KG Canaleta’s three-pointer with less than three minutes left sparked an 8-0 run. That was capped by a three-point play with Joseph Yeo with 35 seconds remaining that gave the Express a 99-97 lead.

Ranidel De Ocampo’s three-point attempt rattled in and out in the ensuing play, and Bonbon Custodio scored two free throws to give the Express more breathing room, 101-97, with 13.8 seconds left.

Jayson Castro, who led Talk ‘N Text with 21 points, nailed a three-pointer to give the Tropang Texters some life with 3.4 seconds remaining.

The Express drew up a play to get the ball to KG Canaleta, who was fouled with 2.2 seconds left. He made his first shot and missed his second, but Talk ‘N Text could not control the rebound for a final attempt.

With Taulava lording it over in the paint, Air 21′s gunners got good looks from the perimeter. Canaleta had 16 points, Custodio finished with 15, while Yeo had 13 and 12 assists.

Ronnie Matias and Eric Camson added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Express, which improved its record to 3-9 to keep its slim hopes of making the playoffs of the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup alive.

“At least with this victory, we’re still alive and kicking,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren.

De Ocampo finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for Talk ‘N Text, whose record dropped to 7-4.

A21 102 – Taulava 23, Canaleta 16, Custodio 15, Matias 13, Yeo 13, Camson 10, Manuel 8, Cardona 4, Espiritu 0, Arboleda 0, Sharma 0.
TNT 100 – Castro 21, Alapag 20, De Ocampo 14, Reyes R. 11, Baclao 11, Seigle 8, Fonacier 6, Anthony 4, Reyes J. 3, Carey 2, Williams 0.
QS: 23-21, 45-46, 75-77, 102-100

Joseph Yeo has settled into his new role
as the chief playmaker of the Express.

It's good to see Ryan Reyes healthy and back in action.

It was Upset Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum after Barako Bull pulled out a gritty 92-88 victory over the Petron Blaze Boosters.

Barako Bull came back from a 12-point deficit in the third period for its second straight win and fifth in 12 games.

It was the second surprise result of the night after the Air 21 Express defeated Talk ‘N Text in the first game.

“As I said, we will continue to surprise teams,” said Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, whose team took advantage of the continuing absence of top Petron center June Mar Fajardo to win the battle of the boards, 53-44,

“We were lucky because June Mar did not play,” added Ramos.

Dorian Pena continued his string of stellar games, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds for Barako Bull.

His tag team partner Mick Pennisi also had a role in the win, scoring six of his nine points on back-to-back three pointers during Barako Bull’s 10-0 to start the fourth period.

That gave Barako Bull a 73-71 edge as the fourth quarter turned into a nip-and-tuck affair.

A jumper by Arwind Santos with three minutes remaining gave Petron an 85-81 advantage. But Barako Bull quickly answered back with an 8-0 run capped by an open jump shot from Willie Miller with 53 seconds left for an 89-85 lead.

Alex Cabagnot drew a foul from Willie Miller from beyond the arc in the ensuing possession. The lefty guard made all three free throws to cut the Petron deficit to a single point, 89-88, with 49 seconds left.

Petron almost forced a turnover in Barako Bull’s next possession, but Denok Miranda came up with the loose ball to feed JC Intal for a dunk that pushed Barako Bull’s lead back to three points, 91-88, with 27.1 seconds remaining.

The Boosters tried to find an open man to tie the game but Chris Lutz, who led Petron with 17 points, was caught stepping on the sideline.

Petron sent Miranda to the line with 7.9 seconds left, and his split from the line iced the game for Barako Bull.

“I want to thank the players for pushing themselves na maka-upset ulit,” said Ramos.

Intal added 17 points while Miranda had 11 points and nine assists. Rookie Carlo Lastimosa was in double-figures for the second straight game, scoring 10 points.

Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot scored 15 points apiece for Petron, which lost for the third time in four games to drop to an 8-3 record.

BAR 92 – Pena 18, Intal 17, Miranda 11, Lastimosa 10, Pennisi 9, Maierhofer 7, Miller 7, Isip 6, Buenafe 5, Wilson 2, Macapagal 0, Jensen 0.
PET 88 – Lutz 17, Cabagnot 15, Santos 15, Lanete 8, Kramer 8, Lassiter 7, Tubid 6, Taha 4, Deutchman 4, Ross 4.
QS: 24-21, 36-47, 63-71, 92-88

Alex Cabagnot continues his tirade directed at the refs.

Carlo Lastimosa stepped up again for Barako Bull.

JC Intal sealed the win with a huge dunk!

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 Sports 5. (Photo credit to Paolo Papa)

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