2013-2014 PBA Philippine Cup Roundup: January 5, 2014

The PBA Philippine Cup’s opening weekend for 2014 closed yesterday with a pair of contrasting games. Rain or Shine had an easier-then-expected time disposing of GlobalPort in the first match, while San Mig Coffee had to withstand a furious second half rally by Ginebra to pull out its first victory of the new year.

The top two draft picks of 2013 -- Ian Sangalang and Greg Slaughter --
tangle for the rebound.

In Sunday’s first game, Rain or Shine devoured GlobalPort, 98-87, with rookie Alex Nuyles being ultra-efficient. The former King Falcon shot 6/12 from the field to finish with 16 points in just 23 minutes of action. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and had 2 assists and 2 steals. Nuyles actually started at small forward for the Elasto-Painters, who exploited the absence of GlobalPort's ace playmaker, Sol Mercado. Prior to this game, Nuyles was averaging just around 4 points in 11 minutes per outing. This is his first double-digit scoring game of the season.

With Mercado out of commission because of a foot injury, coach Richie Ticzon relied on RR Garcia, Rudy Lingganay, and LA Revilla to be his floor generals for this game. That trio combined for 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. It was a respectable stat-line for the young PG troika, but it was still way off the production of Mercado, who ranks near the top of the player efficiency ladder. What those three guards didn't do so well, however, was shoot. They combined for 6/20 FG shooting.

Once again, coach Yeng Guiao was able to rely on his deep roster for balanced production. Seven guys scored 8 or more points, and every single Painter played double-digit minutes. Save for Jireh Ibañes, everybody scored, too. This game as a stellar exemplar of Rain or Shine's penchant for having nobody really stand out. Instead, the Painters relied on production across the board, and it yielded their eighth win in eleven games.

In the Manila Clasico encounter, San Mig Coffee overcame Ginebra, 83-79. Before the end of 2013, San Mig Coffee power forward Marc Pingris vowed that the fans should expect a different Mixers squad in the new year. They delivered on that promise in this game, and against no less than the league-leading Gin Kings, too! Led by Ping, James Yap, and Yancy De Ocampo, the Mixers outrebounded the taller Ginebra five, 62-39, and, consequently, nailed their fourth win of the season. SMC outworked Ginebra on the offensive glass, 25-9, which led to a 22-15 edge in second-chance points.

Mark "The Spark" Caguioa was awful in this big game. The usually clutch superstar shot 0/7 from the field, ending up with a big fat egg after playing 16 minutes. Ginebra actually had a chance to win this game, even leading heading into the final canto, but they just couldn't contain the Mixers' frontline. Also, the Kings shot a miserable 55% from the line. As a team, Ginebra went 12/22 from the stripe, with Mac Baracael and Chris Ellis both going 0/2.

Interestingly enough, despite their slow start to the conference, the Mixers are now right smack in the middle of the standings. They are tied for fifth place with four other squads, and it will be very interesting to see if SMC can show even stronger resolve in the new year. With guys like PJ Simon, Yap, and De Ocampo really stepping up in this game against Ginebra, I'm sure San Mig's fans are expecting their heroes to rack up a few more wins before the end of the eliminations.

Game Recaps:
The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters cruised to an easy 98-87 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena to win their fourth straight game in the PLDT MyDSL Philippine Cup.

Rookie Alex Nuyles had the best game of his professional career, scoring 16 points in just 23 minutes to lead Rain or Shine’s balanced offensive attack. A total of seven players scored at least eight points for Rain or Shine, which saw no player log more than 24 minutes in the game.

The Elasto Painters, who improved their win-loss record to 8-3, avenged their 90-88 loss to the Batang Pier last Decemeber 8.

“It’s really a win we wanted badly because we lost to this team the first time we played them,” said Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, whose team capitalized on the absence of GlobalPort lead guard Sol Mercado who was out because of a foot injury.

“He really created a lot of problems for us the first time we played,” added Guiao. “It was a lucky break for us.”

Rain or Shine led 46-38 at halftime before starting like a house on fire in the third quarter. The Elasto Painters began the second half on a 12-2 run for a 58-40 advantage.

They cruised the rest of the way, never leading by less than double figures until late in the fourth quarter, when Guiao took out all of his stars from the lineup.

With Mercado in sick bay, Jay Washington carried the fight for GlobalPort with 26 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and three blocks. Nico Salva and Terrence Romeo added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Batang Pier, who lost their fourth straight assignment to drop to 4-7.

ROS 98 – Nuyles 16, Cruz 12, Tang 12, Chan 11, Tiu 10, Lee 9, Arana 8, Belga 5, Rodriguez 5, Norwood 5, Almazan 3, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 0.
GLO 87 – Washington 26, Salva 11, Romeo 10, Garcia 9, Hayes 7, Chua 5, Yee 4, Menk 4, Nabong 4, Salvador 3, Lingganay 2, Revilla 2, Ponferrada 0.
QS: 22-20, 46-38, 80-67, 98-87

Chris Tiu turns the corner against LA Revilla.

Justin Chua hauls the board.

The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers dominated the interior against the taller Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to fashion out an 83-79 victory in their Manila Clasico showdown on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Despite going up against the league’s tallest frontline featuring 7-foot rookie Greg Slaughter and high-flying Japeth Aguilar, the Mixers handily won the battle of the boards, 62-39.

“It’s a very good Ginebra team. They’re very well-coached. Aguilar and Slaughter know how to play together,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone. “But our big lineup gave them some problems.”

Mark Barroca led the Mixers with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals, breaking out of a two-game slump that saw him average just six points per game. Peter June Simon added 15 points and five rebounds, while James Yap had 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Mixers.

Marc Pingris added 15 points and seven rebounds for San Mig Coffee, whose record improved to 4-7.

“That game gave us a little bit of life,” said Cone, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak, including a demoralizing 101-77 defeat to Rain or Shine last week. “We needed that to stay alive this conference.”

The Mixers played with a sense of urgency, opening the game with a 25-15 first quarter spread. They led by as much as 18 points in the second quarter, repeatedly scoring over Ginebra’s taller frontcourt.

But Ginebra exploded in the third period, taking the lead, 66-65, behind 11 points in the quarter from Aguilar.

The game was still a nip-and-tuck affair with San Mig Coffee leading by just a hairline, 71-70, early in the fourth quarter.

Barroca then nailed a three-point play to spark a 9-3 run to give the Mixers an 80-73 advantage.

Slaughter’s three-point play with 3:40 left kept Ginebra within striking distance, 80-76. But the Gin Kings could not come closer the rest of the way to see their six-game winning run snapped.

Aguilar led Ginebra with 26 points, but managed only two in the final quarter as the Mixers made their finishing kick. Slaughter added 14 points, Tenorio had 13, while Mac Baracael finished with 12.

But Mark Caguioa was once again missing in action for the Gin Kings in their duel against San Mig Coffee, finishing scoreless in 16 minutes after going 0-of-7 from the field.

Ginebra remained in first place despite the loss with a 9-2 record, a half game ahead of idle Petron (8-2).

SMC 83 – Barroca 16, Simon 15, Pingris 12, Yap 12, de Ocampo 9, Reavis 8, Devance 7, Sangalang 4, Mallari 0, Melton 0.
GIN 79 – Aguilar 26, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 13, Baracael 12, Ellis 9, Monfort 3, Reyes 2, Ababou 0, Helterbrand 0, Urbiztondo 0, Caguioa 0.
QS: 25-15, 48-35, 65-66, 83-79.

Mark Barroca continues his strong play for the Mixers.

PJ Simon slips by Mark Caguioa.

Rizza Diaz. Bow.

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 Paul Ryan Tan)

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